Living with intention seems to be a buzz phrase these days, but I am someone who has always journaled and made life lists. I feel as though living intentionally has been part of my makeup for most of my life. Granted, sometimes I feel as though my life is more on course (my chosen course) than other times. But overall, I live an intentional life. What exactly does that mean? Here are my five steps to living with intention.
Five Steps to Living with Intention
Visualize. When you live with intention you must first manifest a thought in your mind. What is your goal? What do you desire to achieve? What outcome do you yearn? Visualize and picture in your mind what it is that you want your life to be.
Let go of the past. The past is done and over. Don’t look backwards, don’t get sidetracked by past regressions. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. We all make mistakes. Living with intention means that we learn from our mistakes and then let them go so that we can keep heading towards our true intention.
Embrace uncertainty. Oh how we all wish that we had a crystal ball that would lead us directly from point A to point B. But we don’t. We must find our way there on our own. Sometimes the road is bumpy and sometimes it is smooth sailing. Sometimes the choices are as clear as day, and sometimes we must navigate through the thickest tule fog you have ever seen.
Accepting ambiguity and embracing uncertainty is part of the process because you are heading to a newness, an unknown. For example when I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, I truly did not know what it was going to be like jumping three feet from the ferry into the bay and swimming and rolling with the giant bay swells. The only way to know it was to do it, but I had not yet done it. We do not yet know what we have not achieved. The same goes with my weight loss and learning to maintain the loss. This too is a newness for me. I have to accept the ambiguity as I figure out what works and what does not work.
Foster your body and mind connection. Visualizing is one step. Your mind is powerful, but you must foster your mind-body connection. One, your body needs to follow through with your goal. If my goal is to get an advanced degree, I cannot just sit and visualize. I need my body to go to class, study, and learn. Additionally, your body will give you feedback letting you know if you are on the right track or not. How do you feel? Healthy? Whole? Encouraged? Overly stressed? Listen to your body.
Be patient. This perhaps could be the hardest step. We like fast results and instant gratification, but we must remain patient. When we truly live with intention, when we are making the daily choices that support our goals – we will get there. Baby steps, planned choices, following through on our intentions will get us there. Learn to let go and trust the process.
Living with intention is a practice. I remember when I was 24 years old and making a career change. At that time, I was a financial planner and newly married. I was only one of two women in an office of a dozen men. Linda (two decades my senior) and I always supported each other as we navigated our male dominated field. When I choose to leave the office, her comment to me was that she was always impressed by my ability to know what I wanted and how I made choices based on my bigger picture. Now that has not always been true. Life is messy and hard! But living with intention helps us guide our life in our chosen direction. Practicing these five steps of living with intention will put you at the helm of our own life.