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Published on December 21, 2020

9 Ways to Be Intentional Every Day to Change Your Life

9 Ways to Be Intentional Every Day to Change Your Life

I always find it interesting when adults tell kids that they are living their best lives…that they are lucky because they are carefree and don’t have to worry about a mortgage. However, kids have always ached to be grown-ups because they inherently value something most of us take for granted: agency. Agency to pick their own bedtimes, design their own careers, and be intentional in taking the steps necessary to make their dreams come true.

While they sit in their car seats and go along for the ride, we have the opportunity to set our destination, chart our course, and take off with a full tank.

Yet, in our hurry to do all of life’s doing, many of us forget that we are in the driver’s seat. We slide into the passenger seat of someone else’s car, and before we know it we aren’t even sure how we got to our destination.

How did we end up with this life, this career, this family? Did you choose or did it just happen? In our flurry to check the milestone boxes (degree, promotion, marriage, kids, home), we lose sight of purpose, vision, passion, and intention.

To be intentional is to be present. When you are present in the moment, you are not thinking about what went wrong yesterday or all the ways things can go wrong tomorrow. When you are present, you are thinking about this moment and what you can do with it.

Here are 10 ways to be intentional every day and create a life you love.

1. Give up the Passive Excursion

Wake up with a commitment to being in the driver’s seat of your own life. You are not living to make your others’ dreams come true today. You are responsible for you. If you have been letting one of them drive, it’s time to take back the wheel.

Stop with all of the stories you have been telling yourself about why you have to come last. This is a false narrative and serves no one.

When you decide to be intentional in how you live, you will have more energy to go around, and everyone will benefit!

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Set your sights on what you want to do immediately, what you can do soon, and what is on the horizon to chart the course toward what you want to see and do for yourself.

Whether this is about deciding to take action on the personal front, professional front, or both, you will need to have a clear vision for what you want.

2. Start With Your Body

Listen to your heartbeat, your temperature, your stomach; what does your body need to feel good? A big glass of water? A nutritious breakfast and a stretch to start your day?

Forget about the diet you have been trying to keep and the tight pants that have made you feel restricted while sitting on Zoom calls. Invite the possibility that your body already knows what is good for you.

Start to get mindful.

Mindful eating, drinking, sleeping, and resting is all about being in the driver’s seat. Pay attention to the messages your body is sending you about what it needs to live in the present moment. When we challenge it, disregard it, and push our own agenda, we are actively resisting intention.

3. Optimize Your Space

We happen to our space, it doesn’t happen to us. As a self-admitted mess maker, I sometimes wonder how the clothes are still not folded and how “I will do it tomorrow” turned into “I will do it next week.” Regardless, chaos breeds chaos.

According to Marie Condo, “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life-transforming.”

When we are being intentional, we are taking control of our immediate environment and designing a space that meets our functional needs and showcases our personality. Try surrounding yourself with your favorite inspirational quotes, an accent pillow in your favorite color, and an attractive clock to help hold you accountable throughout your day. You will thank yourself, and your Zoom background will, too!

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4. Energy Map Your Day

CEOs wake up at 6 a.m. they say…so what? Stop chasing other peoples’ productivity solutions and design what works best for you. Start by noticing the times of day you feel peak energy. Do you work best when you start early and end early, or do you prefer to start late and end late?

When you are able to isolate the time of day you feel the greatest focus, create a personalized energy map to schedule the most detail-oriented and/or robust tasks accordingly[1].

Conversely, save the simple, automated, or flexible tasks for the hours when you are running on low steam or reviving yourself after a sprint of heavy focus.

5. Narrate Your Progress

Don’t wait for the day to be over to check in with yourself about your progress. Do a brief audit:

  • Have I worked on the things that relate to my most pressing goals?
  • Have I allowed myself to leverage workable solutions before perfect solutions to maintain momentum?
  • Are there things that I could or should do differently to maximize my progress today?

If there are opportunities to improve strategy, intervene early, and benefit from a quick recalibration, do it.

6. Don’t Push Too Hard, Too Fast

Strategy is really about working smarter, not harder. When you are truly intentional, you are thinking about ways to maximize your impact without overdoing it.

Notice where there may be shortcuts, automations or additional support available to achieve your designated action steps quicker or more efficiently.

The goal is to avoid burnout. Even when the steps we are taking bring us joy and we are excited to make a change or improvement, sustainability is key.

Notice where it is worth your time to invest some time upfront to get time back later.

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Think e-mail labels, pre-scheduled posts, Calendly, or other work-flow tactics that take a little extra time to establish but buy you back tons of hours and endless frustration on the back end.

If you are a “do it the way I have always done it” kind of person, it’s time to change—and it’s okay to ask for help. Technology offers us a ton of time-saving, strategy-supporting solutions that we don’t want to miss out on. Don’t let fear be your barrier to entry.

Reach out to a tech savvy friend, colleague or acquaintance, and seek the information you need to break through this barrier.

7. Check Those Distractions

Confront the time sucks in your life. Whether you have been doom scrolling on the gram, texting all day about the latest in reality TV, or taking too many trips to the pantry to interrupt your Zoom fatigue, it is time to distinguish between the useless and the useful.

Constant and ongoing distraction has limited benefit. Whether it is incessant Slacks running in the foreground or the TV blaring while you attempt to do your work, we know that multitasking is virtually useless. Commit to being all in when you are, and then make the decision to fully opt into well-spaced breaks.

Regular breaks are not only useful; they are pivotal. Take time to schedule them, take them, and meaningfully benefit from a stretch, nap, or short walk.

You want the time that you take away from the activities that move you in the direction of your hopes and dreams to be well spent. Don’t waste it on Facebook or Tic Tok—unless it’s your break indulgence of choice.

8. Fail Forward

Mess up intentionally. It sounds like an oxymoron, but I mean it. When we are intentional about succeeding, we also have to be willing to fail. We have to be willing to take a stab at something we could totally botch, and waste no time in getting to a second attempt.

If the fear of failure paralyzes us from trying at all, it is a direct blocker to living intentionally.

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It’s not to say that we will fail every time, but we need to normalize the experience for ourselves so that if it happens often, we use it to learn, adjust, iterate, and keep moving.

9. Invite People Into Your Plans

You don’t have to keep your dreams a secret. When you wake up to live with intention, you know what you want, and you can’t be afraid to tell others about it. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the final product is ready to tell friends, family, or even strangers about it.

Invite the possibility that people may be excited to help you get there. Very few of us make our dreams happen alone. Prepare yourself to talk about what you are aiming to do, your personal “why” motivating you, and and what you need to get it done.

When you are willing to narrate your needs, there is a chance that someone is ready and willing to share the missing piece.

For those of us who hate asking for help, this is a mountain worth climbing. Give it a try, process the discomfort you feel, and remember that if it was someone else telling you about their dreams and you were in a position to help, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?

Final Thoughts

Choosing to be intentional takes commitment, and it is really about playing the long game. You will wake up and choose this day in and day out, and it may still take time to see the fruits of your labor.

Remember a purpose worth pursuing is never easy, and others will gladly celebrate beside you when it all comes together. That moment will be no accident. You will know in your heart of hearts that you chose the hard road of consistency, sacrifice, and focus. Things don’t just happen. You make it happen.

The choice is yours. Open the car door, slide into the driver’s seat, secure your seatbelt, and take the wheel. This is the ride where you call all the shots.

More on Living Intentionally

Featured photo credit: Bohdan Pyryn via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Staci Taustine

Founder & CEO, Stubborn Heart Consulting LLC.

10 Critical Lessons To Learn When You Feel Like a Failure 9 Ways to Be Intentional Every Day to Change Your Life How to Stop Playing the Victim in Life And Fight for What You Want What the Marshmallow Experiment Teaches Us About Grit

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Changing your mindset is no easy task, but having an open and positive mindset is a game changer. Your personal growth is what propels the choices you make for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Just something as simple as changing your thinking can change your life.

Importance of Mindset Work

There’s great importance in spending time doing mindset work. Within this period, we begin to understand ourselves, and through that understanding, we become more compassionate and patient with ourselves.

Our society and culture thrive on the busyness that life brings not only into our lives but even to our dinner table. With that comes some consequences of using “band-aid” solutions and quick remedies to get through particular blocks in our lives. Those solutions never last long and it’s about committing the time and effort to slow down, ground ourselves, and reshift our focus.

Changing your thinking is not only to be more optimistic but giving your mind the breathing room it needs to grow and expand. It’s about looking at everything that hasn’t worked for you and being open to other ways that might.

How to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Here are 11 practical ways to change your thinking:

1. Show up

Not feeling the gym? Go anyway. Don’t feel like playing the piano after making a commitment to practice every day? Do it and play.

The payout of showing up and committing goes a long way. It builds confidence, and with that growth, your mindset begins to change.

Of course, showing up may not always be fun but by meeting these small goals on your list allows you to tackle on the bigger ones that may seem far out of reach.

2. Find an Anchor

We all need an anchor, or in other words, we all need something to believe in when our thoughts are wavering. Whether you are religious, have a spiritual connection with a higher power, or have someone who grounds you – hold onto it.

My dad first introduced me to the Law of Attraction when I was 17 and to be completely honest, I thought it was silly and never gave it much thought. Fast forward ten years and the Law of Attraction has become so integrated into my daily life that it’s become the anchor in my belief system. That anchor is also what propels me to be a better version of myself. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel when I have convinced myself that light does not exist.

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The purpose of an anchor is to ground you when your mind and/or external factors come weighing you down. It’s about having faith and trust in that one thing or power when everything else seems to go dark. This is one of the most important things you need to have if you want to begin to change your mindset.

3. Ask Why

It’s really that simple. In order to change your thinking, you have to dig deeper into what it is that’s causing a reaction.

  • Why does it bother me that another person took the parking slot that I was waiting for?
  • Why do I feel uneasy when I dine at a restaurant alone?
  • Why do I feel happy after I purchase a new outfit?

We ask “why” to a lot of external factors, but very rarely we ask that about ourselves. It’s also a way to get to know yourself as if getting to know a friend.

As we begin to answer these questions, we realize that it’s not the external factors that bring happiness, sadness, guilt, or joy, and it’s more about understanding our own values.

Now, have a conversation with yourself and reflect on your answers when you do ask these “whys.”

For example:

The reason why I’m irritated at this person for taking my parking slot is that I’m busy and have endless errands to run. I don’t have time to be looking for another slot.

Reflection: how am I managing my time and are these time restrictions causing me unnecessary stress? I should prioritize my errands so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

The reason why I feel uneasy when I dine in at a restaurant alone is that I don’t want people to think I have no friends.

Reflection: I care a lot of what people think of me including strangers and it affects my emotional well-being. I don’t have these thoughts when I see another person eating alone, so why and when did I start having this opinion about myself? I should start dining out alone so I can learn how to step out of my comfort zone.

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The reason why I feel great after purchasing a new outfit is is that I feel confident.

Confidence is key because it determines how I show up when I meet strangers, clients, and overall how I carry myself. How do I maintain this confidence without splurging on a new outfit everytime I need that extra boost? I could wear my glasses or carry a book with me to help me play that part.

Having these mindful yet straightforward conversations with yourself are simple ways you can change your thinking. Reflection is the key to understanding your strong and weak points.

Here is also a great article on the power of self-reflection and ten questions you should ask yourself.

4. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

As mentioned above, we all have a comfort zone. Like a turtle, we feel cozy and safe inside our shell, but to change your thinking, one must be willing to step out of that shell no matter how much that shell feels like home.

Our mindset will only begin to change if we allow ourselves to be exposed to the possibilities of change. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be one of the hardest things you can do, but it all goes back to building your confidence.

Some of the most significant friendships I have to date is all thanks to the five seconds I decided to step out of my comfort zone, introduce myself, and carry a converastion.

Strive to learn something new every day – even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at first.

Still wondering how to step out of your comfort zone? Take a look at this article:

Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

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5. Look at Things from a Different View

I once asked a friend what self-love meant to her. She answered, “self-love means being a parent to yourself.”

I was never expecting that answer, but it got me the wheels in my mind exploring other definitions of what self-love could mean to others and myself.

Changing your thinking also means being open to other opinions, especially if it challenges your own. You’ll begin to realize that the more mindset work you dive into, the more you will be approaching new opinions and ideas from a grounding and calming place. Things that used to have you on your defense will slowly turn into a question of curiosity instead.

6. Slow Down

Here’s the thing. You take the same route to work and leave your house at the same time. While on you are getting off the highway, you stop by your favorite coffee shop to order your daily brew, then you’re out the door and heading straight to the office.

During this daily routine, have you ever noticed the color of the corner building right before you get off the highway? Or have you noticed whether your barista is left-handed or right-handed?

Probably not, because most of the time we tend to live our lives on auto-pilot.

Science says we make about 35,000 decisions a day;[1] therefore it makes sense that half the time our minds are on auto-pilot. There are great setbacks that come from having this “auto switch” including having those feelings of mindlessly scrolling through your phone or being so deep in your thoughts that you are mentally checked out.

One way to change your mindset is slowing down. When you slow down, you begin to find yourself in the same tune and vibrations as the world around you. You begin to become aware of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. You start becoming present.

If you want to change your life, you must be present in the life you are currently living in. By being present, you begin to shift to a state of gratitude.

7. Eliminate the Excuses and Create Solutions

How often do we use the word “but?”

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For instance, “I want to eat healthier but I’m so busy that I can’t meal prep,” “I want to buy a new car but I’m still paying off some of my debt,” “I would like to start my own business but I don’t have the time or finances for that.”

Now eliminate the “but” and imagine how you would feel if these external factors weren’t much of an issue.

This is a simple but powerful technique in changing your thinking. It’s all about tapping into those emotions and eliminating the roadblocks that we spend so much energy focusing on. Instead, begin shifting your focus from the but’s and toward the “how’s.”

Here’s some nice advice for you:

How to Stop Making Excuses and Get What You Want

The Bottom Line

Changing your mindset is a work in progress and one that should be eye-opening as it is rewarding. It’s about getting to know yourself on a deeper level and creating a friendship with yourself along the way.

There’s no one solution fits all, but it all comes down to taking that first step.

More Resources About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

Reference

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