In the last couple of years we have seen a huge uprising in the intentional living movement. With the rise of minimalism and decluttering, we’ve all started chucking out our possessions, and paid more attention to the life we really wanted to live, and what belonged in that life.
On top of that, recent happenings have forced us to slow down even more, and focus on what is in our lives.
It’s become even more important than before to look at our lives, and reconsider the way we are living. Are we truly happy with the way our lives are now?
One approach to this is intentional living. In this post, you can read what it means to be intentional, the difference between intentional living, minimalism and conscious living, and how to live with intention in your everyday life.
Don’t forget to pin this post!
This post may include affiliate links, which means I make a small amount of money from your purchase at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
What does it mean to be intentional?
- an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
- the end or object intended; purpose.
- purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct.
So in essence, intentional living means to live with attention to the outcome. You have an end result in mind, the way you want your life to be, and you are living everyday in order to get to that end result. As many of your choices as possible are made with that end result in mind.
Intentional living vs minimalism vs conscious living
I feel like these terms are used a lot, and they are used quite interchangeably. But in reality, they are pretty different. Let me explain;
Intentional living: living in a way as to reach a specific result. Living with a purpose
Minimalism: living with as little things as possible. Reducing your physical possessions to the minimum, only having what you need.
Conscious living: living in a way as to have a low environmental impact. This is more about trying to reduce the impact you have on the environment.
Can you see how they are similar, but different? In a way, minimalism and conscious living are intentional as well, but they are more specific towards a certain outcome.
Why should you be intentional
In short, because it changes your life.
By making sure that every decision, everything you do is geared towards a certain outcome, you are taking full responsibility for your life, and your dream life will manifest so much faster.
You can literally create and shape your life by paying attention to the decisions you make and the things you do.
By making sure they help you get to that end result, you’re making sure your dream life is being created at that moment.
How to live with intention?
Don’t worry, I am not going to say ‘be intentional” and leave you with that. Although that is pretty high up on the list.
Your end result
In order to practice intentional living, you first need to figure out what your end result is going to be.
What does your ideal life look like, regardless of the time span? What would be your ultimate goal in life? Write it down as detailed as possible. Your partner, if you want one, your kids, if you want them, your house, car, income, job, friends, clothes, hair. What is your diet like, what are your habits and routines like, what does a perfect day look like in your ideal life?
The more detailed this is, the better it will help you get it.
Core desired feelings
To really make sure this is your dream life, go through this article, about core desired feelings.
This is a way to live your life according to the way you want to feel, and to design your life to feel those feelings as often as you can. It is a good addition on intentional living.
Now that you have a solid idea or image of the life you want to live, surround yourself with it. Read it every day, stick it in your wallet, on your phone background.
Try to make as many decisions as you can with your perfect life in mind. Can you make the decision so that it will help you get to that life faster? Or is there a choice that will take you further away from your dream?
Figure out what you can do right now to start creating this dream life. Implement routines or habits where you can.
Pursue your dream life with a passion. Pay attention to what you are doing and choosing, and you will be practising intentional living without even realizing it.
Difficulties with intentional living
This all sounds really nice, and most of the time it is. But it’s not all rainbows and roses, and sometimes things and decisions can be difficult. No, you don’t have to make perfect decisions 100% of the time. We all mess up, and that’s okay. Just try to do your best as much as you can, and you’ll get closer to your end goal every time.
Now there are some specific things that provide more of a challenge than others.
How can I spend money with intention?
It’s all fun and games until the bank account starts to complain. I get it. Intentional living is not about throwing money at your problems or buying everything straight away.
It is about paying attention to what you are spending your money on.
The energetic value of money is quite important and in its own way can affect everything.
The first thing to do is to look at your actual spending, Track it for a week and keep all receipts, or get out a bank statement.
Where are you spending money on things you don’t actually prioritize? This is not about saving money, it is about spending it on the right things.
So does your spending reflect your values? If you think it’s important to eat healthy or organic foods, does your grocery receipt show that?
If you find it important to have enough money ‘’just in case’’ (you should), then do you have that in place?
There are 2 important things to remember about money:
- Money is a means to an end. Everything you are surrounded with was once money, so think about things before you buy them.
- You vote with your dollar. Meaning that what you spend it on, will persist. Figure out what your priorities and values are, then spend your money accordingly. Whether that is fair trade, organic, slow fashion, natural materials or good causes, spend your money in a way that reflects your values.
Whatever you spend money on should reflect your values in life and add something to your life, whether it is aesthetic or functional.
How can I buy clothes with intention?
Most of us are caught up in the endless capitalistic cycle of money. And honestly, it is not our fault. It’s hard to not want the newest things if you’re surrounded byit at all times, and you are bombarded with it every time you look at a simple app or magazine.
The clothing industry is one of the most capitalistic ones in existence, and they depend on you wanting that newest thing every week. That’s why big fashion brands get new items into their stores almost every week.
Before you buy, think about your money and what you are going to spend it on. Is buying this item in line with my values and priorities? Is it worth the cost per wear? Do I love this, or only like it a bit? Does it actually look good on me, or only on the model? Is there anything else you’d rather put the money towards?
A big thing we also do is get caught up in discounts and sales. How often have you bought something because it was on sale, only to later realize you didn’t actually like it?
When it comes to spending money on anything, always remember: think before you buy.
How can I spend my time with intention?
Again, key here is to pay attention to what you are spending it on.
There are methods where you keep track of your activities every 15 minutes of the day, but we’re not living life in an accounting office and honestly, we don’t have time for that.
Instead, take a look at your screen time app, and your television schedule. This will probably tell you everything you need to know.
The screens in our lives are often the most time consuming things we have, so start figuring out how much time you spend on them and what you do during that time.
Try to set up some screen time limits for yourself, so you won’t spend more than a specific amount of time scrolling social media or reading the news.
So those things you’ve been wanting to do forever but you “just don’t have the time”? Find time. Wake up 15 minutes earlier, decide to watch one tv show less, read a book instead of watching tv, go for a walk whenever you’re bored. You can always find time to do things, but often we don’t really want it enough.
Another method is to work backwards and plan out your perfect week:
- Write down everything you want to do in a perfect week, and how much time everything would take.
- Then, take out a weekly planner, and put everything in. Start with your absolute must do items, then fill in the rest.
- Does it fit comfortably? Then you can try to implement this new week into your real life.
- Does it not fit? Then it’s time to reconsider. Is everything in there a priority? Can you cut back on some things to make it work better? Are there things you could do every other day, or every other week? Work it around until you can make a comfortable week. Leave some buffer time for unexpected things, then try to get started with this weekly plan.
Books on intentional living
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have some book recommendations for you. So if you’d like to dive a bit deeper in the topics of Intentional living, minimalism, decluttering or conscious living, here are the best books on intentional living:
- Slow by Brooke McAlary
- L’art de la simplicité by Dominique Loreau
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Chasing slow by Erin Loechner
- The desire map by Danielle LaPorte
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Don’t forget to pin this post!
I hope this post has given you a clearer idea of intentional living, and know how to live with intention if you want to slowly dip your toes in.
Let me know if you live with intention in your every day life, or what you think you could implement to introduce it to your life in the comments!