My life has gone through a series of ups and downs over the last year. I’ve had incredible high’s and have experienced some deep, dark lows. I attribute my ability to bounce back from situations in life to living intentionally.
But what does that mean?
Well…I guess it means, in simple terms…knowing what you’re doing…at all times.
To me it means, being with yourself…feeling your breath on your lips when you breathe. Feeling the rise and fall of your chest. Feeling the ground underneath you when you walk. Watching your thoughts as you think and enjoying the moment of being alive.
Doing things intentionally isn’t nearly as common as you think.
Studies show that about 45% of what we do every day feels like decisions, but they’re actually habits.
That means almost half of the actions we take every day are actually happening on auto pilot.
Well, when we live on auto-pilot, we’re certainly not in full control of our lives, meaning that we’re giving a percentage of our control and power away to habits that we’ve formed in the past.
There is also a great chance that the habits you have either
- Aren’t serving you to the highest potential
- Possibly Destructive
The reason I say that is that there is a fundamental truth about Humans: We aren’t perfect. Even people performing at a very high level could always improve at something. There’s always a way to be more efficient in our lives. And there is always room for improving our mental game.
I’m sure you’ve also heard about the concept that 70-90% of our thoughts are the same as yesterday.
Well…if you’re in it to win it. Having the same thoughts over and over again probably isn’t serving you either.
Here are 10 ways To Live More Intentionally so that you have more control over your life and ultimately become happier.
1. Write Things Down
Make lists. Write things down. It truly works wonders. People often overestimate some abilities while they underestimate others. Most people overestimate their ability to stay organized, remember things and follow through on tasks or goals they need to achieve. Writing things down is one of the key’s that has helped me accomplish many of the things I’m proud of in my life. Don’t underestimate the power of a pen and paper. If you don’t usually write things down and you start the habit, you’re making a conscious decision to do something that is outside of your normal routine and pattern. By writing things down like your inner thoughts, feelings, daily tasks and goals you not only gain a better understanding of yourself through self-reflection but you also now have some additional motivation to follow through on the things you’ve written down.
2. Notice The Finer Details In Your Environment
When life becomes routine, our surroundings start to blend in and we start overlooking some of the little things. Ever wondered why moving to a new place, seeing a new site, or traveling is so gratifying or exciting? As humans, we’re predominantly visual creatures and our eyes play a big part in everything we feel. Consciously choosing to notice different things in your environment that you wouldn’t usually look at brings you back to yourself. It brings you back into your body and allows you cut the pattern you might be in at the moment. Our eyes are one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings and it’s important that we use them consciously and in a way that serves us.
3. Drink More Water
Water plays an incredibly important role in your health and unfortunately in today’s society, most people are dehydrated. With the abundance of processed foods, sugary drinks and restaurant options available, many people aren’t getting proper nutrition and still neglecting their water intake. By carrying around a large water bottle with you at all times, you’re not only contributing to your health (more energy, a clearer mind, better skin, more functional cells and better detoxification) you’re actually creating a positive habit that’s going to serve you well beyond most other habits you could form.
Taking a drink of water from your water bottle a few times per hour not only hydrates you, but also allows you to live consciously by breaking the pattern you are in and consciously choosing to do something positive for your health. Each positive thing you do builds momentum and momentum is the secret key to creating sustainable positive change.
4. Learn To Say No
Learning to say no to is like a muscle. And with any new muscle that you haven’t worked out and strengthened, it’s going to be weak at first. Learning to say no can be one of the best things you can do for your life in the long run. Because it’s easy to say yes to the things that aren’t that good for you. And it’s easy to say yes to things that would distract you from what you need to be doing. Learning to say no allows you to take control of your life so that you can live more intentionally and more consciously.
5. Take Deep Breaths Often
Let alone the fact that many people aren’t engaging In some type of moderate or vigorous exercise regularly to get their blood flowing to oxygenate their muscles and cells, many people just don’t breathe deeply. By consciously taking deep breaths every so often, you bring yourself back into your body and break your pattern. Taking a moment to take a deep breathe is also a perfect time to be grateful for your health, the oxygen of the earth that is always there keeping you alive, and the moment you’re in. Because the truth is, that moment won’t last forever…
6. Stand Up For What You Believe In
All of us have things we feel strongly or are passionate about. And we’ve all been in a situation where we didn’t quite speak up about something, whether it was to fit in, not cause an argument, or we simply let it pass as “it’s not THAT important.” The problem with that is, is that every time you don’t say something when you want to, you end up walking away feeling a little dis-empowered. And feeling disempowered is never good for our growth.
The problem most people encounter when trying to stand up for what they believe in is that it opens them up to possible attack and criticism. In other words, haters. And most people are scared of that.
The flip side is, when you stand up for what you believe in, your life has the possibility to improve beyond your wildest dreams. Everything people want is on the other side of fear.
7. Do Something You Feel is Out of Your Character
Living intentionally doesn’t just mean breathing deeply and drinking more water. It means congruency between your thoughts and your actions. It means being in control of your life and the direction it’s headed.
That means that if you have thoughts about taking an action, take the action.
The world needs more action…from everyone.
You might have heard of Charles Cooley’s Looking glass Self which describes “Other people’s views build, change and maintain our self-image, and thus, there is an interaction between how we see ourselves and how others see us.”
To reduce this drastically, we could say that our personalities are a reflection of our “thoughts” about our environment. We might act, behave and think in a certain way as a result of us imagining that that is how our friends, family and acquaintances perceive us to be.
And so in turn…people create a box for themselves and for their life. They believe they can only do certain things and that other things are out of their reach.
But all that is false.
Doing something out of your character is one of the best ways to live intentionally. Because none of us have accomplished 100% of what we want in life and many people have things that they want to do, but are afraid of what might happen.
Doing something you think might be out of character is only in your head.
People accept you for who you are at face value.
The truth is that people aren’t in your head.
They don’t know your inner dialogue and every detail of your past.
They understand what you present them. So if you want to start acting “out of character” just do it. And you’ll find that people are far more accepting about it than you might have thought.
Living Intentionally through some of these practices are just some of the ways you can start taking control of your life, your health and your destiny. This post was inspired from my recent experiences and remembering that we are here on earth only for a short period of time…and that every moment is a gift.
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