How do you start the day? Do you hit the snooze button then proceed to gulp down a few cups of coffee? Are you mindlessly checking your phone while eating breakfast, not fully engaged in either activity? Perhaps you get dressed and head out the door into the bustling crowds or you find yourself in a traffic jam. Even those lucky telecommuters must push themselves into that home office and face down the grind of their work day.
But was this your intention? When you were lying in bed that morning pondering the day ahead, did you think it would look like this or were you craving a more intentional life? What if you tried fitting an intention in this routine as the first thing you do upon waking?
What is an intention?
In the case of “intentional living,” an intention is how you desire to feel. It is an external acknowledgement of your internal desires, and it can give you a whole new sense of being. Intentional living can help you feel this way regardless of current circumstances, whether drinking a cup of coffee, stuck in traffic or crunching numbers at work.
When we are honest and clear about how we “want” to feel and stop succumbing to tide that swims around us, we can create the life we truly desire to live. The trick is, to tap into that feeling perpetually throughout the day, not just while lying in bed. The moment we tap into this feeling, we are energized and directed.
Let’s say you have the desire to feel nurtured and cared for. Throughout the day you try to let this feeling permeate your being and you take extra steps to do what you can for yourself. Then a friend invites you out for Happy Hour after work. Do you let this invitation derail your plans to take care of yourself? Is it possible for a few drinks and some unhealthy bar food to foil your plan to feel nurtured? Certainly! This is why a life of intention is so necessary. It helps you think more critically and make decisions that are in your best interests instead of everyone else’s.
Why is intentional living so important?
We often go through our days following routines and patterns we’ve developed over our lifetime. The motions of home, school and work life become comfortable without requiring a lot of effort or thought. Now, contrast this with the idea of intention. Everything you do is done with mindfulness, a consciousness of fulfilling one of your core values such as love or compassion.
When you are clear about how you want to feel you can make clear decisions that create the life you desire to live. The moment you tap into this feeling, you get your power back. It’s all about embodying your intention.
While many activities of daily living are initially done with intent, we tend not to think about it further and it soon becomes lost in the repetition of daily life. But what if you could change that and create a “mindful intention” with your actions that transforms your life each day.
Before you start your next project whether at home, school or work, pause a moment, close your eyes, and mentally affirm your intention. Why are you doing this? Is it out of compassion for others, or yourself? Is it to make someone happier? Out of gratitude for the work and kindness of others?
As you begin the task, be mindful of your intention throughout. This is a small step, but in those few moments, you will be living an intentional life.