Most of us spend little time planning our biggest adventure – our lives. We have a general picture of the structure of our lives – if we want a family or not, if we want to go to university and if so how long that will take. Yet when it comes to our daily lives, most of us drift into a every day routine. Once in a while we stop and ask ourselves if there is anything that needs to change. Sometimes we adjust, sometimes we don’t – in a sense that we start jogging or going on a diet and then, going off the diet. Fundamental changes that cause a great shift in life are rare, if they ever occur at all. Most of us lead a life where we merely exist in it, as if we were sitting on a train with no destination looking out of the window.
There is nothing wrong with that. Many of us are happy to be passengers. But often that means we are living a life that we would not choose for ourselves. And if we had a choice, do we know what we would choose? Lately I’ve been reading a lot about intention. Living a life with intention means to live a life with purpose – with a direction and a goal. It sets the theme of your life and helps you add elements to your help that give you a feeling of fulfillment. There is great pleasure and satisfaction in a life with intention. How do we pick a life we want to live, how do we know what kind of life that would mean? It’s easier once you know, then you can follow that path but what if you don’t?
Draft Your Perfect Day
Start asking yourself what would be a perfect Monday for you? If nothing else changed in your life as it is, what would your day look like and what would it entail. If that’s too big of a question, start small by asking yourself what your perfect morning would look like. And start setting up your life in a way that it mirrors your perfect day.
List Values are Important to You
I’ve written before about values, pretentiously quoting myself: “Knowing yourself is the key to many things in life. It’s the key to self acceptance, self love and self awareness. Grow into yourself as you continue to grow yourself.” Go through a list of 200 or 50 or 10 or how many you like and just circle the ones that you think are important to you. Then group them and pick the one word in that speaks to you the most in that group. Goal is to come down to a handful of values (great guide is under this link). Having a list gives you an overview of what rules you want to live your life by. Next, think of the people or things that do not reflect these values and find ways to distance yourself from them. Your values will change over time, so it’s good to do this task about once a year.
Life gets busy. Sometimes that train we are on speeds up or gets deterred for a while. But if you know what is important to you, you can always focus on those items. Ask yourself what are the top five things that are most important to you in life. Don’t leave it as a single word for example “My family” rather “The health and the happiness of my family” or “My Health” rather “Leading a healthy lifestyle”. Add colour to it for more clarity, it will help you crystallize the aspects of your priority. You don’t need to rank these priorities, just know what five they are and then check with yourself how much time you are spending on each one of these in a day. Adjust accordingly.
Delete Delete Delete
Declutter your life. It’s easier to live a life with purpose if there are less things that take your mind off your purpose. Delete the app, throw away that book, cancel on that friend, get rid of things in life that is not a part your ideal life, don’t adhere to your values and are not a priority. See everything with that lens and you will automatically shift your life towards things that are important to you.
I know it’s hard to pick your intention, but if you keep things small, if you just start by living your life by what is important to you, you will find value and fulfillment. Your intention doesn’t have to change the world, it should just be enough to change your world. You don’t need a noble cause, all you need is to be a noble person and life will automatically feel more rewarding.
Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher