Do you do every day what you want to do? Or, like most people, do you do what you feel like you have to do every day?
If you answered yes to the first question, your answers to the following questions should be yes as well. Are they?
1. Do you wake up without an alarm or at least at a time you WANT to wake up?
2. Do you have time to eat, and choose to, eat breakfast?
3. Do you go to work at a place you enjoy, doing work you love with people you admire?
4. Do you leave work when you want?
5. Do you take the time in the evening to enjoy time with your family?
6. Do you go to sleep when your body tells you it’s ready?
If you answered affirmatively to each of these questions, then you truly are living a free life. It is almost impossible, though, to answer yes to each of these questions.
Almost everyone has to do something unwanted. That’s just life.
I can’t even answer affirmatively to each of those questions and I feel my life to be truly blessed.
What to do instead
Instead of wishing for a life completely free of responsibility, schedules and deadlines, you can lead a very fulfilling life.
You can do that by living a life of intention.
A life of intention is when you direct the major aspects of each day. You decide what you will do for work, instead of working in a job you abhor.
A life of intention is when you choose who you surround yourself with, at work and outside of work.
A life of intention is when you identify your purpose for living and you accomplish that purpose every single day.
A life of intention is filled with love, joy, fulfillment, desired challenges and new experiences.
A life of intention is lived on your own terms. Your terms override those of everyone else.
How do you design a life of intention?
The first step to experiencing a life of intention is to define your intention. Your intention can be a single thing but will most likely be multi-faceted.
Let’s look at what I’ve defined as my intention:
To experience joy and fulfillment in all I do by providing a comfortable, yet exciting, life for me and my family and helping others to find their purposes and define their intentions.
Once you define your intention for life, then you need to compare that definition to everything in your life today.
Whatever in your life does not fit within that definition needs to be removed from your life. This decision and process can be very intimidating.
So much of our lives (yes, mine too) are consumed by doing things we’d rather not do and do not bring us joy or fulfillment. We have to get rid of that “stuff” or we’ll never reach our potential for happiness.
You need to be intentional about living a life of intention. You have to intentionally remove the pieces of your life you don’t want there. You can’t just hope it removes itself.
For example, you can hope your commute gets shorter to work. That won’t happen unless you take action. You can either move closer to work or change jobs to be closer to home. Those are the only two options. Hoping won’t help either of those options become reality.
Following is a list from my life that I am intentionally removing:
1. Negative self-talk
This is the number one thing in my life I need to remove. I talk myself into feeling stressed, fearing the unknown, not feeling good enough, believing there is a lack of time and letting others dominate my schedule and priorities.
Do you succumb to negative self-talk too? We all do. Imagine how good you would feel if you stopped telling yourself how bad things were.
You may believe it’s your subconscious that talks negatively to you. That’s not true. It’s you. You control what you think, how you react and how you act.
Stop intentionally sabotaging your happiness by stopping the negative self-talk. Stop using the words or phrases can’t, have to, need. Instead, use words or phrases like want, will, get to.
2. Unhappy and unsuccessful people
It’s really difficult to be happy when you’re surrounded by unhappy people. You are also less likely to achieve success much different from those you spend the most time with.
If you haven’t heard, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Think about the five people you hang around with the most. Are you more successful financially than them? Are you any happier than them? You’re probably not.
Read this article for more information on this topic. Make it a point in your life of intention to surround yourself with the right people.
Most people, including me, are not intentional about what we bring into our homes. Ask anyone who has moved homes after living in the same home for over a year. Everyone recognizes how much they have accumulated.
That accumulation, if not used frequently, can be defined as clutter. We clutter our homes, our cars, our offices….which is cluttering our lives.
A life of intention involves being fully cognizant of what we allow to permeate our space.
This is not just physical; it’s also mental, emotional and spiritual. Our minds get cluttered with junk. We spend time watching television shows that serve no purpose other than entertainment. We follow celebrity gossip so we can tell ourselves our lives really aren’t that bad.
We need to declutter every aspect of our lives.
I’m not necessarily saying we need to be minimalists but being more minimalists than hoarders isn’t a bad idea! The most popular site on the internet to help with this is Zen Habits.
You don’t have to implement everything there but take a few ideas. Try to minimize what you need to be happy. Continue taking action to reach your dreams but learn to be content with a little.
If you can’t be content with a little, you won’t be content with much.
4. Unhealthy eating habits
Just like the clutter we bring into our homes, we put even more junk into our bodies.
The United States of America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. It’s the land of opportunity.
Unfortunately, it’s also the land of obesity. We have so much junk food and food that is disguised as healthy, we can’t help ourselves but it eat.
We can help ourselves. My family, thankfully, is a living example of this.
I’ve always considered myself fairly health conscious but by no means a fanatic. My wife was the same way…until a few years ago.
Then she got serious about health. So serious that she is now I a health coach. I came around slowly but am now fully on board.
A life of intention regarding food has made a dramatic improvement to our lives. I’ll go into all of these in a future post. However, for me, I’ve seen the following improvements:
- No more allergies! And, I have been a life-long sufferer of allergies so this is more than dramatic.
- No more stomach issues! I don’t think I ever had what you would classify as “spastic colon” but I had severe stomach issues for several years. No more!
- More energy! Now that I know what works well with my body, I have so much energy.
- Better sleep! It’s still a struggle in hotels but I sleep so much better at home now.
What kind of changes can you make that can help you see this kinds of improvement? I’ll tell you:
- Stop consuming dairy
- Stop eating wheat-based products like breads and pasta
- Drink more water
- Add healthy fats like coconut oil or avocados to your diet
- Eat more greens
- Etc., etc., etc.
My wife teaches me new stuff all the time. She helps keep us all on the right track. If you want to find out how you can work with her to change your life, contact me.
Besides her, I have become a frequent and avid listener to The Model Health Show podcast. Scan through the shows and find a topic that interests you and give it a listen. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I know, I know…we can’t stop working. We can’t remove it completely from our lives. I understand that.
However, after many years of being a workaholic, I’ve come to realize that work is not what life is about.
For a life of intention, we need to have a life. Yes, work is a part of life but it cannot be all of life. When we only focus on work, the rest of our lives will suffer.
Our relationships with family and friends will suffer. Our health will suffer. Our spirituality will suffer. We need to stop worrying about working more and start being intentional about our time.
At the end of your life, you won’t wish you had worked more. You will most likely experience three thoughts:
“I wish I spent more time with my family and had better relationships with them.”“I wish I had a better and bigger impact on the world.”“I wish my relationship with God was where it should be.”
Your life of intention
Your life is too short to take it for granted and waste the years you’ve been granted. You need to decide what’s important to you and go get it.
You are perfectly designed for the life you are living right now.
If you want more money, better relationships, more fulfillment, you have to change the design of your life. Improvement does not come by hoping or wishing for it.
It doesn’t even come by dreaming of it. It comes by taking action.
It comes by being intentional about living the life you want!
Question for you: What will you do today to make your life more?