Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Living with intention is what underpins everything that I share through my yoga classes, wellness talks and coaching via Bright and Well.
WHAT DOES LIVING WITH INTENTION MEAN?
It's all about slowing down and creating awareness of how you are living your life, so that you can act from a place of choice, rather than auto-pilot.
As humans, we naturally take the path of least resistance. We are capable of performing tasks without being fully present, and we are creatures of habit.
In some respects this is amazing. We can drive our cars whilst having a conversation. We can train ourselves to perform tasks with little effort or thought. Our brains are designed to repeat thought patterns, which is why we often have recurring thoughts. Our sub-conscious chooses pathways in our brain which are well-worn and require less energy than creating new ways of thinking and doing things.
Our tendency to fall into habits means that we often find ourselves behaving in a way that feels comfortable without stopping to question whether this is the best course of action. We may start to adopt certain thoughts as facts, without questioning them as we grow and change.
By slowing down and noticing what we are doing, and thinking, we can check that we are living in a way that aligns with what we believe in; our values.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LIVING WITH INTENTION?
When we are living in alignment with our values and core beliefs we will feel happier and more fulfilled. We will more easily be able to find a sense of purpose and meaning, giving us energy and determination, even when things are hard.
Our limited time will be spent doing the things that make us feel energised and motivated, and we can choose to start leaving behind those that no longer serve us.
By taking time to work out what matters to us we can make choices to act in ways that lead us to becoming the people we want to be.
WHAT DOES LIVING WITH INTENTION LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Living with intention is proactively living your life from a place of choice, rather than operating on autopilot.
Living with intention will be different from one person to the next, and will depend on what matters to you.
What will be the same is that someone living intentionally will take ownership of their life and proactively make changes where things are out of alignment with what feels right to them. When things are feeling out of balance, they will take action to move towards a place where they feel happier and more aligned with their values.
Living with intention means regularly noticing and checking in with how you are feeling and where you are not happy / satisfied / fulfilled, taking action to make positive changes.
5 TIPS FOR STARTING TO LIVE WITH INTENTION TODAY
1. Start noticing how you are feeling day-to-day. This may be physically or mentally. Ways to do this include:
- Yoga. By moving your body, using your breath to guide you, you naturally start to become more aware of any imbalances in the body, and of thoughts that you tend to come back to. Choose a class that encourages you to notice your breath, your body and become more observant of how this can change. This is something I include in all of my classes.
- Meditation. Through meditation you will start to notice the thoughts you are having, and your stress levels. Once you start to notice how you are feeling day-to-day you can use these insights to make changes.
- Journaling. Writing down your thoughts is a great way of becoming more aware of repeating themes and articulating how you are feeling.
2. Get to know your values. By reflecting on your values, you can start to look at the different areas of your life and notice whether there are ways to live more in alignment with them. Try an online values exercise or you can do a life audit as suggested by Jay Shetty, Purpose coach and author of 'Think like a monk: Train your mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day'.
3. Start small. Start by choosing one thing that you would like to change in your life. Think about how you would feel if you could make this happen. If it will make you happier you know you are on the right track. Then think about the first step you would need to take to make this happen. Is this a one-off action, or something that will become part of your daily / weekly routine. Schedule when you are going to do this action, and tell someone! Accountability is so important when we are trying to make changes in our lives.
4. Think about your future self. This is a great way to motivate yourself to do something new, or something that you are putting off. By thinking about the positive impact you will benefit from in future you are more likely to overcome the natural resistance that can occur when we are making changes. Your brain will try and keep you safe and prefer to stay in familiar territory, which is why you can feel doubtful or unsure when you are doing something new.
5. Surround yourself with people who share your values. According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, "you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with". So surrounding yourself with people who share your passions and values can help you stay true to what matters to you.
So take a moment to ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Do you know your values? Do you feel in balance in your life? Are you drawn to making changes in any areas of your life? Listen to what comes up and use the steps above to take small steps to the life that you choose.