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The Importance of Living with Intention


If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of living with intention. When it came to the big-picture things that shaped our experiences this past year, there wasn’t too much we were able to control. It became important to set goals that were within our power to achieve, as things like exercising and keeping to a schedule gave structure and purpose to our days. Even as the future is beginning to look brighter in 2021, that intentionality is something we should strive to keep.

 

It’s currently New Year’s resolution season, so you’re probably giving lots of thought to your intentions for the year ahead. But there’s a difference between simple intention and living intentionally. Intention is merely “a determination to act in a certain way,” an inner goal. But to live intentionally, we can’t stop there. Living intentionally requires us to act on our inner visions. So while having good intentions is a crucial first step to living with intention, we don’t reap any benefits until thoughts and dreams become actions and routines. Living with intention, then, means that our daily actions are consciously aligned with the mission in our mind.  

There are countless benefits to living with intention, the most important being that when we consciously decide to shake up the monotony of the patterns we get lulled into, we stop living as spectators of the world around us and become active participants in our own lives. We often catch ourselves drifting through life, and it’s always alarming when we realize that life is passing us by. After all, don’t we all know the feeling of waking up on the first day of a new month and thinking, “How can it possibly be January already?” Life may always feel too short, but treating each day as an opportunity to be fully present can help alleviate this feeling.

On the flip side of wandering aimlessly through life is actively feeling in control. In this way, living intentionally is extremely empowering. It gives us the feeling that we control our own destinies. As mentioned above, living through major global events can make us feel powerless, but we have to remember the things we can still control. Maybe we can’t end a pandemic, but we can make small choices (deciding to start eating healthily, learning a language) that improve our lives, even in small ways. This has never been more important than in today’s uncertain world. 

Although living intentionally starts with focusing on small actions, it can actually encourage us to live in a way that’s truer to our own personal big picture. Evaluating our own goals gives us a streamlined outlook on life that cuts out all the extra noise. We become satisfied with less, unbothered by little things, especially those which we can’t control. 

The self-evaluation that helps form this personal big picture also allows us to live according to our core values. Many people strive to live this way; having core values is what allows us to live with integrity and authenticity. Values guide us through the ups and downs of life as a constant source of grounding. Living with intention helps us live according to our values by leading us to choose actions that align with who we truly are. This helps us live the life that is most fulfilling to us.

Because we live in a world of near constant connection, it’s hard not to be influenced by our surroundings, but our environment is not always reflective or supportive of our own personal values. Our lives, culture, and society are full of things competing for our attention. Living with intention helps us live with authenticity and agency, something we can only truly draw from within. Being intentional about where we give our attention helps us to break out of the cycle of mindless things that don’t serve us.

Living intentionally has a lot in common with “living in the present.” You’ve probably heard this phrase a lot in the context of meditation practices and spirituality, but it holds a lot of power for our everyday lives. It offers us continuous chances for new beginnings. Living with intention means that our focus is on each new day, a powerful mindset that keeps us from dwelling on past mistakes and regrets. At the same time, if we’re frequently checking in with ourselves, we can acknowledge when things aren’t what we want them to be and reevaluate to see how we can improve. If we don’t like the way things are going, starting afresh can make a world of difference. That’s why the beginning of a new year is such a popular time for resolutions. Go here for more detailed info on the psychology of fresh starts —They’re powerful stuff! 

So let’s all take this month to get in touch with what’s really important to us. Set your intentions, set them into action, and see how fulfilling life can be when you’re living with purpose. Happy New Year, snack fam!

From LesserEvil