Over the past two years, we have put the focus on decluttering and trying to figure out what simple living means. This year, we are putting the focus on living intentionally. Since I want to make sure we get off on the right foot, we have a special guest to help us to just that! Sarah at Loving Little Dixie encourages women to live their best life with intention and purpose. I have followed her for a while now, and am always encouraged with what she shares.
After reading through her post, be sure to visit Sarah’s blog and check out what I shared with her community!
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO LIVING INTENTIONALLY
Are you currently living the life you dream of, or are you doing the best you can just to get through the day? If you are not living intentionally, it is likely because you are so overwhelmed by everything that is required of you that you cannot see a way out.
You feel too busy to focus on anything besides the most pressing task set in front of you at any given moment. It feels as though there are never enough hours in the day to break free from the cycle of living in survival mode.
Down time is hard to come by, so you fill it with distractions that add no real value to your life. You’re not sure what matters most to you, so you drift through life with no purpose or direction.
I believe we were all created with a divine purpose and plan for our lives, and when we are living within that purpose we feel whole and fulfilled. That is not to say we will not still find ourselves in seasons of chaos and burdened schedules, but there is a sense of peace that accompanies a life lived with purpose and intention.
So, how do you actually go about living life on purpose instead of by accident?
FIVE STEPS TO LIVING AN INTENTIONAL LIFE
1 // IDENTIFY YOUR PRIORITIES
To live a life of intention, you must first identify your priorities. You cannot live an intentional life without knowing what matters most.
What does the life of your dreams look like? What are the areas of your life that will stand the test of time? When you look back on your life at 80 years old, what will stick out in your mind as the most important?
Take some time to reflect on what your best life looks like in regard to time, money, health, work, family, marriage, friendships, personal development, etc.
Dig deep and identify the most important things in your life. What fuels your soul and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? What are the things that will cause the most regret at the end of your life if you do not take the time to focus on them now?
List the top five areas of your life that you would most love to devote your time to, above all else. These are your priorities.
2 // SIMPLIFY YOUR SCHEDULE
Once you dig in and discover what is most important to you, you can begin to adjust your schedule to reflect the things that matter most. Take a good, hard look at the what is taking up your time.
If someone from the outside looking in had to list your priorities based on how you spend your time, would they come to the same conclusion you did?
If not, you need to evaluate your schedule and look for ways to simplify. What are your biggest distractions? What leaves you feeling frustrated and cranky at the end of the day? What is keeping you from spending time on the things that bring you joy?
Do less of those things and more of the things you love.
3 // LEARN TO SAY NO
Sometimes you have to say no to good things in order to say yes to even better things. How you spend your time will vary from season to season. What you say no to now may become something you say yes to later.
Some things are easy to say no to, such as time-wasters and simple distractions, but other things may require a little forethought. If you have stuffed your schedule full of commitments that take time away from what matters most, list those things out and decide which ones you can cut.
Do not feel obligated to continue doing something to make someone else happy. There are seasons of life in which you must be ruthless with your time. Only you can choose how you will spend your time, so spend it wisely.
4 // ESTABLISH GOOD ROUTINES
I am a big believer in using systems and routines to stay productive and get things done. When life feels out of balance, most often it is because our routines have given way to a hectic schedule and chaotic lifestyle.
Good routines eliminate that sense of overwhelm that comes over you when you are living life as it happens to you rather than choosing to chase after the good life – your best life.
I have a morning routine and evening routine that I follow throughout the week. Having a routine affords me the opportunity to complete essential tasks that must be done each day, while still having time to focus on making what matters happen.
To set up a basic routine, decide what time you will wake up and what time you will go to bed, then choose 3-5 things you want to make time for each morning and each evening.
5 // DECIDE TO TAKE ACTION
We have to stop making excuses for not doing the things we want to do. We all have the same amount of time given to us each and every day. The difference between someone who makes the most of their time and someone who continually wastes it comes down to a matter of choice.
Your time does not control you. You control your time. If you keep telling yourself you are too busy to focus on the things that matter, you will look back one day and realized you missed your opportunity to live the life you desire.
Stop with the excuses and choose to live the life you imagine for yourself!
Do you want to be more intentional in pursuing a relationship with your kids or your husband? Do you want to feel stronger and healthier than you feel right now? Do you want to chase after that dream that lives in your heart?
I am here to tell you, YOU CAN! You just have to decide to take action.
Are you living life intentionally? If not, what is holding you back?
Sarah is a wife and mom of three who is passionate about teaching other women to live wholeheartedly and pursue the things that matter. She writes about intentional living on her blog, Loving Little Dixie. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.