Living With Intention

By Yen Uy


[photo credits] Photo by Kevin Valerio on Pexels

I want to live with intention – this is something I hear a lot from my clients. So, this got me thinking: What does it really mean to live with intention and what is preventing us from doing so?

Often what clients mean is that they want to live their days with a plan in mind. They want to take daily actions towards a goal. It’s about creating your best life as opposed you just letting life happen to you. It’s the feeling of being able to take charge of your own life even if you’re not in control of everything. Sounds simple enough? But what makes the process so difficult?

How actively involved are you in your own life? I think the most challenging part of living with intention is not letting life just happen to you. It’s about making active and informed choices every step of the way. Creating your own life takes a lot of self-connection, focus, and determination. That’s hard.

Self-connection means becoming aware of who you are and what’s important to you in the long term. It involves having a vision of yourself that connects with you at the feeling level-- something that inspires you and gives you the feeling of being grateful to be alive. When you are connected with yourself, you set meaningful goals that will help you make aligned and focused choices.

Life is full of responsibilities and we have to do them, but life can’t be just about responsibilities. Focus is about being able to separate from the noise. What you say "yes" and "no" to will get you closer to or move you farther away from your goals. You must have clear boundaries with the people in your life and be in a supportive environment. If you get distracted by having to keep meeting other people’s needs (or expectations, as the case may be), you will lose focus on your own, making one passive choice after the other.

Determination involves how engaged you are with life’s challenges. When you get side tracked because life threw something unexpected your way, you have every reason to take some time to stop and breathe, take stock, but get back out there again. Carry on! What are the strategies and systems you have in place so that some things are easier to accomplish? There will be big challenges and small, daily ones. You need to be able to handle different hurdles along the way of life. What’s your attitude about failure? Do you give up or do you learn and adjust? Ideas need to be put into action and actions need to be effective. But, it’s rarely done in one try. Remember, it's not about how many times you've fallen, but that you get up again every single time.

Life "just happens" to some people because that’s the easy way. You literally don’t have to do much and you will end up with something. It takes no effort at all to make passive choices--to call them choices at all is misleading, actually. But if you want more--and you should--that takes a lot of awareness, effort, and even heartbreak. But if you do embark on that path, you decide to participate in a challenging, but rewarding journey. Daunting? Yes. But here's the good news: you don’t have to do it alone. The journey is best experienced with someone. Find your support team, your mentor, or your coach. Invest in curating a supportive environment and it will be loads lighter--and more fun.