It’s easy to let life happen to us, however I doubt any of us desire to just drift through life. Instead the secret to living a full and meaningful life is to live intentionally and on purpose.
In a previous post, I talked about some recent changes I made to simplify my life. Living a simple life requires living intentionally. We live in a busy world that is constantly trying to drag us by the hand and tell us that this is important and that is important. But when we live intentionally and on purpose, we become mindful of how we choose to spend our day.
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When I graduated from University and got my first real job in a corporate office, I thought I wanted to gain good work experience there and then move to a bigger company where I could work my way up the corporate ladder.
I used to believe that this was the only way to make it in life and earn a decent income. That’s why I decided to take a big risk and quit my job three years ago to complete my MBA. I wanted to invest in my education so it could hopefully open the door to advancement opportunities in the corporate world.
Since quitting my 9-5 job, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the life that I would like to live. It made me realize that I didn’t want to return back to the corporate world.
Instead, I took an even bigger risk and decided to turn my hobby-blog into a full-time job. I feel so fulfilled helping women overcome their money blocks so they can live their life on purpose.
Once I took a step back and analyzed my life, it became clear what was most important to me and what values I held close to my heart. It’s allowed me to live intentionally which has made me a more positive and happier person.
Choosing to live with intention can do wonders to help you live a more fulfilled and meaningful life. Today I’m sharing six steps with you on how you can start living a more intentional life.
1. Visualize Your Ideal Day
Imagine you could design your perfect day. From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you go to bed at night, what would your ideal day entail? You have permission to dream big! Start by asking yourself what you want. Not what others want for you, but what YOU want.
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Just focus on the “whats” right now, we’ll figure out the “hows” later. What will you be doing on your ideal day? Where will you be living? Who will you be spending your time with? Chances are, many of us wouldn’t include spending time on social media in our “ideal day”.
Get real with yourself and consider what you value in life. What does success mean to you? Does it mean spending time with your family? Does it mean starting your own business? Does it mean traveling around the world? Imagine a productive day and take note of the things that are included in your day.
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2. Implement Small Daily Habits
In order to make your ideal day a reality, it’s important to implement small daily habits that reflect your values. I recommend adding small actions to your daily routine.
Whether it’s spending the first 10 minutes of the day meditating, or spending a few minutes in the morning writing down your goals for the day, or making an effort to exercise more — consistent action is the key to success. I recommend buying a schedule book like this to help you plan your day and outline your goals.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Steveson
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3. Know Your Priorities
As you start transitioning to living more with intention, it’s natural to feel fear or self-doubt. This means that you’re on the right path. Feeling resistance is a sign that you should keep going and stay focused on your priorities.
Make sure that your actions are aligned with your values and goals. What can you do today that will help you get closer to the “ideal day” that you have designed for yourself?
4. Get Rid of Clutter
Now that you have started implementing small daily habits which reflect your goals, the next essential step is to get rid of clutter. Did you know that there are 300,000 items in the average American home? (L.A. Times)
I recommend spending 10-15 minutes getting rid of these 30 items in your home that are not adding value to your life. Then, focus on one area of your home each week that is causing you to feel the most anxious and get rid of any clutter. This can be your closet, your pantry, your bedroom, your kitchen, you name it.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with finding helpful tools to organize my items, like this cute vanity organizer.
I also love this closet organizer to keep my undergarments nice and tidy. Too much info?
5. Be Intentional About Your Health
While many of us set resolutions at the beginning of the year to lose weight or get healthy, we rarely stick to these resolutions for more than a few months. Instead, we get busy with work or life events and lose the motivation to keep up the good health habits.
It’s important that we set intentional goals that have a clear purpose and are chosen because they are meaningful to us. When we live with intention, we are living as our authentic self. We choose to simplify our life and become less stressed. From what we eat, to where we shop, to how we spend our time – it all stems from living a more intentional life.
Be Intentional About What You Eat
For me, educating myself on where our food comes from and how it impacts my health and the environment has become so important in recent years.
Just a few years ago, I had no idea that animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the combined exhaust from all transportation (Cowspiracy). Or that 70% of deaths and morbidity are largely lifestyle related and preventable (What The Health).
Facts like this have allowed me to become aware of how my food and lifestyle choices can directly impact my health and the environment. For the past few years, I have been focused on eating healthy whole foods and moving away from processed junk and animal products.
Preparing meals at home has been a big reason why I have been able to save money and stay on budget. (If you’re curious, I’m always posting my food creations on Instagram Stories).
If you’d like to start preparing more homemade meals, a great way to save time is to meal plan. I recommend signing up for the $5 Meal Plan. This is a weekly meal plan service that can make your meal planning super simple. For just $5 per month, you will receive a delicious meal plan, where every meal will cost about $2 per person (or less).
If you prefer to plan your own meals, here are a few cookbooks that I use all the time:
- Oh She Glows
- Thug Kitchen – While the language is rather explicit in this book, the cauliflower tacos are out of this world!
- Chloe’s Vegan Desserts – Her chocolate cream pie is AMAZING. Bring this to a party and no one will believe that it’s vegan!
Be Intentional About Your Body
Being intentional about your body means having an active lifestyle or maintaining a consistent workout routine. You don’t need to pay for a gym membership in order to get in shape and stay healthy. All you need is 20-30 minutes a day.
I am a big fan of exercising to workout videos. It’s like being in a fitness class and having your own personal trainer at the same time. Here are a few inexpensive workout DVDs I recommend buying:
If you prefer to practice yoga, I recommend joining My Yoga Works. With My Yoga Works, you can get an all-access pass to 1,000+ premium online yoga classes which are all led by top teachers. It’s a great way to practice yoga and it’s A LOT more affordable than attending a traditional yoga class. Sign up here and get your first 14 days free!
6. Be Intentional About Your Finances
Living with intention essentially means investing in yourself. So far we’ve covered how you can invest in your time, your space, and your health. Another fundamental aspect of living with intention is to invest in your finances, which I write about a lot here on Mint Notion. Here are five ways to invest in your finances:
Pay Down Credit Card Debt
Reducing or eliminating credit card debt and other high-interest debt should be on the top of your priority list. Once you reduce credit card debt, you will be able to direct the money you were using to pay off your credit cards towards saving instead.
I recommend downloading my free Get Out Of Debt checklist to help you get on the right track to eliminating debt.
Save and Invest a Portion of Your Income
Pay yourself first, my friend! I recommend saving at least 10% of your income (or more if possible). If 10% is too much of a stretch at this moment, then I recommend starting small. Open up a savings account today and deposit $10. It might seem like a small amount, but this is the most important step.
Starting today and making that first deposit proves to yourself that you can save money. Everyone needs to start somewhere. I recommend automating your savings account. You can set this up at your bank and have a certain amount of your paycheck directly deposited into your savings account. Work your way up to saving 10% of your income, then you can challenge yourself to save 20% of your income (or more).
Once you start saving your income, the next step is to invest it. Investing your money can be done a number of ways such as investing in mutual funds, index funds, the stock market, or real estate.
If you’re interested in learning more about investing and creating a portfolio, I recommend starting with Motif Investing as an affordable option. The investing platform is straightforward and easy to use. You can buy a portfolio of up to 30 stocks or ETFs for a single transaction of $9.95 per trade. Plus you will receive up to $150 when you use Motif Investing by signing up through this link.
Build an Emergency Fund
Did you know that one-third of Americans don’t have an emergency fund? Also, 47% of Americans said they could not afford an emergency expense of $400 (CNBC). As a result, without an emergency fund, we’re not likely to have sufficient funds to pay for unexpected costs, which can lead to debt and stress.
Saving money provides a safety net for unplanned expenses and helps prevent unnecessary debt. However, many people haven’t started saving because they don’t think it’s urgent or they don’t think they have enough money to do so.
I recommend having enough savings to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses. However, if you or your partner are hit with an unexpected job loss, unemployment could last even longer, so it’s important to start building your savings now.
To help get you started on building an emergency fund, I recommend doing the 30-Day Money Saving Challenge. This challenge will help you save nearly $500 in just 30 days! You can learn more about this challenge here.
Increase Your Income
Have you been trying to live more frugally by cutting back on your spending and still feel that you’re living on a bare bones budget? Chances are you don’t have a spending problem, but an income problem. I know none of us want to admit that our income is too low, however sometimes we just don’t make enough money to cover the cost of living.
Even if you do make a decent income and practice good financial habits, it’s still important to find ways to increase your income. Why? Because increasing your income allows you to have the power of choice. When you increase your income and build wealth, chances are no single event or loss would ever cause you to be without. For example, wealthy people often have multiple streams of income. In other words, they don’t put all their eggs in one basket.
So how can you increase your income?
First, you need to get rid of your scarcity mindset and fear. Instead, focus on developing an abundance mindset. Having an abundance mindset is vital for financial success. Focus on adding value to the world. There is an unlimited amount of wealth that you can accumulate and there are no limits to the opportunities you have to build more wealth.
Second, find a way to increase your income. This may involve getting a pay raise at your current job, taking on a second job, looking for a better paying job to replace your current job, or finding ways to side hustle. You may even decide to start your own business.
For ideas on how you can make extra money, I recommend reading these posts:
- 70+ real ways to make extra money
- 15 side hustle ideas to make extra money in your spare time
- 5 brilliant ways you can make money from Pinterest
- How to start a money-making blog with Bluehost
Over to you — why do you want to live a more intentional life?