10 Habits For An Intentional Life

Nov 08, 2021
silhouette gazing at stars on beach

Habits are repeated actions or an unconscious pattern of behavior. They affect all aspects of our lives and determine how we spend each day. We all know about “good” and “bad” habits, and are probably struggling to let go of some of those less healthy practices. Unfortunately, there’s nothing as hard as fighting against Self. These habits have been part of you for a while, and it takes time to let go of something that has become so ingrained within you. However, to live an intentional life and be successful in what we do, we need to cultivate habits that are in alignment with the life we want.

An intentional life is one where we carefully choose what to do and how we do it in order to accomplish certain goals, which are based on our values. It is a purposeful life. Needless to say, one needs to be principled to be able to live such a life. Below are ten habits that can help us stay principled as we seek to live an intentional life.

  1. Self-introspection – check in with yourself daily. Sometimes we are our own stumbling blocks without realizing it. We behave in a self-sabotaging way. Therefore, we must learn to first look deep inside ourselves before we find anyone or anything else to blame for whatever isn’t going right in our lives. Look for your own weaknesses and areas that need to be improved and work on yourself. This will improve your relationships and your approaches as you work on your personal goals.

  2. Recite your life goals – this reminds you where each plan for the day is meant to take you. Remind yourself what you want to achieve every now and then. In other words, keep your eyes on the goal to avoid wasting time on things that do not bring value to your life.

  3. Say no – learn to say no to anything that is not in alignment with your goals. If you’re someone who tends to take on a lot or over-commit, this may include saying no to your family or friends, making plans, or to new opportunities. Also, say no to your excuses; they only help you feel comfortable in your weaknesses.

  4. Draw a lesson from each challenge you face – challenges happen for a reason. They could be caused by our own miscalculations or by external forces. Regardless of the situation, there is always something to learn. Within each misunderstanding, failed business launch or relationship, identify opportunities to learn and grow from your experience.

  5. Listen more and talk less – the more you listen, the more you can learn from others. Listening also gives you time to think and respond, rather than react. You lessen your chance of a misunderstanding or conflict, and have more fulfilling conversations, which improves your relationships. Listen with intention, and you’ll often find valuable pieces of information that relate to your goals and dreams.

  6. Practice gratitude – be grateful for your achievements and growth, and learn to express genuine appreciation to others. Being ungrateful makes it nearly impossible to live an intentional life. When people become so driven by their desire to achieve more, they are never content. This attitude can drive a person to act out of character and make the straight path feel like a burden. Appreciating what we have helps us to keep our energetic frequency high, and be less focused on achieving a single goal.

  7. Acknowledge your work & reward yourself – it can be easy to make everything about the future while forgetting to live in the present. Reward yourself when you achieve a goal or finish a task. It makes you feel good and motivates you to do more as you realize the results of committing to your goals. This further encourages you to cultivate more good habits.

    “When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command — and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.” Gretchen Rubin

  8. Take time to unplug – most of us are aware of how addictive social media, TV, and games can be. It’s also important to recognize the fear-based nature of mass media and news, and limit the attention you give to it. Check in with yourself and take a break from your screen and newsfeed, especially when you feel like it’s depleting your energy. 

  9. Rest when you need to – your body and mind require you to rest. Sometimes we stay up late trying to finish a task. Taking time to rest rejuvenates our minds so we can work more efficiently when we get back to work. Resting helps our brains remain alert and productive, allows our muscles to recover, reduces stress, gives us more energy, and improves our mood.

  10. Control your spending habits – know how much you need to spend and on what. While budgeting is practical, it also promotes intentionality by helping you keep in mind what is worth spending on and what you truly value. Our financial goals become easier to achieve, and we build confidence as we learn to control our spending habits.