Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than they spend planning their life.
– Michael Hyatt
I recently mentioned to someone that I had gone to see a show that they had been interested in seeing. When I said it, the person responded with “oh man, you’re so lucky!” My immediate thought was, ‘no, I planned it, I bought a ticket, and I went; what does luck have to do with anything?’
This experience was just a quick reminder that I tend to live my life with a relatively higher level of intentionality that others. For example, I calendar out my entire year in January. Each month, I revisit the calendar with my spouse, and we add whatever needs to be added. This way when an event, group, class, etc. comes across my proverbial desk, I can just check the calendar and see if I have time for it any given week/day or not. I also meal plan, and have a ‘grocery’ day. I choose to automate whatever I can so that it’s harder for things to be missed: paying bills, getting dog food, restocking the cleaning supplies, etc. I don’t share all of this to brag, or to make it seem like I have it all figured out, I don’t. I just know myself, and I know that if I want something, then I have to plan to achieve it, or it’s not going to happen. I’m just not an organized/motivated of enough of a person to wing it with any degree of success.
Have you ever considered how much stress that you’re under that could be avoided? What about how much richer your life could be if you got to do more of the things you loved? What would your life be like with fewer regrets?
Intentionality simply refers to a mindset of doing what you do on purpose. It does not guarantee any particular outcome necessarily; it just significantly increases the likelihood of a meaningful result.
So how do you start to live a more intentional life?
- Take stock of your life as it is.
- Acknowledge the dream, i.e. spend time identifying what you really want your life to look it
- Formulate goals for your life, e,g, I want to be calmer; I want to spend more time with friends/family, I want to be more productive/creative, etc.
- Develop short term goals for these larger goals, e.g. I will not work past 5pm more than 2 days per week; I will have 1 date night per week with my significant other; I will complete X task at work by the end of next month, etc.
- Reward your successes to help you stay motivated
- Reflect on your missteps to help you revise.
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
An intentional life might seem like a BIG endeavor, but in actuality it is simply a series of choices. Over time, these choices eventually come together to create a day to day lifestyle that just so happens to be tailor fitted to you, aligned with your values, and designed with purpose.