Creating an Intentional Life To Live With Greater Confidence
When I started learning about creating an intentional life I learned so much about using thoughts to change feelings and behaviors.
One of my favorite quotes goes, “Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts”. You’ve probably heard me say your thoughts influence your feelings, your feelings influence your behaviors. So if you want to change who you are, change what you do.
And how do you change what you do? You change your feelings by changing your thoughts.
Changing your thoughts can be easier said than done because a lot of people aren’t even aware of what their thoughts are. They don’t stop to think about what they’re thinking about.
This is where becoming mindful is really important to your personal development and emotional intelligence growth.
Not only is it important to be mindful of your thoughts, but also to have faith. Once you are mindful of your thoughts, you learn what your dreams are.
Once you know what your dreams are, it’s time to implement a process for setting goals and turning those dreams into a reality.
That is where setting an intention is extremely powerful. Setting and into an intention means to identify an objective that guides your actions.
So if your thoughts are influencing your feelings and your feelings are influencing your actions, being mindful of your thoughts helps you to set that intention from a place of clarity.
Setting an intention guides how your actions move forward.
Having this clear connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, running that thread of intention through all of them, basically creates a compass so that you always know the direction that you’re supposed to be moving in.
If you are ever feeling unsure or like an impostor, you just go back to that intention and you remember your why. You remember the feelings and all of that other stuff falls away.
You have a very clear path to follow. The great thing is that you can set an intention for all areas of your life. You can set intentions for your physical goals, for your mental and emotional health and wellbeing, and all of this can work together to help you manifest the results that you see in your mind.
How do you set an intention?
If you’re on board with all of this so far, you’re probably wondering how to use this magical thing called intention. For the most part, it is an intuitive process and you feel your way through. But, there are some tips and guidelines for getting started with creating an intentional life.
Quiet your mind
If you’re anything like I was, your mind is constantly filled with memories, thoughts, feelings, and what-ifs. In order to be clear about what you want, you need to be able to quiet your mind, become aware of this chatter and silence it. This can be done through meditation, hypnosis, and journaling.
Once that mind is quieted, you get very clear about what you want and then you can start to set those intentions. With a quiet mind, you’re not overthinking or over-analyzing whether or not you deserve that thing that you want or whether or not you can achieve that thing that you want or whether or not that thing you want is even realistic.
Quieting your mind. Silencing all of that chatter gives you space to only think about what you really want and then you can set an intention and connect the feelings to that goal so that your behaviors are inspired.
Let go of control
Once your mind is quieted and you’re clear about what you want, set your intention and then let it go. Release it almost like a butterfly or a bird. You cannot control the destiny of that intention. That intention is meant only to inspire your actions and behaviors.
Once that intention has been set, just let it go. If you don’t let it go, you’re going to start overthinking, overanalyzing, and stressing about the intention itself. That’s counterproductive.
Take a deep breath, quiet your mind, acknowledge your desires, set your intention and let it go. And from there all you have to do is practice those behaviors that were inspired by the intention and that will get you to your goal.
Stay in abundance
Setting an intention from a state of scarcity is going to limit the potential of that intention. Instead, stay in a place of abundance where you’re not afraid of whether or not it’s going to come to you. There is no anxiety or overthinking about the exact steps that it’s going to take. All of that is scarcity and that’s what I mean by release your intention.
Trust yourself, trust your abilities, trust your skills and knowledge and know in your heart that every part of the goal you have set and the intention that you have put out there is going to come back to you. Just trust the process of creating an intentional life instead of analyzing it.
Don’t stress about the end result.
When you’ve quieted your mind and you’ve cleared all of the chatter and you can see your goal, that’s as far ahead as you need to be thinking. Just knowing that that’s the goal.
In other words, the top of the mountain is the goal. But the process for how you’re going to get there, what part of the top of the mountain you’re going to land on, and how long it’s going to take you is not important.
You’ve set a goal to reach the top of the mountain.
You set an intention and connected an emotion to your goal. With that intention, you are mindful of how it’s going to feel when you get there. And, you know how it’s going to feel if you don’t get there. That’s as much as you need to know.
From there, you’re just going to practice the behaviors that will get you to the top of the mountain and you’re going to trust the process and trust yourself and realize that everything that you need to do, to have everything that you want, is inside of you right now. You just have to trust the process. You just have to trust yourself and the magic that is inside of you.
What does living life with intention mean?
A life with intention means a desire to get more out of each day. You’re making a choice to follow a certain direction and that direction has been inspired by your thoughts. Your intention is connected with emotion and is made up of conscious choices that you’re making throughout the day.
For instance, if you know that you want to live a life of health and wellness both physically and emotionally and mentally, then you know that you need to make a conscious choice every day.
You need to set an intention and make a conscious choice every day to eat well, to exercise, to meditate, to drink plenty of water, to practice gratitude, to sleep better, et cetera.
So the goal is to live at a higher level of health and wellness mentally, physically, emotionally. The intention is the emotionality and the feelings that you connect with that goal. The behavior is making conscious choices every day all day to honor that intention. The actual act of creating an intentional life.
And, to understand and recognize that there are times when you’re going to have to go off-book. For instance, going on vacation always throws a wrench in nutrition and fitness goals.
Having three children like I do can throw a wrench in your goals for reducing stress.
This is where being very mindful of your resources and replenishing those resources can help you to continue to honor that intention.
For instance, taking a break from your to-do list to do 10 minutes of meditation, taking a walk instead of going to the gym and lifting weights because you’re exhausted and your hormones are out of balance that day, being kind to yourself and celebrating the small wins each day, even if you didn’t achieve everything that you thought you should have that day.
These are all ways to honor your intention of health and wellness in balance with the day-to-day pressures and responsibilities of your life together. That is living with intention.
Creating an intentional life like a pro
Now that you know all about setting your intention I wanted to acknowledge how much work this stuff really is. This is not for the faint of heart. I made these changes in my life knowing full well that I was about to completely change my life and the direction it was moving in.
I don’t regret it for a minute.
But, it was not easy.
Here are a few things that I want you to remember while you’re rolling out this process and creating an intentional life for yourself.
You don’t have control, but you have free will.
We talked a little bit about balancing an intentional life with the responsibilities and pressures of modern life. It’s important to do it with an open heart and an open mind.
There’s no way for you to control all of the events that happen each day, but you do have free will. You do have a choice about how you’re going to react and you do have a choice about how you’re going to recover.
So maybe you have an argument with your partner or your spouse. They’re angry with you about something and you have a choice.
You have free will and you have a choice about how you’re going to respond to them.
Maybe you respond, apologetically and acknowledge that whatever it is that they’re angry with you about you’re sorry and didn’t mean to make them angry or hurt their feelings. Or, maybe you are triggered and you choose to react with anger and defensiveness.
Those are two different ways that you can choose to react to the same situation. You also have a choice about how you recover. For instance, if you apologize and honestly mean it and forgive yourself and then move on, that’s one way to recover from the situation. If you pushed back with anger and defensiveness, you can go and apologize for those actions and ask for a discussion about what your partner thought you did that made them angry.
You can choose to say screw it and not apologize to anybody about anything. Those are all choices that you have. Those are all ways that you can exist in your day. Exercising your own free will.
You just want to keep in mind that if you’ve set an intention to have more loving and respectful relationships with the people in your life, in order to honor that intention, choosing to react and recover with love and respect is probably a better road to take.
Think about what you think about. Think about how other people might be experiencing a situation. Be considerate of any experiences other people may have gone through that are influencing the way that they are experiencing this current situation.
Don’t allow your mind to wander to what-ifs or to things that have happened in the past. None of that can be changed. Stay present. Yesterday is over tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. All of your living can only be done right now at this moment. This is the only moment that you have to do your living in, so stay present in this moment.
This is especially important when you are in conversation with people. Really listening to what they’re saying. Rather than listening while thinking about the next thing that you’re going to say. This helps to establish and maintain strong, healthy relationships with the people in your life.
Be cautious of expectations.
If you have expectations of how people should act in a situation or how people should treat you in a situation, these are ways to be disappointed very easily. It’s quite possible that you have unrealistic expectations. Not everyone has the tools available to communicate and interact at the level that you think they should.
Expectations are funny things because they can almost act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s much better to go into a situation with compassion and mindfulness. Recognizing that everyone has a different set of tools. They have a different level of emotional intelligence. They’re coming from different backgrounds, different experiences. They interpret things differently.
Rather than going into a situation with an expectation set about how they should act, how they should treat you, it’s much better to go in open-minded and open-hearted acknowledging that they are not you. Therefore, their expectations of themselves and of you are not going to be the same as your expectations of yourself and of them. Celebrate your uniqueness.