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Living an intentional life, a life with purpose, is to visualise who you want to be and then make changes to how you live to go in that direction. But changing is not that easy. To really live intentionally and purposefully we need to challenge our core beliefs and make a decision on if they still serve us.
We need to examine our most valuable resources, your time and your money, to see if they align with the person we want to become.
Finally, we need to accept that who we want to become is a direction, not a goal.
Life is a journey where the direction is much more important than the end destination. Your purpose in life is not what happens when you get to the end, but how you get there.
Your 5 step guide to an intentional life:
1. Where do You Want to Be in 10 Years?
Finding your life purpose can sound really daunting. We need to change the language and remember:
This is about a life lived in accordance with your values. A life where you can put your shoulders down knowing that you live with a purpose. That you are becoming who you want to be.
Try this exercise: Write down where you want to be in 10 years. Try to make this about directions and values rather than absolutes:
‘I want to live an active life, with a work that is meaningful to me, and with close relationships to the people I care about’
Will serve you a lot better than:
‘I want to loose 20 pounds, be promoted to vice president and crush it on Instagram’.
Consider the second statement:
If you only loose 15 pounds, will you have failed?
What about a big promotion will make your life better? Are there other ways to achieve that?
Will Instagram followers get you the life you want? Or is there something else behind that goal?
Spend some time on this exercise and remember that this is a draft. You can always pivot and change direction as you, and your life, changes.
2. Will Your Current Beliefs Help You Get Where You Want to Go?
When you were working on your direction, was there anything that felt uncomfortable? When you were digging deeper behind the superficial goal to the purpose and direction, did you find something that made you shy away?
All of us have beliefs that guide us and helps us find our way through life. Some of these beliefs are very helpful whilst other may have served it’s purpose once, but have now become limiting:
I’m rubbish at conflict, I have been by whole life.
Money is the root of all evil.
I have no willpower.
The first step in changing the direction of your life is to notice if you have any limiting beliefs that will not serve you moving forward. That will stop you from going in the direction you want to go.
If you think you have no willpower, you will look at your direction of ‘I want to live an active life’ and think: ‘But to do that I need to loose a stone and start going to the gym and I know I can’t do that – I’ve tried and failed so many times!!’
Is that true though? Do you have to go on a strict diet to become more active? Can you challenge that belief and see if there is another way to get to what you really want?
Examples of Personal Beliefs:
Does your belief that rich people are corrupt stopping you from dealing with your personal finances?
Does your belief that you are bad with conflict stop you from standing up for yourself?
Does your belief that you are not worthy of love stop you from having a healthy relationship?
If you want to learn more about how to change your beliefs, and your outlook, I recomend the book ‘Cognitive Behavious Therapy: Your Route Out of Perfectionism, Salf-Sabotage and Other Every Habits with CBT’ by Avy Josepth.
3. Consider Your Most Valuable Resources
Time and money are your two most valuable resources. Take an inventory of where you spend your time. And where you spend your money.
Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.James W. Frick
Where you are currently spending your time and your money are your current values. They reflect your current beliefs and the direction you’re going. This is your current life purpose. How well does that match the direction you want to go?
4. Start Making Changes
What’s one small thing you can change that would make how you spend your time, or your money, more in line with your values? With the direction you want to go?
This is not about making big changes all at once, you need to work with yourself to change your limiting beliefs. To show yourself that you can be different. Start making small changes and they will soon start adding up to something significant, something that start changing the direction you are going.
Can you be slightly more active by taking a short walk instead of having to become a gym bunny on a diet?
Can you look at development opportunities that will take your work in a meaningful direction instead of working overtime every night, in the hope it will lead to a promotion?
Can you set a reminder to call your best friend every Sunday instead of spending an hour checking Instagram?
5. Review and Re-Write Your Life Purpose
Come back to your direction regularly. Where are you spending your time and your money now? Any other small tweaks you can do?
And does the direction still serve you? Did a pandemic hit and you realised that having an emergency fund is more important than spending all your money on travel? Or is it the other way around – that you realised that traveling, experiences and interacting with the world, is worth all the money you may or may not currently have?
There are no right or wrong answers and your direction don’t need to, should not, be fixed.
A true intentional life is lived when we dare to change. Dare to challenge our beliefs and make sure that our most valuable resources – our time and our money – are spent taking us in the direction that currently serves us. Towards our life purpose.
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