How to Live An Intentional Life Through Planning
I talk a bunch about intention. The entire planner is devoted to the theme of intention. So yeah, I like it a lot.
But have you really thought about intention and how much of what you’re doing is intentional?
Wait, what does intention really mean anyway?
It’s one of those terms we use a lot but when your 5-year-old asks you what it means, you stumble a bit in your explanation.
Essentially, intention is the purpose behind your action. It’s the why behind what you’re doing. It’s what you set your mind to.
Mindset is what they focus on a lot in law because they want to know if you made up your mind ahead of time to do what you did. As in, did the defendant go to that dude’s house with the intention to murder him? Did he already make up his mind that he was going to off him when he went over there?
Woah, that got dark. My apologies. But it helped show you the idea behind mindset, right?
For my dictionary nerds, here’s the official definition of intention (according to dictionary.com):
- Purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct
- An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result
- (Intent) Law. The state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object.
Yeah yeah yeah, Heather. Get to the point.
OK, 10-4 good buddy. Now that we know what intention means, I want to spend the rest of the time talking about how to apply it to your life. In other words…
How do you live your life on purpose?
How do you get to the end of your day, week, month, year, and years, knowing you spent most of your time doing what was important to you?
Let me ask you this: do you feel like life is happening to you more than it’s happening for you?
Honestly, do you get to the end of each month and feel like you didn’t get to anything you wanted to?
Do you feel like I’m asking too many questions right now? Yes, me too. Moving on.
Without further adieu, here’s how you can change all that so you can be satisfied with how you spent your time.
I’ve even put together a nifty little workbook to help you follow the flowchart.
Click here to grab this nifty guide that only took me a month to put together.
It’s all about naming your biggest, core-est (not a word, I know) values.
Ugh, this values thing again? I know, I know but this is really, truly the way to live with intention. You need to know WHY you are doing the things you are doing, and if what you’re currently doing isn’t tied back to the things most important to you...well then, that’s a disconnect, my friend. No wonder you’re unsatisfied.
Once you know your top 5 core values, you make your intentions based on those values.
As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits writes:
“If we live and work in alignment with our values, then we’re more likely to live a life we are proud of rather than one we regret.”
For me, one of my core values is wealth. I don’t define wealth as a ton of money. To me, it means financial freedom. So here are my intentions around this value.
CORE VALUE: Wealth
- [Dave Ramsey’s] Baby steps focus
- Semi annual meetings with our financial advisor (shout out to Mike Laatsch with Exeter Wealth Management)
- Increased budget management
- Continue living debt free
- Save, save, save for the things we want
- Meaningful & diligent work to continue bringing in money to build wealth
After you identify your intentions, you set up your systems. Your system is what your day(s) look like, and they are made up of your habits.
This is also where your planner comes in!
Plugin those value-based intentions into your day (week or month, accordingly).
For example, for me and my intentions around wealth, I touch my finances every weekday. It’s part of my morning routine: Coffee & watch TMZ, workout, devotional, read one section of non-fiction book, get ready, review my planner, and reconcile my budget workbook.
Identifying and planning systems are meaningless if you don’t take action.
This is truly the hardest part of the equation...how to actually do what you say you’re going to do.
I don’t want to oversimplify this because there are entire books and professions devoted to this topic.
All I know is that small actions done consistently reap benefits.
For me, being very active in my planner + small daily actions = living out my intentions.
Planning = being intentional
Lastly, one of the most overlooked parts of the flowchart is reflection.
I will be writing a separate blog post on reflection but I will say this: Making the time to reflect regularly will help you stay aligned in your focus to live out your intentions.
Well, will you look here...Sprouted Planner has all these components built right into it:
- A place to write your values and intentions in the beginning,
- Weekly or daily versions to hone your systems,
- Space for daily or weekly intentions and reflections(depending on the version of planner you get),
- Guided monthly reflection questions (and a year end one, too)
Regarding the action part: that’s up to you but I try to provide you the tools and inspiration to get your butt in gear.
If you’re ready to get your sh...tuff into alignment, grab my workbook on how to live an intentional life through planning.
Once you’re done, just top it off with taking action, and voila, you have yourself an intentional life cocktail. Cheers.