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How to Live Intentionally: 15 Ways to Make Meaningful Moves

How to Live Intentionally: 15 Ways to Make Meaningful Moves

Living intentionally is a lifelong journey. Being on autopilot is so much easier. Wake up, work, sleep, repeat is the name of the game in adulthood. But, inevitably, there comes a day when we look at our lives and ask ourselves, “What am I doing? How did I get here?” We have been on autopilot for so long that we don’t realize how far we have gone off course. From our values. Our goals. Our authentic selves.

That said, when we do make the necessary U-turn and redraw the map, life starts to feel colorful again. (As cheesy as that sounds.) Living intentionally doesn’t just add richness to life–it fundamentally alters its direction.

What Living Intentionally Doesn’t Mean

I can’t be the only working adult who has told myself I am too exhausted to live intentionally. Because spoiler alert: it does require some effort. After a full day at work, caring for family, and cleaning the house, intentional living just seemed like another item on an endless to-do list. Here’s what I thought intentional living was: 

  • Getting up at 5AM 
  • Taking cold showers
  • Writing down every dollar I spent
  • Doing my hair and makeup everyday
  • Saying “yes” to every social invitation

In other words, it was a fast track to burnout. But these pillars of so-called “intentional living” are the mark of a culture obsessed with productivity. Though used interchangeably, you do not have to be productive to live with intention. 

What Living Intentionally Actually Means

Intentions are deeply personal. My intention for life is likely different than yours. So why do we insist that intentional living all looks the same? 

This journey is not about the destination but about finding our definition of meaning in the steps we take. It's about aligning our actions with our core values, embracing our authentic selves, and actively shaping our existence in service to our dreams and passions.

15 Ways to Live Intentionally

While we’re all planner people here, living intentionally is not a checklist. We don’t get a grade or a gold star. The reward is even better–the feeling of becoming more and more yourself every day.

Here are 15 (optional) ways to steer your path toward a more intentional and fulfilling life:

1. Pause

The power of pausing cannot be overstated. In a world that constantly pushes for more, stopping to breathe and be present allows you to appreciate life's simple pleasures and make considered decisions.

2. Write Things Down

I’m preaching to the choir for this one. Written reflection is a powerful practice we often underestimate. Writing down thoughts, goals, and gratitudes helps clarify your mind and keeps you focused on what truly matters.

3. Do the Next Right Thing

Living with intention is more accessible than chasing a purpose. There’s no need to completely start from scratch, unless it’s something you know you need. Whenever you’re overwhelmed, ask yourself, "What’s the next right move?" It simplifies life and celebrates the baby steps.

4. Surround Yourself with Likeminded People

Whenever we plop down on the couch and scroll through TikTok or YouTube, we are allowing ourselves to be influenced, though without our knowledge. Make a deliberate choice in spending time with people who share similar values and influence you to be more, well, you.

5. Know Your Values

If intention is your North Star, your core values are your compass. Knowing your non-negotiables and what drives you is a necessary foundation for anyone wanting to be more aligned. 

6. Use the HALT Method

Before making any significant decision, practice the HALT method. Ask yourself: “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?” Addressing these basic needs first ensures you don’t make choices out of temporary emotions.

7. Find a Third Place

Having a space outside of home and work where you can relax and be yourself—a local café, a park, a gym or studio—can be incredibly refreshing for your spirit. Wherever you go, let it be a place that nurtures your sense of belonging. 

8. Reduce Influence

Limiting excess consumption—be it social media, news, or entertainment—frees up time and energy for activities that feel more life-giving. That said, let’s face it: sometimes numbing yourself with some scrolling time is necessary. No judgment here!

9. Build a Routine

If you’re not a routine person, you can skip this one. For those who are, creating some sort of daily ritual that tends to your physical, spiritual and mental health is a great way to kick off and/or complete your day. 

10. Sound Off

Raise your hand if you reflexively turn on music or a podcast while doing chores or working out! As tough as it might be, practice being in silence. When there’s no other noise, the only sound that’s left is ourselves. 

11. Declutter

Removing physical, digital and emotional clutter can be liberating. Don’t just chuck things for the sake of doing it, though. Keep the things that are useful and bring you the most joy. A clear space is satisfying, but a space with all the things you love is soothing. 

12. Reflect

Regular reflection on your actions and their alignment with your goals is a great pitstop before a new month or big decision. All learning is done in hindsight, so take a few minutes out of your day to look back. 

13. Ask Why

Why do we do the things we do? Sometimes it’s informed by past hurts or fears. Other times it’s true alignment with what we know is best for us. Engage in compassionate critiques of your decision-making to identify what’s intentional and what’s not. 

14. Say No

Easier said than done, I know. But as the saying goes, if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Learning to say no to things that don’t serve your primary focus or drains your energy is not only empowering, but essential for your well-being. 

15. Give Back

While intention begins with us, it doesn’t end there. There are so many people looking for the exact guidance you alone can provide. Recognizing the importance of being part of something bigger and contributing to your community is as intentional as it gets. 

Why Living Intentionally Matters

Imagine waking up each morning knowing your day is filled with choices that resonate with your deepest desires and values. Living intentionally is about embracing this reality. It's about crafting a life not dictated by expectations or mindless routine, but shaped by aligned action. 

Ready to get started? Shop Passion Planner and create your most authentic life. 

AUTHOR BIO

Paula Palomar is a Digital Marketing Copywriter who loves using words to uplift the messaging of mission-driven companies and organizations. In her spare time, you’ll find her practicing yoga or eating churros at Disneyland.

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