Living an intentional, mindful life means deliberately designing your daily life and everyday habits around your deepest values, priorities, and goals.
It’s about being thoughtful, purposeful, and proactive with the conscious choices and intentional decisions you make each day.
Embracing intentionality in how you live can lead to much more fulfillment, meaning, contentment, mental health and an overall happier life.
While living intentionally may sound complicated or overwhelming, it’s actually quite simple when broken down into an action plan.
With some self-awareness, a bit of planning, and commitment to aligning your actions with your aspirations, you can begin living a significantly more intentional, mindful lifestyle starting today.
Here are 10 concrete, easy-to-implement steps you can take to become more intentional in how you live your life on a daily basis:
How To Be Intentional Every Day
1. Clearly Define Your Personal Values and Priorities
The first step is to get crystal clear on what your core values and priorities in life are – the things that matter most deeply to you.
These are the guiding principles and standards that influence your intentional choices, goals, decisions, behaviors, and lifestyle habits.
Sit down and make a detailed list of your top values and priorities.
These may include concepts like family, community, health, personal growth, creativity, adventure, career, spirituality, finance, intimacy, contribution, etc.
Be very specific – for example, not just “family” but “being present and engaged with my children each evening”.
Knowing exactly what you value provides a moral compass so you can make aligned, intentional decisions each day.
2. Set Short-Term Goals That Ladder Up to Long-Term Goals
With your values defined, the next step is to translate these into a set of specific, measurable goals you want to achieve both in the short and long-term.
Having clearly articulated goals related to what matters gives you clarity and a direction for intentional action and conscious choices.
For example, if one of your top values is health, your long-term goal might be sustaining excellent physical condition and energy levels decade after decade.
Short-term goals would then logically ladder up to that – goals like implementing consistent exercise, nutritious eating, sleep, and stress management habits over the next 3-6 months.
Write your short and long-term goals down so you have them documented. Revisit them frequently to inform daily decision-making aligned with your priorities.
3. Carefully Plan Out Your Days, Weeks and Months
With clarity around your values and goals, the next step is to get very intentional about how you spend your time and structure your daily habits.
Actually planning out your days, weeks, and months to align with what matters allows you to thoughtfully live out your intentions each day rather than reactively jumping from one thing to the next.
Block out quality time on your calendar for important activities related to your values and priorities like self-care, being present with family, creative projects, passions and hobbies, skill development.
Building these into your routine cements them into your real everyday life rather than leaving them as nice ideas.
Be as detailed as possible with your planning to design an intentional, mindful lifestyle.
4. Rigorously Eliminate Distractions and Mental Clutter
An important complement to planning out time for what’s important is aggressively eliminating anything that pulls your time and attention away from those things.
Most of us have far more distractions and time wasters than we realize – things like social media, TV shows, low value meetings and obligations.
Do an audit of how you currently spend time and ruthlessly cut out anything that is misaligned.
For example, you might unfollow certain accounts, mute notifications during work hours, reduce TV watching, declutter physical spaces in your home, be more selective with meetings and social engagements.
The more distractions you eliminate, the greater your focus and bandwidth becomes to make conscious choices.
5. Cultivate a Consistent Mindfulness Practice
One of the simplest yet most powerful things you can do to become more intentional is develop a strong mindfulness practice where you carve out time daily to tune into the present moment.
This means focusing your attention on your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and environment without judgement.
A daily mindfulness meditation practice allows you to sharpen your self-awareness and consciously make intentional choices and decisions each moment to design your ideal, mindful lifestyle.
Without mindfulness, it’s easy to operate on auto-pilot and allow your days to be dictated by old habits and external influences.
Practicing mindfulness essentially helps override those auto-pilot tendencies so you can align your actions with what you find meaningful.
Start small with just 5-10 minutes per day and gradually increase from there. Even a few minutes can make a dramatic difference in your intentional living journey when done consistently.
6. Get Comfortable Saying No
As you plan out your days and take back control of your time, you’ll likely start confronting that you simply can’t do it all.
This means getting comfortable with saying no to certain things so you can wholeheartedly say yes to the right things aligned with your intentional life priorities and goals.
Don’t overcommit yourself and spread yourself too thin. It’s perfectly fine to decline opportunities and invitations that seem good on paper but just don’t align with your priorities.
This could apply to anything from happy hours with colleagues to volunteer projects to a relative’s baby shower.
While you might feel guilty at first about saying no, remember that protecting your time and energy gives you more margin to live out your intentions each day.
7. Prioritize True Rest and Healthy Habits
An intentional life aligned with your priorities is all about quality over quantity. Yet many of us glorify being constantly busy, filling every moment with doing.
Depriving yourself of adequate rest directly sabotages your capacity to be intentional as it leaves you operating in survival mode rather than from your highest self.
That’s why another essential practice is prioritizing sleep, play, relaxation and genuine rejuvenation so you have a replenished bucket to give your best energy towards what matters most day after day.
Set aside time for laughter, adventure and wonder – this is all part of living wholeheartedly. Maintain boundaries around these restorative activities, so you don’t burn yourself out.
8. Find an Accountability Partner
Having at least one person help keep you accountable can significantly boost your follow-through on intentional living goals and priorities.
Identify a trusted friend, family member or even professional coach who can serve as your accountability partner.
Share your specific goals and values with them and set up a recurring check-in cadence – either weekly, bimonthly or at least monthly.
Discuss both your progress and any struggles you’re having.
Troubleshoot challenges, provide encouragement, and lovingly nudge each other towards consistency, taking actions aligned with your priorities and intentions.
9. Continuously Re-Evaluate and Improve
Adopting more intentional, conscious living habits requires an iterative approach. No one gets it perfectly figured out right away.
That’s why it’s essential to build in time quarterly or at least a few times per year to examine how you’re spending your time and energy and whether it truly aligns with your core values and intentional life goals.
Create space for honest self-reflection around what’s working well for you versus what isn’t.
Then make the necessary adjustments – you may need to revisit blocking time in your calendar, eliminating additional distractions, saying no to things, and adding in new habits like meditation or exercise if you’ve lapsed on those.
Be flexible, as life unfolds, your goals themselves may shift or evolve to some degree as well.
The key is continuously reevaluating and actively making improvements to close the gap between how you are living versus your aspirations of how you want to live.
10. Practice Gratitude and Celebrate Progress
The final step to embracing an intentional lifestyle aligned with your priorities is perhaps the most important – appreciating the journey every step along the way.
Intentionally celebrating wins, both massive and tiny, nurtures positive momentum to keep taking aligned actions day after day.
Cultivating genuine gratitude for exactly where you are allows happiness to infuse your current reality instead of always existing in some elusive “when”.
Take time to reflect on how far you’ve already come, the personal growth you’ve achieved, goals accomplished, and new awareness gained.
Even small shifts deserve to be acknowledged and savored. Appreciating the journey breeds motivation, inspiration and joy to continue intentionally living each day.
Be Patient and Loving with Yourself
Becoming more intentional in how you live your daily life requires self-awareness, discipline, commitment and compassion towards yourself.
It can certainly be challenging at times, and the process is always a work in progress.
But living even slightly more aligned with your highest values and priorities can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, leading to better mental health and an overall happier, intentional lifestyle.
The 10 steps outlined above may seem simple, but genuinely put them into practice starting today, and your everyday life is guaranteed to significantly transform for the better over time.