Being intentional with your time and in your choices is a meaningful way to bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.
You’ve likely heard this sentiment before, but have you ever asked what it really means to be intentional? Are you interested in how can you become more intentional in your everyday life or why living more intentionally is important?
I’ve got you covered in this post! Let’s dive into it all and how you can live more intentionally with “10 Ways to Be Intentional Every Day”.
What does being intentional mean?
If you’re a busy mom, I’m sure you’re quite familiar with living on autopilot. In fact, you probably feel like you’re operating on autopilot most days, right?
When we operate on autopilot, or mommy robot-mode, as I sometimes think of it, life becomes an endless cycle of ticking things off our long lists of to-do’s, hurrying from one activity to the next, while giving little thought to why we’re doing the things we do and how (or if) they add value to our lives and that of our families.
Well, simply put, being intentional is the opposite of operating on autopilot. When you’re being intentional, you make deliberate choices based on your values, that lead to a specific desired result.
In other words, being intentional means that you have a clear picture of what’s important to you, understand the “why” behind it, and honor that in your actions every day.
When you hear the word “actions”, you may think of big endeavors, but the little choices we make each day – like what foods we choose to eat or how we spend our free time – play a key role in shaping our lives.
This is where being intentional becomes a way of living. It’s a way of living with clarity, purpose, and focus behind it.
What are examples of being intentional?
Ok, now you might have a better understanding of what living intentionally is generally about, but what does that actually mean in your everyday life?
Let me illustrate with a couple of examples of being intentional from my own life.
Every morning during the week, my alarm goes off at 5:45am. I wake up at this time so that I have an hour to myself before it’s time to get the kids up and ready for school.
Let me tell you, 5:45 is no joke….it’s early! It’s still dark outside and a lot of days when I hear that alarm, I really don’t want to get out of bed. But I make the choice to do it anyway because I value that morning time immensely.
My morning routine gives me the space to gently wake up and nurture myself first thing in the morning so that I can be calm and loving once it’s time to wake my children. It also helps me maintain focus and peace of mind throughout my day.
As such, this early morning wake up time is something I’ve intentionally chosen to maintain because I see the benefit that it has in my life and it’s become a way of taking care of myself.
Another example of being intentional in my life is using a few minutes of this morning time to not only set my daily intentions, but also to make sure I have a plan for the day so I know exactly where I will focus my attention. I review my weekly goals and plan out my day’s agenda, usually identifying 2-3 main objectives each day.
Today, my agenda included exercise after school drop off, finishing the first draft of this blog post, and ordering some skincare products online that I’m running low on. Then the usual school pickup, homework help, making dinner!
Why is being intentional important?
In my opinion, the biggest reason being intentional is important is because it allows you to live in a way that is unique and authentic to you. Through striving to live intentionally, you’re encouraged to honor who you are and what matters most to you.
Every day, we are bombarded with outside messages trying to influence us and the choices we make. However, if you are consistently striving to align your choices with your values, it becomes easier to tune out that outside noise and stay true to what’s important to you.
You make decisions based on what you believe and hold true, not what the rest of the world is telling you to hold true. Being intentional leads to more clarity and focus on living the life you choose, rather than a life that’s chosen for you.
Further, when you are being intentional, you bring a clear purpose, structure, and positive mindset to your day. This helps you become more present in what you’re doing and leads to achieving bigger and better goals in your life.
In turn, this supports you to become the person you want to be.
How do I become intentional?
In order to become intentional, you must first identify what truly matters to you versus “everything else” that just clutters, distracts and provides little or no value to your life. How do you do this??
You can start with reflecting upon your values and what is most important to you in your current season of life.
Think about or journal on your answers to the questions below to help you get started:
1.) What makes you truly happy in your life? What lights you up inside? What are you doing when you feel most alive?
2.) How are you spending your time? Does it include a healthy balance of what makes you happy as well as the responsibilities in your life (work, kids, finances, etc)? Are you controlling your calendar or is it controlling you?
3.) What does your vision for your future look like? Do you have goals you want to achieve? Are you on a trajectory that reflects the future you want?
In order to live intentionally, it’s important to know your answers to questions like these so that you can develop a greater understanding of yourself and your priorities. Then, you endeavor to prioritize what matters most to you through engaging in actions and making choices that reflect what you value and also learning to let go of those things that no longer serve you.
If you want to dive deeper and further explore your inner workings, I also have 50 Self-Reflection questions you can download for free here or by clicking on the image below. 👇🏻
10 Ways to Be Intentional Every Day
Now that we understand what being intentional means, why it’s important, and how to become intentional, let’s get into 10 ways you can be intentional every day.
1.) Have a plan for each day
It’s important to have a plan in order to keep your larger goals in mind and create structure in your days.
I’ve made it a habit that on Sunday, I intentionally sit down to review my calendar, along with my goals, and make a plan for the week. Then I revisit my plan each morning to make sure I am clear on the day’s itinerary, keeping in mind my “must-do” tasks versus the tasks I’ll do if I have time.
2.) Write down a daily intention
Setting a daily intention that reflects your priorities is a meaningful tool to start your day with a focus on what’s important to you. Your daily intention is how you want to be and feel throughout your day.
I believe that it is not enough to simply think about this. You should also write it down each morning (ideally in your journal). When you take the time to physically write something down, it has a greater ability to take root in your mind, as your brain processes and remembers the information better.
Also, having a written record of your daily intentions gives you the opportunity to refer back to it at the end of the day and think about how (or if) you carried through with it and how it affected your day.
3.) Check in with yourself
This leads me to the next way to be intentional every day and that is to periodically check in with yourself throughout the day.
Not only does this help to draw your focus and mind back to your daily intention, but it also gives you the chance to consider how your choices are aligning with honoring what’s important to you and provides the opportunity to course correct if necessary.
4.) Take care of yourself
Making healthy food choices, taking care of your physical fitness and health needs, and making time for those things that bring you joy and restoration are all intentional choices in taking care of yourself.
5.) Set yourself up for success
Another way to be intentional each day is to create an environment in which you can succeed in achieving your goals and creating the life you want.
6.) Find time to unplug
Part of being intentional is making an effort to tune out distractions in our lives in order to focus on what’s important to us.
One of the greatest sources of distraction for most of us is our phones. Our attachment to them leads to the overconsumption of social media and outside noise and prevents us from being truly present in our own lives and carrying out the intentions we set.
Be intentional each day by setting boundaries in relation to your phone usage and find time to unplug.
7.) Pause to ask “why”
In order to be more intentional each day, it’s important to pause and ask “why” you are doing something (or not doing it). The goal with living intentionally is to push back against our tendency to operate on autopilot.
Make it a habit, to pause and ask “why” so that you are clear on your purpose for doing something and don’t find yourself spending all your time on things that are not adding value to your life.
8.) Control your calendar
We know that being intentional comes down to priorities and choices and thus controlling your calendar, rather than letting your calendar control you, is a vital way to live with intention each day.
It comes down to setting appropriate boundaries and understanding that YOU are the gatekeeper for what you allow into your schedule, and consequently into your life and that of your family.
9.) Spend your free time how you want
As moms, we often feel that spending time on ourselves is selfish, unproductive, or taking something away from our families. But the truth is that expending all of your time and energy on everything BUT yourself will only lead to feelings of resentment and eventual burnout.
Be intentional with how you spend your free time and give yourself permission to do with it what you want. No ifs, ands, or shoulds about it! Spend your free time on the things that make you happy and everyone will benefit.
10.) Keep a journal
Journaling is an important method you can use to get to know yourself better and gain a greater understanding of the workings of your mind.
By gaining a better understanding of yourself, you are better able to evaluate your life, the choices you’re making in it, and whether or not they’re serving you. As a regular practice, journaling can help you tap into your intuition and start being intentional in creating and living the life you want.
Learn how to create your own journaling practice with the “Finding Your Little Voice Journaling Guide”. 👇🏻
How are you being intentional in your life?
Now I’d love to hear from you! What’s your best tip for being intentional in your life? Let us know in the comments below.
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.