Intentional Living

4 Creative Exercises to Inspire Intentional Living

June 11, 2016

Hi lovelies! Hello from Australia!! ?? Sorry for the recent radio silence; I was making the most of my last few days on the road offline, exploring Hawaii and spending some quality time with my hubby.

Now that I’m home, I’m super excited to be catching up with friends and settling into a routine … but I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed. So much is going on and my brain is trying to do 10,000 things, all at once! Can you relate?!

If so, I think you’ll enjoy this post. When my brain goes into overdrive, I find it really helpful to take a time out and reset my compass – so make yourself a hot drink, get out your journal and some colourful pens, and take a moment to recharge with one of these fun, creative exercises to inspire intentional living.

Inspired by the idea of intentional living but struggling to get started? Try one of these fun, creative exercises to inspire intentional living.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY

Imagine your perfect day, in detail, from when you wake up in the morning until your head hits the pillow at the end of the day. What does your perfect day look like?

Doing this exercise serves two purposes:

  • To help you clarify your priorities, values, and dreams – and to visualise how they play out on a day to day basis. For example, you may dream about having a healthy, active lifestyle – but what will that actually look like? Will you go hiking every day? Spend afternoons at the gym? Train for a marathon? Knowing the specifics will help you understand your motivation.

  • To find your next step. Compare your perfect day to your current ‘everyday’. How are they different? Do you notice any small changes you could make to your life so that today more closely resembles your perfect day? Is there anything you could let go of?

Of course, not every day will be ‘perfect’ (and this is a good thing) but this exercise helps us learn more about ourselves and prompts us to review our current lives and mindfully consider what is and isn’t working.

This was inspired by a guided meditation in Susannah Conway’s free Find Your Word Course.

RELATED POST: An Intro to Intentional Living (7 Things You Need to Know)

DEFINE YOUR BELIEFS: WRITE A MANIFESTO

Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you believe in? Answer these questions by creating a personal manifesto.

As I wrote a few months ago, intentional living does not require having your whole life figured out, but you do need to consciously consider your direction.

If you’re unsure of where you should be headed, one way to get clarity is to create a personal manifesto (especially if you’re a visual person, like me!)

Your manifesto is a collection of ideas expressing what you believe in. It should act as a source of inspiration you can refer to daily to remind yourself who you are and what kind of life you want to live.

Inspired by the idea of intentional living but struggling to get started? Try one of these fun, creative exercises to inspire intentional living.

How you create your manifesto is completely up to you, but here are a few ideas to consider including:

  • your values
  • your code of conduct (how you want to treat others)
  • your dreams
  • quotes + affirmations
  • a declaration of who you are

I created mine in my journal, using a few colourful pens, but I could easily imagine getting more creative with paint and collages, or testing my graphic design skills in Canva.

RELATED POST: How Defining My Core Values Changed My Life

WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR FUTURE SELF

Write a letter to your future self, outlining in detail how you’d like your life to look and feel after a specified period of time (3 months, 1 year, etc) and use FutureMe.org to schedule it.

I originally did this exercise as part of a blogging course I took last year. I loved it for two reasons:

  1. I had to think critically about what I wanted my life to look like in the future, and this inspired me to review my current situation and consider what I was doing to achieve my goals.
  2. When I eventually received my ‘future self’ email, I was prompted to reevaluate my life again and adjust my course as necessary.

FILL YOUR JAR

I don’t know about you, but when I think about my priorities, I rarely consider that I have limited time and energy. Unfortunately, the reality is life is about tradeoffs; if you’re spending time doing one thing, it means you’re not doing something else.

It’s important that we make these choices intentionally – if we don’t we risk finding out down the road that we didn’t leave space for what matters most.

A helpful, visual way to define these priorities is with this ‘fill your jar’ exercise.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard a version of this story before but just in case you haven’t – here’s a quick summary (or you can watch the video instead.)

A professor walks into a classroom and presents a jar. He fills it with big rocks and then asks the class if the jar is full. They respond yes. Then he presents a bag of pebbles and pours it into the jar, filling the space between the rocks. Again he asks if the jar is full and the class responds yes. He repeats this process twice more, with sand and then water – until the jar is truly full.

The jar represents our lives; the big rocks are the most important things, the pebbles are slightly less important, and so on.

The lesson is we have limited time in our lives (just like there is limited space in the jar.) If you want to make sure you have time for the most important things (the big rocks) then you need to put them in your jar first. (Imagine if you started with the sand and pebbles – you’d never fit the rest in!)

So what are your big rocks? And what are your pebbles? Use the free worksheet I created for you (below) to define your priorities!

Remember, because you have limited space in your jar (just like you have limited time in your life) it’s important to make an intentional choice about what matters most.

The ‘big rocks’ idea was first presented by Stephen Covey.

Click Here Fill the Jar

Thanks so much for reading! Did you try any of these exercises? If so, what was your favourite? Do you enjoy any other creative exercises? Let me know in the comments! xoxo

photo credit : kaboompics.com / me used with permission

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  • Oh how I loved this post!! So many great ideas here! Thank you for the awesome Jar worksheet, too!!

    • Thanks Sarah – I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I actually tried all these out myself while I was in Hawaii and it really helped me feel more positive and empowered about my return home 🙂

    • I actually didn’t notice the Jar printable ’til I looked over the comments. No idea where my mind went when I read that part. 😆 Thanks for the reminder, Sarah!

  • Great ideas and so easy to do. Hope you are enjoying your time and transistion back home. It sounds like you are making the most of it 🙂 Cheers.

  • just did the rock/pebble exercise in my journal. really cool, thanks! one thing in particular that may sound a little silly, is how ideally housework is a pebble but since we moved it’s been like a rock! Using this as a prompt has actually helped me connect some dots and see some ways to get it to a pebble. That and, remembering that our home isn’t a showroom, it’s never going to like like a minimalist dream home (as much as this may frustrate me at times, lol), and that it’s okay. I can be content with where we’re at. 🙂

    • Yay, I’m so glad you tried it out! And I can SO relate right now – I’m in the middle of moving and I’m also coming to terms with the minimalist dream home thing!! (Frustrates me too haha 😂) Thanks so much for sharing your experience xo

  • I super-enjoyed that Future Me assignment too, Jen! I forgot about writing them (the 6 month and 1 year one especially!) so I was pleasantly surprised to get them in my inbox. It did lead to some reflection as you said.

    I’m also imagining it’d be fun to send the perfect day descriptions to myself over Future Me. When the email comes, it’s an automatic check-in on how close we are to the perfect day. Sounds like that scenario would blow my mind and be motivating too. 👍

    • YES! I love the idea of sending my perfect day to my future self. I think I’m definitely going to do that … it will also be interesting to see if my vision of a perfect day changes down the road. Thanks for the idea Daisy! x

    • Kristy @ Earth Star Spirit

      I was the same – the email came out of nowhere and gave me a kick up the butt to get started. I’m thinking I’ll write a new one after reading this 🙂

  • Mackenzie

    I like the idea of what your “perfect day” should be like and comparing it to what you currently do during the day. A perfect day for me would incorporate some sort of yoga, and my days currently do not, so something has to change. Thanks for the tip 🙂

    • I realised the exact same thing about yoga too! And I also realised my perfect day was less about big things and more about little moments (like having a nice morning routine) and this surprised me. It’s such a simple exercise but can reveal so much! Thank you for sharing xo

  • can you share with us your maniesto? It would be great to see it.

    • Hi Mila – oh my goodness, I’m so sorry I missed this comment! (It’s been about a year now!) There is actually a photo of my manifesto in the post but it might not be easy to see unless you’re on a desktop. Mostly, my manifesto reflects my values – lifelong learning, exploring, mindfulness, self care, love, family … all the stuff that matters most in my life.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • These are such great exercises. Some I’ve gone through with a goals course I recently went through and loved. I haven’t written out a personal manifesto though and I’m definitely going to try it!

    • Hi Angela – ooh a goals course! Sounds really interesting, I’d love to try something like that 🙂 Thanks for reading and apologies for my super slow response to your comment. Cheers!