7 Simple Ways To Start Living Intentionally

If you want to start living with intention but you don’t know where to begin, then you’re in the right place. In this post, I’ll be sharing seven simple ways to start living intentionally

I’ve been telling the story of my intentional living journey for the past few years and during that time, I’ve connected with many others who want to start down a similar path. They’re tired of settling for life on autopilot and they want to start truly LIVING … but they’re just not sure where to begin. 

Whenever I get these messages, it takes me back to another time. I also spent years feeling lost, knowing deep in my heart that I wanted something different for myself. I was ready for change but I didn’t know what type of change I needed—so I continued to stay stuck. 

If this sounds relatable, then the good news is that living intentionally doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t let fear keep you trapped! You don’t have to change your entire life overnight. Instead, it’s often the small shifts that make the biggest difference. Here are seven simple ways that you can get started.

"7 Simple Ways To Start Living Intentionally" in a white box with a woven mat and book in the background.

What Does It Mean To Live Intentionally?

If you want to start living intentionally, it’s important to clarify what it’s really all about: taking control of your life. It’s time to start asking WHY you do the things you do and then, thinking critically about your answers. 

This doesn’t mean being perfect or having everything figured out—but it does mean being honest about what you can and can’t control. 

Sadly, I think this is how too many people give away their power. They tell themselves they’re stuck because they can’t control one or two elements of their lives—but what about everything else? Before you write yourself off as a victim of circumstance, you need to ask some tough questions. 

Are you really making the most of the time, money and energy you CAN control? 

This is what intentional living is truly all about—turning off the autopilot and actively seeking out ways to live the life you want most. The following list includes simple actions you can do right now to get started.

7 Simple Ways To Start Living Intentionally

REGULARLY REVIEW YOUR PRIORITIES

One of the simplest things you can do to start living with intention is to regularly review and check-in with your priorities. Ask yourself:

  • What’s most important to me right now, in my current season of life? 
  • Do my actions reflect these priorities? 
  • If not, what changes can I make to move into alignment?

Ideally, you want to do this on a regular basis—weekly if not daily—and make small, meaningful changes as required. Do this consistently and before you know it, you’ll start living true to yourself.

As a friendly reminder, acting in alignment with your priorities doesn’t mean you need to be “productive” all the time. Sometimes living intentionally means doing nothing or taking a long nap! It’s all about being true to yourself and your unique needs.

ACKNOWLEDGE + NAME YOUR TRADE-OFFS

I firmly believe that everything in life has trade-offs. Any time you choose to do something, you’re also choosing not to do something else. (And remember, doing nothing is a choice too!) Think of it this way:

  • If you choose to spend $100 on a new dress, you’re also choosing not to put $100 into savings. 
  • If you choose to work late, you’re also choosing not to spend more time with your loved ones.
  • If you choose to stay in a job you hate, you’re also choosing not to explore other options. 

Of course, despite what these examples might imply, it’s not always clear which option is the right choice. Choosing to work late might mean less time with family—but it might also mean paying the electric bill on time. 

There aren’t always right or wrong answers and that’s OK. 

What’s important for intentional living is that you’re aware of your options. It’s absolutely fine to blow $100 on a new dress every once in a while for no reason other than it makes you happy … as long as you’re aware of the trade offs.  

This might sound like nit-picking but honestly, so many people make choices in life without acknowledging the options. In the short term, you might get away with it … but do it for too long and I can almost guarantee there will come a time when you look in the mirror and you won’t recognise your life. (I say this with confidence because it happened to me!)

It doesn’t have to be this way though. 

A simple but life changing habit is to start actively naming your tradeoffs as you make them. For example, every time you make a purchase, remind yourself what you’re not doing with that money. Do the same every time you trade away your time or energy too—and watch what happens. Odds are you’ll start thinking more intentionally about your choices.

CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

If you want to start living intentionally, then be intentional about your environment

  • What does your living space look like?
  • Who do you surround yourself with? 
  • What media do you consume?
  • What language do you use with yourself?

All of these things make up your physical environment and you should (to the best of your ability) create an environment which supports you. Declutter your home, stop hanging around people who put down your dreams and put down your phone—or whatever feels best for you. 

Again, there are no right or wrong “rules” with this but you can (and should) be as intentional as possible about creating an environment that supports you. If you’re not sure where to begin, pay attention to how you feel as you move through your day. What makes you feel energised and alive? And what drains your energy? 

Listen carefully and then use this knowledge to empower yourself. What small changes can you make to your surroundings in order to uplevel your life?

A woven mat sitting on a bed with a book and coffee cup on it.

LOOK FOR THE SIMPLEST WAY

I owe this tip to my friend Sam—whenever I feel confused or overwhelmed about something, she always asks me “What would this look like if it was easy?”. 

It’s a simple yet powerful question that helps me get out of my head. Instead of getting lost in a sea of thought, worrying about every possible scenario, I’m invited to get to the heart of the issue. What really matters and what am I really trying to achieve?

Of course, the simplest way isn’t always possible but it’s a good starting point.

If you have a tendency to seek out complicated solutions to simple problems (ahem … me!) then definitely try asking this one simple question. It helps remove mental clutter so you can focus on what really needs to be done. 

Related Post:7 Tips to Declutter Your Mind

PAUSE + ASK “WHY?”

This is a simple yet essential habit for intentional living. Before you say “yes” to anything (from a new purchase to a new career) take a moment to press pause. Ask yourself why you want to say yes—and be honest with yourself!

  • Who are you doing this for?
  • How will this add value to your life? 
  • What do you hope to achieve? 

Again, there’s not always a clear right or wrong answer and that’s OK. The point of asking these questions isn’t to avoid making mistakes. After all, making mistakes is an essential part of personal growth. 

Instead, the reason we ask these questions is to increase awareness. What are you doing on auto-pilot, simply out of habit or because it’s what everyone else is doing? 

And more importantly, do you want to continue doing these things or are there other things that would add more value to your life?

SEEK OUT INTENTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned in the past decade is how important it is to be intentional with your relationships. I highly encourage you to actively connect with people who can support your values, dreams and goals.  

Practically speaking, this can mean many things. Here are just a handful of examples:

  • If you want to nurture a healthy relationship with your body, stop following people on social media who promote diet culture and instead, surround yourself with those who encourage self-acceptance.
  • If you dream of travelling around the world, make an effort to connect with people who are already living this dream. Let others serve as an example of what’s possible.  
  • If you want to become a published writer, look for a mentor or teacher. Who can you learn from? Can you take a class or reach out to someone you admire?

Keep in mind that the people you surround yourself with will often influence your worldview. Don’t be afraid to use this to your advantage.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Finally, if you want to start living intentionally, then you must find the courage to invest in yourself.  Get a massage, hire domestic help, spend money on personal development—or simply give yourself permission to rest when needed! 

It doesn’t have to be an investment of money (it might be time or energy instead) but whatever you’re spending, it’s not self-indulgent to bet on your future and take care of yourself. 

I know that it might feel scary and at times, it might require challenging the status quo, but don’t feel guilty about making needs a priority. Actions speak louder than words so if something is important to you, then don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. 

Related Post:How Mindful Spending Helps You Live a Life You Love

Want to Learn More About Living Intentionally?

Here are a few additional resources to help you live with intention: 

Living with intention doesn’t have to be complicated. What one thing will you try to start living intentionally this week? Let us know in the comments! X

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6 thoughts on “7 Simple Ways To Start Living Intentionally”

  1. Thanks for the great tips! it helped me realize that I did not want to live as I live now. I want to strive for something and be confident in my future. I would be glad to start living on your advice. I was always afraid to set goals because I was afraid to fail and because of this I lost confidence in myself. Thank you for this useful information, I will definitely use your tips!

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  2. Good afternoon! Very useful post for me. Recently, I realized that I do not want to go with the flow of life and I need to take everything from life. My life was just like a gray boring mass, I didn’t do what I liked, I just worked and slept. But after reading your article, I rethought all this and decided to make my life intentionally. I was afraid to set goals, but now I want to change. Thanks for this great article, have a nice day!

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  3. Hi Jennifer. What a great reminder – thanks for posting this, especially in this time of uncertainty. I especially like “review your priorities” and “change your environment.“ For my life, these have been essential.

    My husband I moved cross-country almost 3 years ago and left behind everything and everyone we’d ever known and moved to a region of the country we had always dreamed of living.

    Previous to that, we had made a lot of changes in our life trying to quell the feeling in us that was demanding a change. But even after these changes, something was still nagging at us and it was to change our environment. Once we finally did, we felt so fulfilled and continue to feel that way today.

    As for reviewing priorities, I think this especially important as things come up and change in life. Are you still happy? Are you still enjoying what you’re doing? Life can get more busy and asking this question can help you get back on track.

    As for us, my husband and I blog about our path to simplicity over at http://www.simplifiedandsatisfied.com if you’d like to check it out or connect further.

    All my best,
    Maddie

    Reply
  4. Love all your posts. They always make sense and are always helpful to someone trying to change their life to a more intentional style. I would only add “forgive yourself” and move on.

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