Intentional Living

7 Questions to Inspire Intentional Living

February 12, 2018

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I believe in the power of intentional living, but it hasn’t always been that way.

In fact, for most of my life, you could say I lived with a complete lack of intention! I was always busy, always rushing from project to project, always adding more and more to my life—but never pausing to reflect and question my actions.

As a result, I wasted a lot of time running in circles, working hard but not actually working towards anything that mattered to me. It was stressful and to be honest, demoralising because I invested so much of myself but felt like I was getting nothing in return.

It wasn’t until I learned about intentional living that I realised asking questions and taking time for self-reflection wasn’t a waste of time—it was actually the most important thing I could do if I wanted to live a meaningful life.

If you’re ready to get off the treadmill and become a conscious creator of your own life, then here are 7 questions to inspire intentional living.

7 Questions to Inspire Intentional Living (image of hands writing in a journal)

WHY AM I DOING THIS?

This is a deceptively simple question! I think too often we assume we know the answer to this one, but when we really stop and think about it, our answers can surprise us.

When I started asking myself this question, I realised I had no idea why I was doing a lot of the things I did! The best answer I could come up with was often because “that’s what everyone else is doing” and it made me realise how much I had internalised other people’s expectations.

WHO AM I DOING THIS FOR?

I really wish I had asked this more often when I was younger—I would have saved myself a lot of wasted time, money and heartache!

Are you doing things because you want to or because you’re afraid of letting someone else down? It’s ok to do things for other people but make sure you’re conscious of who and why before you invest yourself.

IS THERE A SIMPLER WAY?

When I’m faced with a problem or a task, I’ve noticed my first instinct is to overthink things and make the situation way more complicated than it needs to be.

I’m not sure if this human nature or simply a bad habit I’ve picked up, but I’ve found that taking a moment to pause and look for a simpler solution has been life-changing.

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

Quote: Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others' choices make us." -  Richie Norton

HOW DOES THIS ADD VALUE TO MY LIFE?

Your time, energy and money are valuable, so the next time you’re about to exchange them for something (by making a purchase or adding another task to your to-do list) make sure it’s worth it. If you can’t quickly explain how something is adding value to your life, odds are it isn’t.

WHAT AM I GIVING UP?

This is something I talk about in my short course 7 Simple Days—everything has a tradeoff. Whenever you decide to do or buy something, make sure you ask yourself what you’re giving up to make it happen. Keep the big picture in mind and make sure you’re not giving up what you want most for short-term gains.

HOW DOES THIS MAKE ME FEEL?

I think a lot of people don’t ask themselves this question because it can feel selfish, but your feelings matter and they’re often clues you can use to help you make more intentional decisions.

If you’re doing something that makes you feel sad, anxious, or angry it’s important to ask yourself why. Are you doing something that goes against your core values? Or do you need more rest and support? Not all negative feelings are bad but they are always worth listening to.

The same rings true for your positive feelings; the more you understand what makes you feel happy and supported, the more you can intentionally create a life that you love.

AM I BEING HONEST WITH MYSELF?

Finally, check in and make sure you’re being honest with yourself, because if you’re not, none of your other answers really matter.

It’s not always easy to know for sure but—as cheesy as this seems—look to your heart for guidance. If something feels “off”, you might need to explore the above questions a bit further. Sometimes there’s more to the big picture than what first comes to mind.

THE NEXT STEP

If you enjoyed these questions, then I encourage to check out my short course 7 Simple Days!

7 Simple Days is a simple and intentional living journey, where we explore questions just like these in more depth through seven days of journal prompts and mini challenges.

7 Simple Days is for you if:

  • something feels “off”—perhaps you’re drowning in clutter, overwhelmed by your busy schedule, or just stuck on autopilot. Whatever it is, you know you’re not truly living life the way you know you’re meant to be.
  • enough is enough and you’re tired of settling for less than you deserve. You want more of what really matters and less of everything else.
  • you love a good journal prompt—questions that make you pause and think!

If this sounds like you, click here to find out more!

Do you think questions will help you live a more intentional life? Do you have any additional suggestions? Let me know in the comments! x

photo credit: rawpixel.com // Used with permission

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  • These questions are great, Jen! I notice a similar trend in my own life, wherein when I started asking these types of questions, intentional living follows. Thanks for sharing!

  • “Who am I doing this for?” is really a powerful question. It’s so important to find out what we actually want in life, and how to get there. Figuring out what things we do that only serves others’ dreams, and not our own, is a great first step.

  • Amy

    I love the question: what are you giving up? And I take it further sometimes, when I really want to commit to something, and ask: what am I willing to give up? Life is so often about choices. I know I’m serious when I’m not only willing to commit but also to sacrifice. Great post. I love a good question. Amy

  • I really like that you mentioned “Am I Being Honest with Myself.” It’s very easy to bury how we really feel for something that we idealize or want. Like having a boyfriend or getting married. Thank you for the great tips!

    • Oh absolutely! I added that question because I wasn’t honest with myself for years and I talked myself into thinking I wanted a lot of things just because it’s what was expected of me. It’s not always easy to recognise but I try and be mindful best I can. Thanks for reading Gabriella! x Jen