With Intention Challenge Day 1

Listen to your heart, do more of what you love and let go of all the rest.

Hello there! My name’s Jennifer and welcome to With Intention, a week-long challenge designed to help you take the first steps towards simple and intentional living!

I created this challenge because not that long ago, I transformed my life—and I believe I can help others by sharing my story.

I’ll tell you all the details in a moment, but first, let me know if any of this sounds familiar:

  • your home and schedule are hopelessly cluttered and busy
  • the things that matter most to you—like time with family, self-care and personal hobbies—always end up on the back burner
  • you’ve got no time for yourself because you’re too busy cleaning, working, and just surviving
  • you’re moving through life achieving “goals” (✓career, ✓marriage, ✓house) … yet something feels “off” and you don’t feel satisfied the way you thought you would
  • you have a general feeling of living on auto-pilot—it’s like you’re going through the motions but not truly living your life
  • you know there has to be something “more” but you don’t know exactly where to look or what to chase

If you found yourself nodding along to any of these, then you’re not alone. This is EXACTLY how I felt a few years ago.

On the surface, I had a good life—I owned my own home, I was doing well in my career, and I was fortunate to travel often—but deep down, something didn’t feel right. I wasn’t happy and I knew there had to be something more but I didn’t know what I needed or where to begin looking.

Well-meaning friends and family told me that this was simply part of being an adult and that “life wasn’t always magic” which as an optimist, I had always believed. With a heavy heart, I felt my hope for the future start to fade.

I felt lost and all I knew for sure was that I was carrying a heavy weight on my shoulders and no matter what I did, I couldn’t put it down.

Today, my life is completely different.

I’m no longer hopelessly searching because I’ve finally learned what happiness and success mean to ME, and this clarity has been an absolute game changer.

Knowing what I want and need to feel joy has empowered me to let go of the clutter in my life: from physical possessions to stressful obligations, and everything in-between.

As a result, I have more time, space, and energy for the things that matter most to me—even though I have more responsibilities than ever. (I’m now self-employed, plus I’m raising a cheeky toddler who keeps me on my toes!) Still, I have time to spend with my husband, energy to play with my daughter, and space to practice self-care.

Even better is how I feel about myself and my life; I wake up every day full of hope and gratitude, and I’ve never been so optimistic about my future. I move through my days with purpose, comfortable and confident that the things that matter most to me are accounted for.

Instead of just trying to survive each day, I’m finally truly thriving.

This deep gratitude is what motivates me to share my story with the more than 50,000 members of the Simply + Fiercely community, all of whom are seeking a simpler, more intentional path through life too.

It’s my sincere hope that With Intention will guide you further along this path because I truly believe each of you deserves your own transformation.❤️


WHAT TO EXPECT: During this challenge, I’ll take you through the pivotal moments of my personal journey towards simple and intentional living. You’ll find my stories, the lessons I learned and also simple activities YOU can do to live With Intention.

In 2011, I was living in the beautiful island state of Tasmania, off the south coast of Australia and I was getting ready to celebrate my 30th birthday. 

My mother had flown over 10,000 miles to join me for the big day and, unbeknownst to me, she had planned a surprise party to mark the occasion. I was only a few hours away from a lovely dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, with friends and family there to celebrate with me. 

And on the surface, there was much to celebrate. I’d achieved a lot during my 30 years; I was married to a kind man, I owned my own home, and I had the enviable job as the marketing manager for a small tourism company. I travelled often, for work and play, and I knew that I had so much to be grateful for.

These were the thoughts running through my mind later that evening, as I blew out the candles on my birthday cake. My mother hugged me, my friends applauded and I put a big smile on my face … but on the inside, I felt quietly detached. Despite the good fortune in my life, I didn’t feel much like celebrating.

I was tired but it wasn’t from a lack of sleep (although I’m sure I wasn’t getting as much I needed!). It was something else … a weariness deep in my bones that I know now is the result of not being true to yourself. My marriage, my career, my mortgage—they all made me “successful” … but by whose definition?

Of course, I wasn’t so self-aware at the time. I only knew that something was “off” but I couldn’t explain it so I kept that smile on my face and laughed with my friends and family.

After dinner, a group of us headed to a local bar and I happily indulged in a few more glasses of sparkling wine. In recent years, I’d gotten good at numbing my feelings with alcohol, work and shopping—whatever vice was readily available.

The night continued until at some point, I wandered off and found myself standing in front of a large window. Looking down, I saw the deep, dark Derwent River stretched out before me and above, the endless midnight sky. It was late and I went to turn away—but out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of my reflection.

I stared at my face, a ghost of myself trapped between the glass and the darkness, and it felt fitting of the moment.

For the past few years, I’d been living like a ghost, showing up every day and mindlessly going the motions but my heart wasn’t in it. I had tried everything—a better job, a bigger closet, a newer car—but nothing I did made me feel any better (at least not in the long run).

In that moment, I decided something had to change.

I didn’t what exactly but I was finally ready to start asking questions. I had tried for years to go along with the status quo, doing everything “by the book” and it wasn’t working. I made a promise to myself that this time next year, things would be different.


On that night, I took the first step towards simple and intentional living by deciding that I wasn’t going to settle for a life half-lived any longer. This might seem small to you but in reflection, I can tell you with certainty that it was a major turning point in my life.

In the weeks, months and years that followed, I began taking a critical look at my choices: my home, my career, my relationships, my possessions—I questioned the role of everything and it completely turned my life upside down.

I’ll share more details in the next part of this challenge (and it’s a story I’ve never shared online before!) so make sure you keep an eye on your inbox, you won’t want to miss it!

But for now, let’s shift gears and talk about how YOU can create your own turning point and take the first steps towards simple and intentional living.

Are you ready to take action and start living with intention?

The first step is to “wake up” and look at your life with fresh eyes.

Start by writing a quick list of things that feel important in your life right now. What are your goals and your priorities? What are you working towards in this season of your life?

When you’re done, review your list and ask these three simple questions:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Who am I doing this for?
  • How does this add value to my life?

Once you’ve answered these questions, I’d love to hear from you.

Was there anything that surprised you about your answers? Are you happy with your responses or is there anywhere you’d like to “shake things up” a bit? ?

Let me know in the comments below and don’t be shy! The Simply + Fiercely community is warm and welcoming, and you never know if sharing your story might help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.

PS: Are you tempted to put this in the “do later” pile? Are you “too busy” to do this activity?

Trust me, I understand how it feels to have a lot on your plate BUT one thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t make time for intentional living, you will never have time for the things that matter most to you.

Make yourself a priority and take 10 minutes to answer these questions.

I can’t wait to hear from you all!

All the best,

xx Jen

23 thoughts on “With Intention Challenge Day 1”

  1. I am 57 years old, and for the first time in my life (in almost 30 years) I can live life for me. I have, in one way or another, taken care of, or helped, others for most of my adult life. My son is grown and has his own family; my mother passed away last September 9th. My best friend, whom I helped come back from a severe opioid addiction, is now married and moved away. All the teens that use to “hang out” at my house, with my son is now gone. My cousin, who lived just a few houses up from us, passed a few years ago, and when my mom passed his wife sold their house and moved to the mountains. So although, after almost 3 decades, I have MY life to live, and I don’t know how to get there. I want to live it with intention, I want a blog, a YouTube channel, and I want to write my testimony book called “My Journey of Grace.”

    I own my home (it needs to be upgraded from the inside out). I have 1 acre of cleared land that I have to maintain myself, my work schedule 3 days a week are long days, 2 days are somewhat shorter, but still does not allow much time to work on “where I want to go” because my time off is filled with maintaining what I have and where I’m at. I feel stuck, and don’t have a clue how to get unstuck.

    Reply
    • Hi Vicki, thank you for sharing your story. I hope the rest of this challenge helped you in some way but if not, my best advice for getting unstuck is to focus on doing one small thing for yourself every day. I know it might sound like a cliché but it really has worked for me. Hopefully, it will help you too. Please take care and thank you for being here.

      Reply
  2. At 60+ years, I have been on auto pilot for a long time. I have wanted changes and wanted to be intentional. Time is marching on as they say and to use the old adage it’s now or never. My family is grown, I am alone and I need to understand what it means to do something for myself. The adding value to my life is adding that my thoughts, dreams and processes have value. This value is important to not just my life but other people who’s paths I cross.

    Reply
  3. Hi, I realized that I have been complaining a lot about my life lately and I cant stand it. When I stopped complaining about my life I decided to do something about it. Day one helped me sort out what is important to me. Day one did not even take 10 minutes. I am looking forward to the rest of the challenge.

    Reply
  4. I found your blog actually after I finished one of my prayer journal entries, that was talking about desires of your heart, and that you are perfectly placed with intention. What an empty moment when I could not think of a SINGLE dream I have for myself, I lost my brother at 19 and had to become an adult and a rock instantly, planning a funeral alone while my sister was 13 and my parents were wrecks. I learned to be strong and move forward, at 30 I was a single parent raising two baby girls alone, while their father battled a pill addiction, again I shouldered the world and walked forward. I can now say I have the most peaceful, stable, loving and grounded home, but I have a heart covered in scars and I do not know how to NOT live and breathe to take care of everyone but myself.

    I need to learn to dream again, to LIVE not to survive, to hear and walk spiritually to find purpose, and to realize that stability is also a desire I have learned to hide behind. Thank you for the inspiration to start!

    Reply
  5. I am not surprised by my list. I do want to get my life back. I do everything I can for my kids and my husband and it leaves me tired at the end of the day. I want to be able to enjoy my life with them and our time we have together.

    Reply
  6. I’m not surprised by these answers, but I want to learn to be a better steward of my time and things. I’m entering a new season in life and I don’t know what it will entail, but I do need to take the next steps forward.

    Reply
  7. I found this article by Googling how to stop shopping. I want to buy my own home buy my next car in cash and get out of debt which I’m working on now. I want to home that it will be mine that I don’t have to pack up my things and throw things away cuz I don’t feel like packing anymore cuz I got too much stuff I want stability and I want to travel I’ve always wanted to travel my entire life. The only hurdle that I have right now that I’ve always had is not the money it’s the job I don’t want a job that I have to request time off and save up for vacation and hope not to get sick so I don’t utilize my vacation I want a job that doesn’t feel like work that it feels like fun and I don’t have to wait for a vacation to enjoy my life or to go somewhere or have a vacation where I can only take a week that’s my only hurdle that I haven’t been able to conquer

    Reply
  8. I just did this exercise and I am so excited. I realized I already haveto started living and thinking differently. My 8 goals are clearer now that i wrote them down but i didnt have trouble coming up with them. I had to leave my academic career because of a disabling condition. I only had a brief teaching career. I thought I was stuck in not letting go of the loss. But I heard something recently that helped move me. I read that you can’t write the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one. That along with your challenge has put me in a place where I’m ready to go…. Thanks for what you have taken the time to share with others. You have made a difference in my life already.

    Reply
  9. i set my timer for 10 mins and ended up spending over an hour on it!! i’m so glad i didn’t put this off. i realized that most of the things that /felt/ important had nothing to do with or were even counter productive to my goals/priorities and what i wanted to work towards in life! now that i can see it plainly i know where to direct my energy and i’m aware of what’s been holding me back. i’m so ready to begin living intentionally, thank you!!!

    Reply
  10. Hello thank you very much for sharing and for the challenge. I feel complete empathy with all the feelings. The most important and with a big impact on me, is the fact that I am not working towards any value or dream of mine. I just have been in autopilot. So part of my awakening is now have full conscious of act and decide towards what I love.
    Why? I want to feel a purpose on life.
    For who? For me and my family.
    Add value, to my life and of course I want to be th best example for my kids.

    Thanks again

    Reply
  11. I feel I am in the midst of coming to the realization that I am not where I want to be. I am very successful in the eyes of those around me- married, kids, house, successful career, etc., but I am barely making it through each day. There is something missing and I feel like my priorities are all wrong. I have so many vague ideas of what I’d rather be doing, but the logistics of my everyday life are leaving me drained, depleted, and completely unmotivated to make a change. I was randomly searching for ideas/motivation on the internet (that’s where all life’s answers are- right?) and I fell upon this blog. Maybe it was meant to be…

    I am on the verge of making some pretty big career changes for myself and my family and feeling just a little intimidated on whether or not I’m making the right decisions. It will mean a fairly significant financial change for our family, but I finally realized I can’t let that hold me back. No one in our family is going to look back and wish we had more material things- if anything I am going to look back and wonder why I let the stress of a high pressure job steal so much from me and my family.

    So I’m scared, but hopeful and even more excited to be joining the free 7 day challenge on here to see what it brings out…

    Reply
  12. I can’t say that I was surprised by any of my answers. Overall I am content with my life and consider myself a happy and fulfilled person. I was fortunate to be able to retire at a relatively young age and I am very active with friends and organizations I volunteer with. I have two cats who provide a seemingly endless source of entertainment! It’s just that occasionally I get a feeling of unrest and I can’t put my finger on why. I’m hoping these exercises will help with identifying why!

    Reply
  13. I ve been on auto pilot for so long i ve forgoted what i really want from life, i ve got a lovely grandson and daughter and would like to see them more, being in debt has been a priority for so long i just feel im constantly working and cant remember when i was happy thats why im doing this for me and my family, hopefully the benefit will be a less stressful life x

    Reply
  14. Hi Jen
    Over the last 5-6yrs I’ve been working towards this. After being made redundant twice in 3yrs I decided to change careers. I went from being an accountant to a paramedic. That meant going back to study and changing states. Unfortunately my 34yr marriage ended just before Christmas.
    While I have some focus I’m looking to fine tune so I can get s**t done.
    Moi

    Reply
  15. hi
    i live a horrible life, i was happy as a student , now i am working married man with two kids having split duty and i dont get much time to do what i like being with kids , play football ,travel or dance .
    i am earning good but like many i spend a lot , after all , i work a lot just to being unhappy. time to change , high time to be a minimalist and find the true essence of life , in search of that , i started reading blogs in last two weeks , and final y here i am in your page , this page seems to change my life , forever , but i have no idea what to do and where to start

    Reply
  16. My daughter and current pregnancy are the most important things to me but I am constantly distracted by the idea that if I just do….(cleaning, decluttering, selling stuff I don’t need, finishing unfinished sewing/art/video production projects, prepare meals etc) then I’ll have more time for my family. It feels like I’m doing this everyday and not getting anywhere or getting more time with my little one or myself.

    Reply
  17. Jennifer, I have not worked for four years. I am a victim of crime in the workplace. My husband works in IT and while he is usually employed his luck has run dry, since the incident at my workplace. During times when he has worked, I have been on eBay buying clothes which are still tagged and just sitting in my wardrobe. Anyway, the time for me to resume work is now. I have battled PTSD for so long, but I am recovering. The problem is – I am scared of working. When I try to write my resume, my mind goes blank. Also, since the work incident and my husbands problem of obtaining work, we defaulted on our mortgage. We are now living with our son and two daughters. My mind is ovwrwhelmed. We need money to clean up our property pre-sale. My son is always reminding me to write my resume and I feel overwhelmed, scared and frustrated. When we moved, I bought along so much rubbish that I have been holding onto. Vases and dinner sets which belonged to my mother fill package crates. I feel guilty if I were to sell family heirlooms, but I know I need to declutter all the material I have held on too. I went crazy on eBay and purchased clothes. Once I received them, I was not fulfilled and needed to purchase more. I have simply been desiring desire and this has happened for the past 15 years. I have a feeling that I need to declutter material possessions and my mind, then I may be able to write that resume and return to work with no fear. I am hoping your 7 day course will assist me with decluttering my life and finally living a life without fear but with genuine happiness and fulfillment.

    Reply
  18. I put this challenge on my to do list and it has sit there for a long time. Tonight I finally came to the realisation after a health scare when I revisited it that I have reached 40 and the things that are important to me are getting lost in the stuff I feel I should do
    I sat down and looked at what I need to do to rediscover who I am under this neverending to do list and rediscover my relationship with my partner, make time for my close friends and enjoy my kids
    this is achieved by clearing the clutter inside and out
    thank you for the perspective

    Reply
  19. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have 3 beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband. My daughters are 18 and older and starting to move ahead with their lives and there are big changes coming. Sometimes I feel so guilty for feeling anxious and depressed since I have so many blessings. I am looking for simplicity and a way to put more focus on the things that will bring me joy. I am excited about this new journey and scared at the same time. I know peace can be found and know God is walking this journey with me (as well as my family).
    Nicole

    Reply
  20. I realized that I’m doing this, not just for my outside clutter, but the inside clutter too. I’ve been spending some time in reflection over the last week or so and I’ve learned things about myself that I don’t like. So I’m going to start with my outer clutter, and work my way in. The goals and priorities that I have no are ones that truly matter to me and will push me to be better.

    Reply

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