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40 Ways to Live Intentionally – A Beginner’s Guide to an Intentional Life [2023]

Man arms wide open in front of lake and mountains

Life in New York, the city that never sleeps, can feel like a whirlwind. As a UX designer based in Brooklyn, I, know this all too well. Between the crunch of deadlines, the hustle of the subway, and the lure of the city’s vibrant dining scene, it’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle, leaving little time to pause, reflect, and live intentionally.

But what if I told you there was a way to live a more meaningful and satisfying life, right here in the heart of the Big Apple, or wherever you call home?

I’ve spent the last year on a journey of personal discovery, seeking ways to live more intentionally. Along the way, I’ve discovered that it’s not about grand gestures or drastic changes, but small, daily actions and shifts in mindset that can lead to a more fulfilling life. From mindfulness practices to physical activities, these techniques have revolutionized my daily routine, and they can do the same for you.

In this guide, I’ll share the best practices I’ve learned for living intentionally. Each point is backed by research, tried and tested by yours truly, and aimed at helping you to live a more mindful, purposeful life, no matter how busy your schedule might be. I invite you to join me on this journey of leading a more intentional life in 2023.

We partner with awesome companies that offer products that help our readers achieve their goals! If you purchase through our partner links, we get paid for the referral at no additional cost! For more information, visit my disclosure page.

What are the best ideas to live intentionally?

Alright, folks, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and dive headfirst into the world of intentional living! Picture this guide as your treasure map, leading you through the bustling jungle of daily life to the golden nuggets of a more purposeful existence. We’re about to embark on a thrilling expedition through 40 sparkling gems of wisdom that are not only fun and practical but also transformative.

This isn’t just your everyday routine; it’s your daily life sprinkled with a dusting of magic. Each tip is designed to help you stay motivated, reaping the benefits of a more mindful, fulfilling life. Whether you’re ready to take a giant leap into all 40 or prefer to dip your toes in one at a time, each strategy is your golden ticket to living an intentional life.

So, put on your explorer hat, and let’s venture into this exciting journey together. It’s time to transform your life, one intentional step at a time.

1. Wake Up Early and Create a Productive Morning Routine: 

There’s a certain magic in the quiet of the early morning. Waking up early can give you some peaceful moments to yourself, time to plan your day, or perhaps engage in some reading or exercise. For example, try waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual and use this time for a calming yoga session or to plan your daily goals. You’ll find it sets a positive tone for the rest of your day.

2. Practice Mindfulness or Meditation:

Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. This type of intentional living can be as simple as really tasting your morning coffee or as formal as a meditation practice. Spend 10 minutes each day in silent meditation, focusing on your breath. This can help reduce stress, increase focus, and boost your overall well-being.

3. Set Daily Goals or Intentions:

Setting daily goals gives you a roadmap for your day. It could be as simple as “I intend to finish reading that report today” or “I will take a walk during lunch”. By setting and achieving these small goals, you’ll feel productive and have a clear sense of purpose each day.

4. Eat Mindfully:

Rather than rushing through meals, take the time to savor your food. Notice the flavors, textures, and smells. Try turning off the TV during meals and instead focus on the food and your company. This can help improve digestion and even enhance your enjoyment of food.

5. Limit Your Time on Social Media:

While social media can be a great way to stay connected, it can also be a major time drain and cause of stress. Set boundaries for yourself, such as a specific time limit per day or ‘no social media hours’. You might find you have more time for other activities you love!

6. Prioritize Time with Loved Ones:

Our relationships are a big part of what gives life meaning. Make it a point to spend quality time with those you love. Schedule a regular family game night, or a weekly catch-up with a close friend. These moments contribute to deeper personal fulfillment.

7. Set a Budget and Stick to It:

Managing your finances intentionally can relieve stress and help you reach your goals. Set a budget that includes savings, expenses, and a little for fun, too. Using apps can help track your spending and saving. Soon, you’ll find financial peace as you live within your means.

8. Establish a Regular Sleep Routine / Keep a Dream Journal:

Live intentionally by getting good sleep. It is crucial for our physical and mental health. Try establishing a sleep routine that includes a wind-down period and a consistent bedtime. Keeping a dream journal by your bed can also provide insight into your subconscious and improve your dream recall.

9. Take Regular Breaks from Work or Studying:

All work and no play can lead to burnout. Take short breaks during your work or study time to rest your mind. Try the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5-minute break. You’ll find your productivity and focus improve!

10. Seek Out Nature and Spend Time Outdoors:

Spending time in nature can reduce stress and increase happiness. Try to spend a little time outdoors each day, whether it’s a walk in the park or a weekend hike. You’ll find the fresh air and greenery can do wonders for your mood and overall well-being.

11. Exercise Regularly:

Regular exercise is a powerful mood booster and a key part of maintaining good health. Whether it’s a daily jog, a yoga class, or a dance workout in your living room, find something you enjoy and make it a part of your routine. Your body (and mind!) will thank you.

12. Start a New Hobby or Passion Project:

Having a hobby or project can provide a great outlet for creativity and can be a great source of joy. Whether it’s painting, coding, or gardening, dedicate some time each week to something you’re passionate about. You’ll find it’s a fantastic stress reliever.

13. Drink Enough Water:

Hydration is key to our physical health and can even impact our mood and cognition. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and more if you’re active. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated throughout the day.

14. Read a Book Instead of Watching TV:

Reading not only provides entertainment but also stimulates the mind and can improve empathy. Try swapping out some of your TV time for a good book. You could start a book club with friends to make it a social activity, too!

15. Declutter Your Physical Space:

A tidy space can lead to a tidy mind. Regularly declutter your living and workspaces. This could mean getting rid of things you don’t use, organizing your belongings, or cleaning regularly. You’ll find a clean and organized space can boost your productivity and reduce stress.

16. Cook at Home Instead of Ordering Out:

Cooking at home is often healthier and more budget-friendly than eating out. Plus, it can be fun and rewarding. Try out new recipes, or make it a social activity by cooking with family or friends.

17. Use Public Transportation, Bike, or Walk When Possible:

Using public transport, biking, or walking not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also be a great way to incorporate more physical activity into your day. Plus, it’s often a chance to slow down and observe your surroundings.

18. Engage in Regular Self-Care Activities:

Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s necessary for our mental and physical health. Find activities that help you relax and make them a regular part of your routine. It could be a bubble bath, reading a book, or a regular massage. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

19. Cultivate a Growth Mindset:

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Embrace challenges, persevere in the face of setbacks, and see effort as the path to mastery. For example, instead of thinking “I’m not a math person”, think “I can learn with practice and effort”.

20. Spend Time Reflecting on Your Values:

Knowing your values can guide your decisions and give you a sense of purpose. Spend some time reflecting on what matters most to you. It could be family, creativity, helping others – whatever resonates with you.

21. Create a Cozy, Uplifting Environment at Home:

Our surroundings can greatly affect our mood and productivity. Create a home environment that makes you feel good. This could mean pleasingly arranging your furniture, adding some houseplants, or hanging up artwork that inspires you. Your home should be your sanctuary.

22. Create and Follow a Healthy Diet Plan:

What we eat impacts our physical health, energy levels, and even our mood. Create a diet plan that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Remember, this isn’t about restriction, but nourishing your body with what it needs.

23. Set Boundaries with Your Time and Energy:

Your time and energy are precious, so it’s important to set boundaries. This might mean saying no to activities or obligations that don’t serve you, or setting specific ‘me’ time each day. Protecting your time and energy can lead to better balance and less stress.

24. Engage in Regular Physical Activity:

Regular physical activity can boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your physical health. This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym – you could take a daily walk, have a dance party in your living room, or take up a sport you enjoy.

25 Cut Out or Reduce Toxic Relationships:

Relationships should add to your life, not detract from it. If there are people in your life who consistently bring you down, it might be time to reconsider and surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you.

26. Curating a Closet That Reflects Your Values:

is all about aligning your fashion choices with your commitment to live intentionally. This approach encourages moving away from the allure of fast fashion trends and towards a wardrobe that mirrors your personal style and commitment to ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable practices. By choosing to invest in high-quality, timeless pieces from brands that respect both the environment and labor rights, you can make your fashion choices an extension of your intent to live more consciously. This isn’t just about building a wardrobe; it’s about making mindful choices that reflect your values, fostering positive change in the fashion industry, and embracing the practice of living intentionally in every aspect of your life. Welcome to the fashion revolution that starts right in your closet!

27. Make Time for Creative Activities:

Creative activities, whether it’s painting, writing, or playing an instrument, can be a great outlet for stress and a source of joy. Schedule a regular time for creative pursuits and watch your overall happiness increase.

28. Engage with Your Local Community:

Being involved in your local community can give you a sense of belonging and purpose. This could mean volunteering at a local charity, joining a community group, or attending local events. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends!

29. Learn a New Language:

Learning a new language can be a fun challenge, and it opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Use language learning apps, take a class, or practice with a language exchange partner. You’ll be expanding your mind and your horizons.

30. Regularly Express Gratitude / Start a Gratitude Journal:

Expressing gratitude regularly can greatly increase your happiness. Try starting each day by writing down three things you’re grateful for. This practice can shift your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right in your life.

31. Find a Mentor or Life Coach:

Having a mentor or life coach can provide guidance, accountability, and support as you strive to live more intentionally. Look for someone who aligns with your values and has experience or knowledge in the areas you want to grow in.

32. Schedule Regular “Me” Time:

Make sure to schedule regular time for yourself. This is the time for you to relax, indulge in your hobbies, or simply do nothing at all. Having ‘me’ time can help prevent burnout and increase your overall happiness.

33. Keep Your Workspace Organized:

An organized workspace can boost your productivity and reduce stress. Keep your area clean, and have a place for everything. This can make your work or study time more enjoyable and efficient.

34. Practice Yoga or Tai Chi:

These ancient practices combine movement, meditation, and breathing exercises to enhance your physical health and mental well-being. Join a local class or find tutorials online. Even a few minutes a day can help reduce stress, improve flexibility and help you live intentionally,.

35. Read or Listen to Personal Development Books:

Personal development books can provide insights and advice to help you on your journey to intentional living. From productivity tips to mindfulness practices, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there. Try to read or listen to at least one personal development book per month.

36. Plant a Garden or Care for Houseplants:

Gardening is another form of intentional living. It can be therapeutic, and it’s a great way to connect with nature. If you don’t have outdoor space, try caring for houseplants. This hobby can be relaxing and rewarding as you watch your plants grow and thrive.

37. Make Time for Fun and Laughter:

Life isn’t all about being productive and serious. Make sure to make time for fun, laughter, and joy. Whether it’s watching a funny movie, playing a game, or just being silly, these moments add a richness to life that nothing else can.

38. Maintain a Clean and Tidy Living Space:

A clean and tidy living space can have a big impact on your mood and productivity. Try to keep your living space clean and organized. This doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, but a general level of tidiness can make your home more enjoyable to be in.

39. Live intentionally by exploring New Places and Experiences:

Exploring new places and experiences can alleviate feeling stuck, add excitement to your life and broaden your perspective. This could mean traveling to a new country, trying a new cuisine, or just visiting a new park in your city. Make a point to try something new regularly.

40. Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Activities:

Mindfulness isn’t just for meditation – it can be practiced in everyday activities. This means fully engaging in the task at hand, whether it’s washing dishes or walking the dog. Try to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine and see how it changes your experience.

What Does It Mean to Live Life Intentionally?

Imagine, if you will, a life where you are not bound by the expectations of others, but live in alignment with your values. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? This, my friend, is the essence of intentional living.

As a trusted source puts it, “Living intentionally is letting go of all the things our minds tell us we need to do to prove that we’re good enough—and then doing the things we would do if we already knew that we were”​1​. It’s about shedding the weight of external judgments and embracing the freedom of authenticity.

So, picture yourself in a world where you are free to be you, not shackled by societal norms, but empowered by your own core beliefs and values. This, my dear readers, is what it truly means to live life intentionally. It’s not a destination, but a thrilling and fulfilling journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Now, who’s ready to take the plunge?

How can living intentionally benefit you?

Living intentionally can be the game-changer you never knew you needed. Ever felt stuck, like you’re running on a hamster wheel with no real progress or direction? The practice of intentional living can help you break free from this cycle. By making purposeful decisions, setting meaningful goals, and establishing healthy boundaries, you can chart a path toward becoming your best self. It’s about taking control of your life and steering it in the direction of your dreams.

The benefits of living intentionally seep into all aspects of your life, including relationships and emotions. When you live intentionally, you cultivate a community that enriches your life and aligns with your values. You’re not just going through the motions but actively engaging in a way that fosters deep and meaningful connections. Plus, being in tune with your emotions, acknowledging them, and healthily dealing with them becomes an integral part of your journey.

Above all, intentional living breeds hope. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining in the clouds. No matter where you are right now, no matter how stuck you feel, there is always a way forward. And that way is paved with intentional, purposeful steps. So, are you ready to leap into a life filled with purpose, progress, and joy? Trust me, it’s a journey worth embarking on.

Man meditating

What does it take to be intentional?

Ah, living intentionally! It’s like stepping into the shoes of a world-class architect, designing a lifestyle that’s tailor-made for you. You’re not just making choices based on the present, but crafting a blueprint for your long-term goals.

Think of it like this: you’re not just picking out the wallpaper, but laying the very foundation of your life’s building. You’re learning from the past, but not letting it confine your design. Instead, you’re using it to inform your decisions, creating a future that’s brimming with possibility and intentional living.

Living intentionally is all about cultivating new habits that align with your vision. It’s deciding to spend money on experiences that enrich your life, rather than on things that clutter it. Choosing to invest time in relationships that lift you, rather than in those that bring you down. And making choices that reflect who you want to be, not just who you are right now.

But remember, just like a grand architectural masterpiece, an intentional life doesn’t happen overnight. It’s built brick by brick, choice by choice. Each decision you make, each habit you form, is another building block in the life you’re intentionally creating.

So, are you ready to don your architect’s hat and start drafting the blueprint of your intentional life? Remember, every great architect started with a blank sheet of paper. So, grab your pen, and let’s start designing a life where you live intentionally!

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