A new year has begun, and let’s face it – we’ve all been here before. Overly enthusiastic about the promise of a brilliant year ahead, filled with ideas, goals and resolutions and feeling like “this year we’re going to nail it, it won’t be another one of those years where we look back and think where did that time go and why didn’t the year turn how it was supposed to”.
This process of setting goals, and laying plans for the future, is the first step toward creating an intentional existence. Despite how we may feel from time to time, we have choices every day and in every moment, about how we want to live, how we want our lives to be and how we want to react and respond to what is happening around us.
In fact, everything boils down to two clear choices or mindsets:
- I’m going to adopt a positive mindset, continually practice gratitude and be intentional and focused on creating the life I want.
- I’m going to allow things to happen around me and respond in a negative way, focusing on how difficult and challenging life is.
Of course, we can’t necessarily control exactly what happens to us in life, however, we can control how we respond to it and we can always choose the direction we move in next.
We can play the victim or the hero in our own life story, but it’s only us who can choose the role we want to play.
If this is your year to live with intention, to play the hero and operate from a place of positivity and gratitude then read on for our step by step guide to living with intention.
Own where you are now
The victim blames circumstance, life and other people for where they are now. The hero owns it. It’s not always an easy process to go through, admitting that your past decisions, actions and reactions are wholly and solely responsible for where you’re at in life.
Whether this is reflected in your relationships, finances, career or health (to name a few) looking back with the mindset of ‘what can I learn from the choices I made in the past that have lead me to my current state of being’ is incredibly beneficial. Look at your ‘mistakes’ as opportunities for growth and learning, how will you approach similar situations in the future given what you know now? Approaching your past with this attitude puts you in the driver’s seat of your life, and eliminates the ‘why me, life is so hard’ mental loop.
Identify your values and purpose
The hero knows what they’re on earth to do (even if it’s just for the moment), the victim is wandering around aimlessly allowing life to push them and pull them every which way.
Knowing what you personally value (not society’s values, or the values of others), and what you care deeply about should be the framework by which you make decisions and take action. Spend time identifying and writing down your values, the things that are most important to you in everyday life (5 is a good limit so you don’t get carried away), and then think about what you care most about. What is your purpose, what do you want to be spending your time working on or toward? This can be really tough, but don’t get too caught up in knowing exactly what you want to do with your entire life, just focus on what you care about and the work you want to be doing (whether this is your career or something you do on the side or in your spare time).
Map out your dream life
The victim doesn’t have any control over where their lives end up. The hero knows that what they put out to the universe will eventually manifest through the combination of action and focus.
Sit down with yourself and start dreaming about what you want your life to look like, the relationships you have, the way you feel, your physical and mental health, your financial position and the lifestyle it affords you, trips you want to take, people you want to meet. Where you want your career or business to be. Write everything down in a big brain dump, and then start to organise it into sections with approximate timeframes and descriptions of what each area will look and feel like when they come to fruition. The act of writing down what you want is proven to dramatically increase your odds of achieving it, and the next step will make it almost a certainty.
Create an accountability loop
The hero isn’t afraid of being accountable to themselves and others and regularly reviews their progress. The victim has an arsenal of excuses for why things haven’t been achieved.
Take what you’ve written about what you want to achieve and what your life looks like and put it in as many places as possible. Create a short version as a wallpaper for your phone lock screen, place detailed versions on your fridge, your bathroom mirror or on your office wall. If you journal regularly, add it to the front of your journal. Next, schedule a monthly meeting with yourself, an accountability partner or your significant other and review your progress each time you meet. Identify whether you are on track or off track and what you’ll be doing in the month ahead to keep moving forward. This simple act of regularly reviewing your progress will ensure you remain focused on what you’re trying to create. Review your values and purpose at the same time, and use them as a framework to make any decisions you need to make.
The victim sits on the sidelines and waits for life to happen to them. The hero takes steps toward their goals every single day. Sometimes giant leaps, sometimes just a shuffle but they move forward with focused intent all the same.
None of this works if you don’t action what you’ve come up with in your monthly meetings. The true art of living with intention is to stay focused and ensure that every single day what you are working on and spending your time doing is taking you one step closer to what you are trying to create for your life. When you write out your to-do list, do a spot check and ensure that the things that are on it, are moving you closer to your goals.
Following these steps will ensure you have an incredible year of growth and joy ahead. Despite what life may throw at you, you’ll be able to handle it. You’ll dust yourself off, and get back on your life path, feeling gratitude for all experiences, both positive and negative.
If growing your wealth, developing a better relationship with your money, or getting out of debt is an area you want to be intentional with this year, take advantage of our FREE Financial Kickstart session to get you started.
Article by Sarah Riegelhuth
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.