Live Intentionally


What does it look like to live more intentionally in 2015?

I stared at the question written down on a small 3X5 index card.  My friends were scattered around the dining room table and each sat quietly in thought.  Each month I attend a dinner with a handful of friends.  We answer a few questions and share our lives together.  People started speaking up and we decided that living intentionally means being more present and aware in the now.  It also means that we focus on how our time is being spent.

Whether it is our emotional well-being or our health, being present is not always easy.  We have a million things vying for our attention each day.  We may end the day knowing we spent every second doing something, but what did we actually get done?  Living intentionally can be taking a moment to stop in the midst of the chaos and focus on what is truly important.

I don’t think anyone lies on their death bed and realizes with zero effort, they accidentally lived an extraordinary life.  We may stumble upon events that shape our life in ways we can’t control, but reaching our dreams and goals takes work.  We have to be purposeful in our time and actions to reach those goals.  Zig Ziglar defined success as those who are happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous, secure, have friends, peace of mind, good family relationships, and hope for the future.  These things are not given to us by sitting back and allowing life to simply happen.  These things come to fruition by purposely planning how we are going to spend our limited time on this earth.  It is setting out a strategy for how you manage your time, money, and health.  It also means that we are purposeful in the relationships we choose to invest in.

There are some people that like to say it is all luck.  They like to look at successful people, athletes, or even celebrities and say how lucky they are.  Even those who are lucky enough to win the lottery still had to put time and money in to buy the ticket.  Behind every person who is successful you have years of planning and work to get to that point.    I don’t have good family relationships because of luck, both of my parents had tumultuous childhoods.  They worked hard at creating something special with our family, they went to counseling, and instilled in me the importance of investing time and love in each other.  My husband and I did not luck into paying off debt and developing a savings strategy.  We worked hard following a financial plan after getting beat down during the recession.  People do not accidentally get in great shape.  They wake up daily choosing to be purposeful with the foods they put in their bodies and the time they spend moving.

We have all seen blog posts or articles that are something along the lines of, “learn what successful people do” or “here is what this CEO does to stay on top of his game”.  When I read these articles I see things people are doing such as waking up early, planning their day, scheduling time with their loved ones, working out, meditating, a daily devotional, etc.  All of those things look like living intentionally to me.  These people are purposeful in what they do.

What if we each took one or two of the items from Mr. Ziglar’s list and made it a priority to focus on this year?  Those items were the things that define success for most people.  It is those who are happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous, secure, have friends, peace of mind, good family relationships, and hope for the future.  I think you can condense his list to 4 major themes:  time, money, health, and relationships.  What if we intentionally took those themes and focused on them for the year and thereafter.  What if we chose to live each day with those things in mind?  What if we stopped sitting back and letting life pass us by and chose to be the hero in our own stories?  I think we could plan on living an awesome and extraordinary life.  That is what I think living intentionally looks like.

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