I've been asked recently, "Why is it called Intentional Ten?" First of all, intentional living is about living a life that aligns with your values. For me, those values are health and wellness, strong relationships, happiness, and kindness. It all started with just ten minutes. I began my journey to realize these values by sitting down to journal for ten minutes each morning and reflect on being on more intentional. In January of 2019, the podcast was created to be ten-minute episodes of audio-guided journaling to hold myself accountable and to inspire others looking for the same thing. In 2020, I started the blog to be able to share more content with people beyond the podcast. Over time I listed out Ten Essentials of Intentional Living that outline what I have found to be the backbone of a fulfilling life that achieves my goals and realizes my values. Being more focused and intentional in these areas has helped me get out from under the weeds of a busy and cluttered life to live my REAL life. I'm not perfect. But I am finally happier, kinder, and also have less anxiety! Want to learn more? I'm listing them all out below. Stay tuned over the next ten weeks where each blog post will break them down one by one. Subscribe to find out when these posts are live!
My Ten Essentials of Intentional Living
If you know me you've heard this a thousand times. I personally swear by a daily habit of journaling ten minutes. I get all the thoughts on paper and realize they are just thoughts. You might even come up with some pretty great ideas and solutions to tackle your goals like I have! Need a place to start? I've created a starter guide for you on my website. If you're someone who likes a blank canvas to just brain dump, then check out the beautiful journals by Minimalism Art. I have the yellow one. It's gorgeous!
2. Gratitude Practice
A life filled with joy starts with gratitude. You don't have to have a perfect life to be grateful either. Identify three things. Daily is great, but honestly whenever you have time to stop and reflect it's good to do this. Happiness starts within. Studies have proven this simple habit can have a major impact. Gratitude can help reduce anxiety and depression, improve morale on teams, and even strengthen relationships!
3. Healthy, Clean Eating
Physical health is a big part of wellness as we already know. The food industry is a business. The majority of businesses make food in ways that are cheap and fast. Know what you are eating. Really know what you are eating. You don't need to follow any special diet if you are eating clean and whole. You will feel full and you will feel better. We follow a mostly plant-based diet, but that is what works best for us. Check out Forks Over Knives or Forks Over Knives Family to start learning more if that appeals to you! These were some of our staple reads as we transitioned our family to a new way of eating.
4. Movement and Exercise
Again, if you know me, you know I feel strongly about yoga for physical and mental exercise. But the best part about yoga is that it's literally just movement. It can be fast, slow, challenging, or gentle. Move and exercise in a way that is fun for you and your body. If you don't like A, try B. There are so many different ways to move that work, even for beginners! Walk, run, kick-box, lift weights... If you're interested in trying some beginner/intermediate level yoga classes, check out my side hustle, Charlotte Pop-Up Yoga, and our free videos on our YouTube channel.
5. Meditation/Quiet Time
We are not meant to be on full blast all.the.time. But our lives have become that way with the help of technology. It is vital to pencil in ways to reset. I personally enjoy two ten minute meditations a day right now with the help of the Ten Percent Happier App. I was inspired to learn more about meditation myself after listening to Dan Harris' book, Ten Percent Happier, on Audible. Meditations help calm my mind and my anxiety and help me to respond not react. You don't have to meditate though! Read a book in silence. Take a bath. Go for a walk. Just calm the mind.
6. Minimalism and Intentional Spending
This has been a big "project" for our family. It has also been the most rewarding! Journaling may have been step one of my intentional journey, but minimalism and frugality was step two. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life and was hooked on the concepts overall! We reduced our costs significantly in order for me to go part-time at work. Right out of the gate that gave me more time to focus on the kids and their needs, prep healthy meals, practice yoga and meditation, and just slow down overall. We have found that having less stuff means less upkeep, less cleaning, and closing the loop: less stress to make money to keep up with those material wants. It doesn't mean we don't spend money, we just only spend money on things that bring us true value. If you want to learn more about what inspired us as a couple, I highly recommend you watch the documentary, Playing with FIRE.
7. Time Management and Being Present
This one is my biggest hurdles. I am terrible at time management, but I am most stressed when I am worried about timing. If I am truly aware of how I spend my time and energy and "budget" my time, I find I am able to really disconnect and be present in my family/friend time. When I went part-time at work, I was able to spend more time focusing on the complex medical and developmental needs of one of the twins who was born with Koolen-de Vries Syndrome (a really rare disorder that I'll talk about more one day when I'm ready to cry a little). My heart has been filled by seeing her flourish and grow when I started being home more. Time is our most precious asset and we really under-appreciate time management skills in self-development and self-care!
8. Environmental Awareness
This is one that I'm new to realizing. Previously, I was so oblivious to the environmental impact of all my diet, clothing, and household products and habits. Changing my actions alone don't make any major impact sadly, but if we all begin to be more aware of how our habits and actions are actually impacting our health and our globe, together we can make a difference. Learn more about meat production, clothing production, toxic chemicals, waste, and more that we are often blind to every.single.day. Be intentional about what you buy and what you waste. Be kind to others by being kind to the earth.
9. Slowing Down
How we can slow down in a world that's speeding up? The good news is that this doesn't mean you have to be lazy. I've been telling myself to commit to less and have more free time on my schedule since I was seven. Yes, 7 years old. After almost thirty years of being stressed out and not listening to myself, I'm finally taking my own advice...and it's amazing! Try waking up one hour early so you aren't rushed in the morning. You'll realize that not being "on-the-go" all the time feels really good. You can still go; just don't speed so much! My journal and my calendar keep me focused. Remember to get your guided journal if you want to give it shot!
10. Forgiveness. Strive for Wellness, Not Perfection.
This one is super important. Yes, I recommend that anyone who is seeking more joy and fulfillment to follow the essentials above, but I don't expect myself or anyone else will be perfect! Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist was a good reminder to keep me grounded when struggling with my own imperfections (it also makes a great gift for family and friends!). Some days I still find myself mindlessly scrolling on Facebook or writing emails while playing with my kids. What's important is that we are mindful of the slip-ups, give ourselves some grace, and continue the journey. There's a margin of acceptable error in our lives! But who's really counting...just being a little more mindful, grateful, and intentional is a good thing!
Thanks for examining these Ten Essentials of Intentional Living with me! Be sure to subscribe to my email list to get notified of upcoming posts with the breakdown of these ten areas over the next ten weeks!
Talk to you soon!
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