When I turned 35, I made the following post on Facebook and began using the hashtag #35i: It means a lot to feel love from my village! Thanks for all of the posts, calls, and texts. 35 revolutions…a long time coming and I am still here. I’ve been thinking about what 35 means and how many lists of 35 things I can make to accomplish, but it’s really simple…continue loving without limits, living with intention, trusting my intuition and creating memories that feed my soul. #35i #wayupifeelblessed #allsmiles #happytears #atadspoiled #humble # prayed up
Posts throughout that year with the 35i hashtag remind me of how I was intentional about making myself a priority. I attended events where I reflected on who I was at my core and how I want to show up for others. I broke rules and laughed out loud with my children in spaces where we likely should have kept our voices down. I read articles and took to heart quotes that inspired me. I spent the next year living life on purpose. I was deliberate in the decisions I made for myself and my family. Life in that year was not perfect but I did not let it stop me from being intentional. If there were moments of acquiescing to other priorities – work, secular obligations, or community responsibilities – I made sure those moments did not outweigh the intentional moments that I wanted to create for myself. All in all I lived a very full year, no regrets.
Throughout the past 7 years this is the tenet that I’ve demonstrated the most consistently. Creating a vision board at the beginning of the year has helped me maintain this consistency. Setting the intention, visualizing it by writing it or making a collage, and posting it in a place where I can see it keeps my mind set and focused on what I want to achieve. This action at the beginning of the year serves as a reminder for the rest of the year. I’ve also learned that if I am intentional about reviewing my vision board, I can make adjustments where needed, whether it’s an adjustment to the vision board or an adjustment to the actions I’m taking in my day to day life. Don’t forget to give yourself some grace in the process.
I like sharing my vision board with others and talking through my intentions with people I trust. This trust is important so that I can be vulnerable with the person I’m sharing with but I also need to trust them to tell me the truth and challenge me if I am not living up to my purpose. These relationships work best when there is an interchange of sharing, encouragement, and accountability. Share your intentions for yourself with someone (or a group) that you trust. This level of accountability will help you maintain consistency.
What I’ve learned:
I am energized when I am intentional. This energy comes from the fact that I am taking time to make deliberate decisions for me — for what I want, for how I want to show up for others, for how I balance my time. I am in control when I am intentional.
The intentions I set don’t only have to be for me. Intention setting involves listening, learning, and taking action. I evaluate relationships in my life — friends, family, and coworkers — and decide for myself how I want to show up in those relationships. By default my intention in those relationships is based on how important those relationships are to me. I have the choice to decide how my role comes to life in these relationships. Very similar to boundaries I set in these same relationships.
Small moments of intention, feed into my larger purpose. Consistently creating purposeful actions aligned with my intentions in both small and large ways creates a positive habit. Getting in the habit of living intentionally will allow for future life decisions and actions to align with your intentions because those actions will become second nature. I visualize a road leading the way to my ultimate purpose paved by the intentional bricks that I lay down.
How you can use intention to make yourself a priority:
Living with intention fills your cup. When you are intentional about how you spend your time, what activities you participate in, and how you show up for others you are filling your cup. You are empowered to make these deliberate decisions, you act on these decisions and as a result receive a sense of accomplishment. The reward for that feeling is a full cup. Reap the rewards for being intentional.
Living with intention heightens your awareness. Creating a habit of intention allows you to be more mindful of the decisions and actions you take. You will be able to quickly assess if a current situation you are going through is in alignment with the intentions you set for your life. Additionally, there may be times when your responsibilities may need to take precedence over your intentions and that is ok. Mindfulness will also make you aware of when the balance is off. Check in with your intentions and make the necessary adjustments to return to a more balanced state.