Living With Intention

Simplicity. Let’s talk about living with intention for a sec, shall we? I was thinking about this the other morning, as I made my coffee and sliced up some pineapple, with the mellow tunes of whatever song my favorite Spotify station 'Cafe Con Leche' played to set the mood for the day. 

living with intention

But, what exactly is living with intention? It's a buzzword we all keep hearing. 

For me, living with intention is living with purpose and on a deeper level minimizing, decluttering all aspects of life, letting go of the things that do not serve us purpose, allowing for the things that matter most to take space. By doing so, this "clutter" of life allows you to live with a deeper purpose that is much more meaningful.

I’ve been embracing a much more minimalistic approach to life since the start of the year, more so than before, living the way I want to live and going as zero waste as much as my daily life allows me to be. (Shout out to Chloe for the zero waste inspo and invaluable resources.) It's liberating. It's been a process of setting goals, slowly moving things out of my life, and creating new habits. 

So, how can you start living with intention?

Start with habits.

Everything starts with habits.

Think about an average day in your life. Maybe there is a ton of variety in what you do and how you spend your time. But we’re guessing much of your days that looks the same. In fact, research shows that about 40% of our behavior is repeated daily and in the same context. Whether it’s the food we eat, our daily commute, how we spend our free time, when we get to bed, and (maybe most importantly) everything in between, so much of our lives are spent doing things habitually. So when we’re thinking about how we want to change our lives for the better, habits are a great place to begin.  

On that same note, thinking about how we might begin to form positive, healthy habits, writer Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, encourages us to develop positive habits that help us do the following:

1. Sleep
2. Move
3. Eat/Drink Right
4. Unclutter

She describes these foundation habits and recommends we start with these four. When we do so, we anchor ourselves up to prioritize what is really important to us and can build upon them to achieve our greater, most fulfilling goals. When put into practice, all of these tools conceivably help us live to our full potential.

living with intention

any new habit needs attainable goals

Because any new habit needs attainable goals, writer Leo Babauta, the creator of Zen Habits, advises breaking our larger goals into yearly, monthly, and weekly goals as well as daily action steps. Thinking about how our goals can be achieved within this framework helps us see whether they can and should be what we focus on. When we consider how we can work towards our goals the micro goals (daily, weekly, monthly) we’re better prepared to see the bigger picture of our yearly goals and make adjustments as needed at the start.

Taking daily action steps toward achieving our goals is what he calls a Most Important Task (MIT). An MIT (or you may also know it as one non-negotiable) is the task you most want or need to get done today, and while Babauta identifies three for himself, one is always related to his goals. It's done every single day, typically first thing in the morning, and using this method ensures that he’s always moving his goals forward, keeping them front of mind, and staying on track.

What does living life with intention mean to you? Share here

If Not Today When

Oh, the places you will go when you stop with the self-doubt!  

monday motivational quote

Sometimes we need a little motivation when we've lost focus of our goals, our dreams, our journey. Losing focus and motivation can be tough, and it happens. Sometimes we can be our own worst critic.

You can waste so much time by doubting yourself when you really should be using that energy to take risks and focusing on making yourself happy. YOU CAN DO IT! You deserve to get everything that you want out of life; you just have to go out and get it.

Force yourself to take risks and get out of your comfort zone. Life is too short. There's no time for Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda's. NOT. AT. ALL.

Do what you’ve always wanted to do. That business you’ve wanted to start but were too scared to start. That trip you’ve wanted to take, but through you didn't have enough money to take. That goal you wanted to accomplish but were too scared to start. That starting step to better health but were discouraged each time you caved in to cravings. Don’t listen to anyone, DO YOU. You were given with one life; live it!

Give yourself permission to fail. It’s OK to fail from time to time. Failing teaches you valuable lessons in life, and it also builds character and strength. It’s much better to try and fail, then to not try and regret it.

Celebrate yourself! When you accomplish something, celebrate YOU! When you’re feeling great about yourself, celebrate YOU! One thing that we don’t do enough is pat ourselves on the back about our accomplishments. You’ve worked hard, so reward yourself. Heck, throw yourself a party!

Just think.... The places you will go once you start trusting and believing yourself and your journey.  Get out there and find what makes you feel alive and brings a spark back into your life. You only get one life... live it the way you were meant to live it. Go where you feel most alive, and ask yourself... If not today, then when?✌🏼

Share with me your biggest goals in life on Instagram - @valeriefidan!

My Effortless Trick To Live The Life You Deserve

"...I would rather drink the ocean, again and again—celebrate being madly alive..."
Janne Robinson 
how to live a better life

I don’t know all the secrets on how to have a better life, but I definitely would love to offer some advice. I see a lot of people who are down and out. They’re strung out, disappointed, feel helpless and stagnant in life. But instead of feeling sorry for yourself, ask yourself... What makes you feel alive?

For me, it's travel. There is something so exciting and exhilarating about travel, being in a new place, in a new environment, and feeling ALIVE. Because of that, I fill my life with plenty of it, near or far places.

It’s no secret that travel is a guaranteed way to discover yourself and make you happier. However, traveling is costly and not financially possible for everyone. Even if you can’t jet off to Europe or bask under the sun on the British Virgin Islands, there is still hope for you. Taking the family to the nearest large city is a great idea for a vacation. And vice versa, if you live in or near a major city drive a few hours outside of the city to a secluded little town. Even taking a day to staycation helps to recharge. Getting away for a few days lets your mind and body recuperate and take a break from life. 

But, maybe travel isn't what makes you feel alive... 

One guaranteed way to answer the question how to have a better life is to smile! It's seriously that simple.

Have you ever heard of the theory of what you put into the world is what you get back? In other words, if you put out negative vibes, you’ll be greeted with negativity at every turn. Create the change you want in your life by being positive, cheery, and happy -- if it’s not what you’re feeling on the inside.

I am naturally a happy person that is always smiling. I can't tell you how many times, people have told me that my smile is contagious... and guess what, yours is as well! Soon enough, you’ll see the people around you change for the better and what you’re projecting on the outside will translate to lighter emotions on the inside.

Now that you know my effortless trick to living a better life, I want to know... what makes you feel alive? Share it with me on Instagram - @valereifidan!

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Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.