The hope of a new year. It brings a renewed sense of possibility and fresh opportunity. Many of us set intentions about what we want in the next twelve months. We can take this same attitude and perspective into the hope of a new day. How shall I live this day? How can I make it productive? How can I make it joyful? Intentional Living is setting your intentions for how you want your day to unfold. It’s attending to what will make it fruitful, but what will also make it worthwhile. Take the time to ask yourself each day what you want from the day. You may be surprised at what you can create in both your work and your happiness.  #intentionalliving is refreshed hope.

Peace, joy, beauty and love. These themes emerged while trying to process a tragic loss in my family 18 years ago. Those are the things that I look for and strive to achieve daily, along with finding resolution. I try not to let things fester. At the end of the day, I let go of what that may not have turned out well and remind myself that the day is over. In the morning, I start fresh with the opportunity ripe in a new day. Intentional Living is starting fresh and looking for the good things in each day. Although our lives are filled with challenges, seeking what is good and right can lift us and give us perspective. #intentionalliving is recognizing peace, joy, beauty and love.

The Power of Full Engagement asserts that our most precious resource is our energy. How are you managing your energy? Many of us barrel through the day with the fear that slowing down or taking a break will decrease efficiency and output. The opposite is true. When we purposely pace ourselves and take “recovery rituals” every few hours, our productivity increases and we are not left spent at the end of a workday. Recently I shared this idea with a coaching client who is struggling balancing a demanding career with an active home life. When I asked her what she could do every few hours that would not take much time, she was at a loss for ideas. As we talked further, she started to think of things like getting up from her desk and making a cup of tea or walking the halls for 5 minutes. Then her face lit up. She said, “You know, I love to meditate.” Bingo. That’s a perfect small and easy activity to help restore energy. You can do it anywhere. It brings perspective and helps us to lighten the intensity of a demanding lifestyle. Intentional Living is incorporating recovery rituals to help you balance your energy so you can be fully engaged. #intentionalliving is full engagement.

 

 

 

Stop and Smell the Pastries. On a recent trip to Victoria, BC, we stumbled upon Murchie’s Coffee House. Gazing at their exquisite pastry-filled display case reminded me of the what can fill me up in each day. Not even tasting any of the delectable treats, I still was filled with awe at their beauty and promise. Taking in the scents and sounds of a bustling coffee shop on an early work walk down mainstreet made me feel fully alive. It doesn’t take much to make me feel grateful for each day. Some days are more pronounced. Intentional Living is stopping, taking pause and appreciating the care that is taken in creating something delicious and beautiful. Enjoying a pastry can be taking a bite or it can simply be enjoying the way they look. They both bring joy. #intentionalliving is in the simple things.

Sometimes we feel helpless. Reading about the recent Hurricane Harvey devastation in Houston brought me to tears. I was relieved to know that my friend who lives there did not sustain any personal damage. Some close to her were not so lucky. My friends and family generously donated a number of things to help those in the Houston community who were not fortunate in this disaster. Dropping off the personal items and diapers at the University of Arizona Athletic Department drive made me feel so good. Our community is amazingly generous. The truck was overflowing and awaiting its back-up for the abundance of donations. Our small gestures added up to such a big gesture. Intentional Living is stepping up, even in small ways to lend a hand. It made me feel less helpless. It made me feel less hopeless. It filled me with gratitude. #intentionalliving is lending a hand.

It’s hot here. Exercising in the early morning offers a cooler option for any outdoor exercise and is my preference for setting an energized tone for the day. It’s not always possible. Yesterday, I found myself with about 15 minutes free at the end of the day. I thought about my options and decided to jump in the pool for my own version of water aerobics. My daughter decided to join me, which made it a quick and enjoyable social/fitness time. I felt invigorated. I didn’t feel guilty about not exercising. It was fun. Often, I hear from clients that their schedules are too full to fit in regular exercise. My typical rebound is to offer up that “15 minutes of exercise is better than none.” I am seeing those same people embracing the concept. They seem happier and better equipped to take on a full load at work and home. #intentionalliving is invigorating. 

Take the word busy out of your vocabulary. What we think affects how we feel. If you are constantly focusing on being, busy, busy, guess how you will feel? Busy. In this day and age “being busy” is a status symbol. I am busy means I am important. There are healthier, more refreshing and less stressful ways to feel a sense that you are contributing. Intentional Living is moving through the day with ease and making choices about what you can realistically incorporate into your day. Often, when I feel busy, it indicates that I have taken on too much, have bigger expectations than possible to achieve, have allowed someone else’s agenda to dictate mine or have not done what I need to take care of myself. Although, we have stretches of time where our plates are full, if you are constantly feeling busy, take stock of what you can eliminate or delegate. For you, maybe saying that you are busy makes you feel good. If that’s not the case and doing so makes your heart race and gut churn, changing your thoughts to those that make you feel not busy and eliminating the word busy from your vocabulary may help you get things done with a sense of calm. #intentionalliving is carefully choosing your words.

It’s up to me. When life seems to not be in sync, I am the only piece that I can change. I always marvel at people, who when unhappy, point the finger at someone else. My lovely niece pointed out yesterday, when I remarked on her sunny disposition, that she and I know how to make our own happiness. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Sometimes I feel disappointed, disconnected and discontent. That’s my cue to look inward and ask myself, “What can I change?” My favorite empowerment model distinguishes between being above the line or below. Below is victim mode, fear, blame, etc. There are two questions that move us above the line to feel powerful, in charge and overall shift to a positive place. “What can I do to take responsibility?” And… “How can I be accountable?”

One of my regular go-to phrases is that people are just trying to get along in the world. So when I find myself in the dirty D’s: disappointed, disconnected and discontent, I try to remember that nobody is purposely trying to push me below the line. Intentional Living is taking charge of your perspective. #intentionalliving is choosing to be above the line.

Arriving in New Hampshire was like taking a slow breath out after a long inhale. Calming. Everywhere I looked I saw exquisite beauty, while wrapped in the comforting connection of my reunited extended family. It’s hard not to be present in this setting. After sharing a home-cooked meal, the young adult cousins decided to sit in the hot tub. They asked me if I would like to join them. I hesitated wondering if I wanted to bear my bathing-suited body and maybe get in the way of their fun. They insisted and I jumped in the hot tub with them and then into the lake. I’m close with all my nieces and nephews, so of course we all had an enjoyable time. Intentional living is taking advantage of the little moments to appreciate beauty and it is being part of the connection. I’m so glad I didn’t pass on the opportunity.  #intentionalliving is being present. #intentionalliving is jumping in.

 

It pains me. Watching family, friends and clients drive their lives asleep at the wheel is common. Here’s what I see. They are unhappy, exhausted, not fulfilled, lacking passion, and frustrated. Most don’t know how to change how their lives are unfolding. It’s not always easy. It takes making choices. Change is unavoidable. Giving things up may have to happen. Intentional Living is how I find myself happy, fulfilled, energized, passionate and living with a sense of purpose. Intentional Living is being fully alive. It’s making choices about how I want to live and making trade-offs. It may be giving up something that looks good, to end up feeling good. One step you can take right now is to thoughtfully choose one thing that brings you energy and add it to your day. It’s that simple. #intentionalliving is energizing.

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