Core values and living with Intention part 2

Welcome to Part two of my values and living with intention blog series! If you missed part one, no worries, you can go and read that first HERE.

So, in part one we learned what CORE VALUES are.  We also explored how to go about finding out what our personal values are using various techniques.

Today we are going to look at INTENTIONS and INTENTIONAL LIVING.


So, to start off, what do I mean by intentions and intentional living?

The dictionary definition of the word intention is as follows;

a thing intended; an aim or plan, for example: she was full of good intentions”

The Minimalists describe Intentions and living intentionally as;

“{It} means paying attention: It means doing things on purpose—not passively, not reflexively, not because we have to. Doing something with the intention of getting as much out of it as possible, whatever that happens to mean in context.”

Living intentionally to me is just that: doing things ON PURPOSE.

So much of our modern day lives are spent going through the motions.

We do things just because. Or make bad habits and bad choices over and over again without even really knowing why or how we are doing it.


Here’s an example of NOT living intentionally;

Filling time mindlessly scrolling through social media for hours.

This is something that I struggle with.

I deleted my Facebook account few years ago because I would sit down for 5 minutes to check out “what’s going on in the world” and an hour later I realised I had not found out a single fact about the people I really cared about and had spent a whole hour of my life looking at memes about cats and feeling jealous scrolling through distant acquaintances holiday photographs.

As recently as this week I have deleted the Instagram app from my phone. I had deleted it a few months ago as I found that I was checking it every spare minute and that I couldn’t do anything of note without taking an arty photo of it to show off to other people. A week or so ago I added it to my phone again as I thought I could handle it, but alas I cannot! I went straight back into old habits, so again I have deleted it from my phone.


Now if I have a spare few minutes I try to pick up my book, listen to a podcast or do a task for my family that I never had the time to do before. Sure I still pick up my phone and scroll through Pinterest more than I’d like, but good habits take time to develop, and being aware of bad habits and taking small steps to change them is how we start to live with intention.

Another way we DON’T live intentionally is by falling into the trap of “the cult of busy.”


This is where we fill our lives to bursting with meaningless “busy work.” We feel like to be productive we have to be doing something all the time. We end up filling so much of our time with these mundane tasks that don’t really serve a purpose other than keeping up with the Jones’s or making us feel productive, and then use this “busyness” as an excuse not to live in accordance with our values.

“I can’t write the novel I’ve always wanted to write, I’m too busy!”

“I can’t go to that exercise class I’m too busy!”

“I can’t sit and read my child a story, I’m too busy!”

“I can’t go to the doctors right now, I’m too busy!”

We probably spend a lot of time worrying about not having time to do all the things that we “need” to do, and therefore end up not having time to do the important things!


So, how can we live Intentionally? The first thing is to find out what out values are, which we did last time, Hooray!

The next task is to start to live a life according to those values- that is living intentionally. It is a simple way of living, but it is also not easy.

It means asking yourself questions constantly. It is about focusing on the things that are important to you and necessary and letting go of the rest. It is about setting intentions and developing positive habits in your everyday life that lead to living a life in accordance with your values.

Living intentionally is lining up your everyday tasks, the small things you are doing everyday, with your long term values. It means saying No to people and tasks and distractions that do not align with your values.

So, for example, lets say one of your core values is FAMILY.

Are the actions you are taking in your everyday life lining up with that value? Who are the people you are spending the most time with? How do you spend your weekends? Are you there for the people that matter most in your life?

Look at your schedule- there you will see what your current priorities are.


If your long term value is FAMILY but you spend 60+ hours a week working away, take on extra overtime for more cash to upgrade your car (again) and when you are at home you ignore your wife and kids and spend the majority of time cleaning the new car and playing golf then maybe you have some thinking to do.

This is when you either need to realise that actually, maybe FAMILY is not one of your core values, maybe you value WORK ETHIC or MATERIAL WEALTH instead? And that’s OK.

OR if you still believe that one of your core values is family then its time to start changing your learnt behaviours, ask your self some serious questions and start living with intention. If money and time allowed you could look at getting a job with more work life balance. You could choose to spend an hour every night playing with your kids instead of playing on your phone. You could start saying no to the overtime and yes to spending a romantic evening with your wife.

You see, living with intention is not easy. It’s about turning down instant short term pleasure for long term gain and a life well lived. It’s not easy to turn down the cream cake in the office and choose to eat an apple instead. It’s not easy to turn down an invite to an event that all your co-workers are going to because you’ve promised to watch your son in the school play.

But in the long term if your intentions and everyday actions line up with your long term values then you will have a more fulfilled life.


Living with intention is about doing the smallest of things with purpose. Just imagine you had a 500 page novel on the bedside cabinet that you really wanted to read. You could choose to spend 15 minutes every night before bed re-organising the sock draw or half an hour watching another episode on your current Netflix binge and that book would still be there unread a year later making you feel guilty.

Or you could choose to read the book just for 15 minutes a night before bed by setting a reminder on your phone, or leave it on your pillow so you have to pick it up and be reminded of your intention. It may seem like a small thing- 15 minutes a night. But before you know it, that book would be read.

Or that novel would be written.

Or that picture would be painted.

Or that phone call to someone special would be made.

You get the point!

So that’s what living with intention is all about. Choosing how you use your time, who you spend it with and understanding how each small moment adds up to make a life. Choose to live on purpose and make yours a life well lived.


I’ll leave you with this lyric from Dawes “Quitter”- listen to it if you get the chance!

Quit wasting my time because pretty soon you’ll find
It’s the only thing of value that we own
You’re gonna have to quit everything, until you find one thing you won’t


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