My Intentional Living Manifesto


Intentional living has become a bit of a trendy phrase over the past few years. When I hear people talk about intentional living, my mind conjures up images of perfect women in loose linen dresses, living in beautiful countryside cottages and tending to their vegetable patches. I think about plant based diets and capsule wardrobes and homes free of clutter. I think of lifestyles that I know I won’t ever be able to achieve.

In so many ways, intentional living feels inaccessible to me. And yet, I know that I’m living an intentional life every single day. Because all intentional living means is living in accordance to the goals and values that mean the most us. When we separate the idea from the aesthetic that’s been created around it, we can see that intentional living simply means living our life on our own terms, rather than following the path that has been laid out for us. It means letting go of the expectations and living life on purpose.

It isn’t a lifestyle trend or a look that we can buy into. It isn’t a one size fits all approach, or a six step formula for living. Intentional living will mean something different to all of us, because we all have values and beliefs and joys that are unique to us. And living intentionally means leaning into those values and beliefs and joys wholeheartedly. It means putting the things that are most important to us front and centre in our own lives.

I want to hold on to my own definition of intentional living, rather than getting swept up in the trends and aesthetics, and so I decided to write my intentional living manifesto. And I’ve included a free worksheet and template in case you want to do the same.

My Intentional Living Manifesto

1) Schedule the fun first

Life is short and I believe that we should spend as much of it as we possibly can having fun. But the truth is, unless you put it in the diary, the fun doesn’t happen. It gets squeezed out by the admin and the emails and the endless social commitments. For that very reason, I schedule my fun first so that I can guarantee that it happens.

How I put it into action:

  • Checking my diary at the beginning of every month or week to check the balance of scheduled events

  • Scheduling things that are fun to me, and accepting that these might not be the same things that other people find fun

  • Leaving weekends open with no plans so that I can have some spontaneous fun

2) Live life in the moment

It’s so easy to get caught up in future plans or nostalgia for times gone by, but when we do that, we’re sacrificing the precious time that we have right here and now in the present. I’m committed to living as much of my life in the moment as I can, soaking in the memories as I make them, rather than worrying about something that might not happen.

How I put it into action:

  • Less screen time - I try to keep my phone in my bag when out with friends, and turn my notifications off when I’m on holiday

  • Building a daily gratitude practice to keep me rooted in the present

  • Noticing the little things, like how the air feels or what’s going on in nature around me

3) Get outside

When I was looking back on the year gone by last December, I realised that so many of my happiest memories had been spent outside. I’ve never considered myself an outdoorsy person, but there’s something about breathing in the fresh air and moving my body in nature that just makes me feel so alive. Now I commit to getting outside at every possible opportunity.

How I put it into action:

  • Making sure at least one weekend of every month is spent hiking in the countryside

  • Building outdoors time into our holidays

  • Getting outside every single day, even if it’s just for a ten minute walk

4) Do work that has an impact

I always thought I was destined for a life of climbing the corporate career ladder, and I’ve spent most of my twenties doing exactly that. But what I’ve realised in recent years is that I’m so much happier and more fulfilled when I’m doing work that has an impact. For me, a big part of living intentionally is focussing on the work that feels good and makes a difference, rather than always chasing the roles with the highest pay packet or fanciest job title.

How I put it into action:

  • Working hard to build a business that allows me to have a positive impact on the people I work with

  • Being mindful about the work I take on and the knock on impact that has for me and the people around me

  • Committing to sharing lots of useful free content through this blog and my podcast

5) Prioritising feelings not things

One failsafe technique I use to ensure I’m living with intention is to prioritise feelings instead of things. In our Instagram age it’s easy to believe that buying a new dress or a flashy car is the key to happiness, but by focussing on how I want to feel, I set myself better goals, focus my resources on the right things, and generally feel way more content with what I’ve already got.

How I put it into action:

  • Being mindful when making plans - for example, thinking about how I want to feel on holiday, rather than just picking a destination on Instagram

  • Dramatically reducing the amount of my income that I spend on things - I shop a lot less than I did a few years ago!

  • Setting meaningful goals rather than trying to keep up with everyone around me

6) Life doesn’t have to be big to be beautiful

One of my core beliefs is that life doesn’t have to be big to beautiful - there’s just as much joy to be found in the tiny, everyday moments as there is in the shiny, Insta-worthy milestones. I want to build a life that gives me enough time and space to enjoy everyday joys like reading and cooking and hanging out with my family, rather than always being driven by the next shiny achievement.

How I put it into action:

  • Savouring the small moments of each day that bring me the most joy and being grateful for them

  • Carving out time to do something little that I love every single day, even when life is hectic

  • Focussing on what I already have, rather than getting swept up in big plans and goals

7) I’m the only person responsible for me

As a chronic people pleaser, I often struggle to put the right boundaries in place. For a long time I felt like living intentionally was out of my control because my diary was always so full with commitments to others, but when I remember that I’m the only person responsible for me, I’m reminded that not only can I say no and protect my own time and energy, I’m also the only person who can do that for me.

How I put it into action:

  • Working out what I want to say “hell YES!” to, and practicing saying no to everything else

  • Taking responsibility for my own diary and protecting the time that I need for me and my own goals

  • Leaving whole weekends free to allow me to rest and recuperate

Want to write your own intentional living manifesto? Download your free worksheet here.

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