Intentional Living

the definitive guide

expand table of contents

living life on purpose

The sole purpose of this page is to teach you how to live intentionally. I'll introduce you to the concepts, tools, and resources that will help you get going, and guide you through a transformation from overwhelmed and compacent to intentional.

My goal is to give you the confidence you'll need to join the thousands of others who are finding focus and overcoming ethical overwhelm. Not only is it possible to live a lifestyle aligned with your own, unique values, but it's easier than most people think.

So if you're ready, let's dive in, make space, and get ready to put your own (much needed) kind of good into this world.

intentional living title image

who this guide is for

People who want to do good in the world by their lifestyle; who want to get out of survival mode or auto-pilot, and start living life on purpose.

Who intentional living is for

why it's important

While good intentions are the first step, they require action to have an impact. Everyone has gifts that are uniquely theirs, and now, more than ever, the world desperately needs each of our unique types of good.


Why intentional living is important

section 1:

What does it mean to be intentional?

making intentional choices

making intentional choices

by knowing what you stand for

An intentional life consists of making intentional choices based on your values and beliefs. When you know your values, you have direction. Things like gratitude, humility, and truth will speak to most people, but knowing your own, specific values will give you guideposts to light your way when you feel lost.

You may not know the next 50 steps, but you'll know the next few, and that is what matters. Progress isn't made 50 steps at a time, it's made by first lifting that foot and placing it intentionally in the direction of your goals.

Mindfulness practices like meditation help to focus our energy on understanding ourselves and always improving our self-awareness.

Humans are complex beings, and we make so many decisions every day that it's easy to see what an impact we could have on the world in general, if we put those decisions to good use.

never stop growing

never stop growing

you can't control everything, but you can learn how to best adapt

Some things in life we simply cannot change. Being intentional doesn't mean "to be in control." It means making the choices and decisions that shape our lives on purpose.

By reflecting on our past, boundaries that should've been set, frustrations we've had, immense joy we've experienced, etc. we can shed light on the parts of our lives that are best left unmodified, and the parts that we can steer in the direction we choose.

Life throws us curve balls (hello 2020), and being adaptable and able to roll with the punches is a valuable skill. That being said, there are ways we can learn, grow, and strengthen our minds, bodies, and souls to adapt purposefully rather than reactively.

From psychology to yoga to mindful eating, there are endless ways to get to know ourselves and the constraints and possibilities of our unique lives. It's impossible to know it all, but we can strive to understand ourselves, our motives, our curiosities, and our passions to improve our self-awareness, which benefits not only ourselves but everyone around us.

have goals, both big and small

to have goals, both big and small

and discipline to go after them

While your values may be the guideposts to get you there, you also need to know where there is. Set goals, both big and small, and celebrate every step of the way. By celebrating the small victories and even the failures, you're acknowledging the work it took to get you there, and all that you've learned from the experience. While your path may wind, turn, and reverse, if you've learned something, it's still progress.

So now you know what you have to do on both a micro and macro level, you have your values to light the way, and now you just need some time and space to get on your way. Prioritization is key to making space both mentally as well as on your schedule and in your home. Joy is often overlooked when prioritizing tasks, but research shows that the only effective way to motivate ourselves to do something in the long term is to actually want to do it.

Big changes take time, so patience and grace are just as essential as hard work and discipline. Create habits and chip away at the items that require practice and daily work. We need to have priorities in place to remind us what to work on first, and habits to maintain progress.

apply it


What do you stand for? Intentional living workbook and guide

what do you stand for?

an intentional living workbook

to live intentionally, you must first know your intentions

workbook 25 pages 45 minutes

Want the workbook? Tell me where to send it.

section 2:

Why is it important to be intentional?

learn how to be present through mindfulness

because without intention life will pass you by

learn how to be present through mindfulness

When we're stuck in the hamster wheel of life, days, weeks, months even will pass by in a blur if we aren't practicing being present. Being present is the best way to pull yourself out of survival mode or auto-pilot. While we all have varying levels of comfort and skill when it comes to "going with the flow", it's safe to say that too much of it, in any case, isn't a good thing. The whole point of intentional living is to steer your life where you want to go on purpose.

Mindfulness is an immensely useful skill to have when it comes to being present. It can help you improve your self-awareness, control how you respond to others, and most of all stay in the present moment without your mind wandering off into daydream land.

There's a caveat though; in order to be truely present, a lot of the time it requires us to be uncomfortable, especially at first. Sometimes being still with uncomfortable feelings will be the toughest part of your day, but with practice, you'll start to catch yourself smelling the flowers, asking questions you're actually interested in, and really really seeing the people you love. When you're present, it makes it possible to connect deeply with the environment and people around you, which is really what makes life worth living.

we can't be everything to everyone

because we can't be everything to everyone

but we can be there for ourselves

These days there are so many hats to wear that it's hard to know which one we should be wearing, much less have any success with it. Trying to live a more ethical lifestyle is a wonderful goal, but if you often feel overwhelmed, guilty, or confused by conflicting information, no time, and even less energy, it might be time for a reality check. It's impossible to do it all. I'm constantly balancing motherhood, entrepreneurship, friendship, and all of my other roles because they all deserve my attention, but I just don't have enough to give everyone everything.

By focusing on my own mental and physical health before giving myself to others, I've been able to be present for the people I care about, make a positive impact on the world, and most of all be able to self-soothe, comfort, and just generally be there for myself without relying on external sources or numbing agents like alcohol or overworking. By digging deep deep deep down, to work on the things that are holding you back from fully being there for those you love, including yourself, you can truly see them as they are; no projections and no filters.

If you spread yourself too thin, you're no good to anyone, especially yourself. It's just how the flight attendants tell us to put on our own mark before helping a child. It can feel selfish, but it's not. Prioritizing your own mental and physical health is plain and simple logic. If you aren't in a state of mind to be there for the ones you love, you may end up doing more damage than good; so read that book, take that walk, have a chat with a counselor, hit that punching bag, do whatever you need to do to feel happy, safe, and loved by the one and only amazing you.

we are all unique

because we are all unique

and so is the good that we do

In reality, none of us are dealing with an abundance of time. Yes, there are amazing and wonderful things we all wish we could do, but when it comes down to it, we just don't have the time, energy, or resources to do it all. And how do you know which "good" to do? Is volunteering better than donating? And what are the options if you don't have money or time to spare?

This is usualy where people give up and say, "maybe next month." If you have a deep down desire to do good, listen to it. Nurture that voice and give it room to grow, because it could be a calling to change the world. Sure, we won't all be Ghandis and Mother Thereseas, but the best and easiest way to do good, is to do your own good.

FInd what you love to do, what really makes your heart sing, and do good there. Are you a musician? Teach kids who can't afford lessons. No time? Donate to a non-profit teaching kids the value of music. No money or time? Trade in one of your weeknight sessions for a local nursing home and provide them with music during dinner. There are so many ways to help, and yeah, you have to get creative if you don't have money or time, but that's where the intentionality part comes in.

Think back to those values we talked about earlier on this page; what do you stand for? What impact do you want to have on the world? Take whatever money, time, talents, etc. you have and run them through your values filter. Does your spending align with your values or your impulses? Does your schedule reflect what you truly care about or what people think you should care about? Take those good intentions of yours and act on them because the world desperately needs good right now; your good.

apply it


What motivates you? Intentional living worksheet and guide

what motivates you?

an intentional living worksheet

discover the driving force behind what you love to do

workbook 2 pages 15 minutes

Want the worksheet? Tell me where to send it.

section 3:

What does an intentional lifestyle look like?

focus on what truly matters

simple

focus on what truly matters

Some people know exactly what they were put on this Earth to do, and others have no clue. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, which leaves an wide array of things we are passionate about. It doesn't matter how many passions you have, what matters is what you do with them.

An intentional lifestyle is a lifestyle lived on purpose; from your choice of couch to your brand of crackers to the ingredients in your conditioner. While that sounds intimidating, it doesn't happen overnight. It takes practice, patience, and plenty of grace. Start with something small, like getting rid of plastic shampoo bottles, and then move onto something else...like conditioner.

When you stay focused on what truly matters, you'll start to notice the peripherals falling away. If you love animals, you may swap out play dates with someone who drives you crazy because you'd rather volunteer at a local shelter with your kid. If you are passionate about helping out oceans, you might sacrifice two Starbucks runs to donate $10 each month to the Ocean Cleanup. You get the picture. Take what you're passionate about and find a way to make a positive impact on the world through that.

You don't have to do all the good, your own good is good enough.

make more with less

imperfectly minimal

make more with less

Now before you go Marie Kondo-ing everything, let's talk minimalism mindsets. If you have perfectionistic tendencies, minimalism can be a slippery slope because while minimalism is beneficial if taken in small, approachable doses, it can get overwhelming and out of control very quickly. It feels great when you start clearing things out whether it be in your home, your digital footprint, or even your social circle, but it can trigger unexpected emotions such as feeling never good enough, a loss of self if you strongly identify through materialistic means, the list goes on and on. That is why I strive for imperfect minimalism. It know that making more with less is an amazing thing to do for both my mental and physical health, but calling it "imperfect" reminds me to be very mindful of when it starts to have a negative impact on either of those and put the brakes on.

This isn't reality TV, so if you love books, keep your books. If you love your 500 boxes of old photos, by all means, keep them. What I am promoting is making more from less. Instead of using plastic produce bags at the grocery store, get reuseable ones. Instead of driving to meetings and running errands several times a week, schedule everything into a day or two. The same concept can apply to digital spaces as well. Taking the time to unsubscribe from the emails you no longer care about, and deleting apps that you never use will help clear up space for new experiences and to focus on the things that add the most value to your life.

Bottom line is that you should have nothing in your life that doesn't either add value or usefulness to your life or bring you joy because honestly then, what's the point? This frees up mental, physical, and schedule space for your to focus on what truly matter to you.

sustainable

sustainable

think long term

Now there's no sense in doing any of the things previously mentioned if it isn't something you'll be able to do in the long run. An intentional life is one that is lived with purpose, but also one peace. If trying to minimize, learn your values, set goals, etc. is stressing you out, than back off the gas and take a breather. When making significant changes to thought patterns or lifestyle habits, it's easy to get excited and go overboard, eventually getting burnt out. It's important to take it step by step and go at your own pace.

There's no magic formula, and there's no picture perfect result we're all striving for; intentional living looks different for everyone. So take a look at your current situation; how much can you handle comfortably? We can do amazing things in short bursts, but to live intentionally in the long run, your efforts need to be sustainable for long periods of time, or else you'll yoyo. Focus on what's most important to you, and start there. Bite off small chunks at a time, with an end goal of personal growth, not perfection.

I speak from experience when I say don't go overboard. If you burn out, you'll be less likely to keep going, and perseverance is key in changing lifestyle habits. It's like watching a plant grow - you may not see immediate or even noticeable changes initially, but keep going. One day, you'll realize you're ready climb out of that cacoon and spread those wings. Have faith, have patience, and give yourself plenty of grace. Enjoy the process and soak it in because you're transforming, and there is so much joy and learning to be found in the journey.

apply it


What motivates you? Intentional living worksheet and guide

what are your passions?

Discover the driving force behind what you love to do

discover the driving force behind what you love to do

worksheet 2 pages 10 minutes

Want the worksheet? Tell me where to send it.


additional resources


about the author

Becky VandenBout

Becky is the founder of Joon + Co., wife to a very sexy nerd, and mother to two adorable little girls and a pup. She is a former electrical engineer, web developer, fashion blogger, and the original Joon + Co., e-commerce ethical fashion capsule wardrobes. With over 15 years in various tech industries such as manufacturing, health care, restaurants, consulting, e-commerce, and so many more, she's taken what she's learned, incorporated it into mindfuless, self-awareness, and intentional living principles, and applied it to helping her (and you) live a more intentional life.