How to Live With Intention When Life Gets Hard

It seems many of us are facing some of the hardest things we have had to go through in life. In my own community we have walked through loss of parents, unexpected illness, struggling kids, major life transitions, financial hardship and difficult identity concerns. There is just no way to avoid the hard things that we all face. But what we can do is buffer ourselves with some new ways of thinking in the New Year. You may have hit the ground running with the New Year’s resolutions, or maybe you are still yawning and blinking a bit that 2019 has dawned. Some of us can’t wait for an excuse for new goals and resolutions, and others of us loathe the idea, preferring to keep steady on our course, not set ourselves up for unrealistic expectations or failure. Regardless of where you land, we know that all of us are wired for an intentional life that feels purposeful and meaningful, and this can be one of our greatest coping mechanism for dealing with the hard things of life.

With that in mind we have created our Navigate Intentionality worksheets to encourage you to look back with intentional reflection and ahead with meaningful purpose.

We want to encourage you to take a mindful moment for your own personal well-being. We know that with presence and purpose we are more likely to live the life we envision for ourselves and therefore experience higher levels of gratification. With the Looking Back worksheet we are encouraging you to take stock of the good things in your life that you experienced in the past year. It is important to take stock of our history, to learn and grow, and to appreciate the goodness of our lives. In the Looking Ahead worksheet we continue with similar themes to take a holistic

view of your life, take stock of your hopes and dreams, and put thoughtfulness to your intentions for the year ahead.

Find a comfortable place to settle in with a good cup of coffee or another healthy or delicious beverage. You may choose to be outside in nature or under a cozy blanket, have a candle lit beside you or some soft music playing. Let your senses and attention become focused on this moment, set your phone aside and immerse yourself in attending to your own thoughts

Take a moment first to fill out the Looking Back worksheet. Was there a word that spoke to you or became a theme? Think of the things that have brought you goodness this past year reflecting on many areas of gratitude. Was there a quote or verse you found especially meaningful or guiding? Nd finally Take note of a special memory list the ways you lived well, with intention. This is a chance to take stock, give credit, break free from the regret and second guessing we often do when looking back. You may want to tuck this into a drawer or journal or even upload to your files to review when you need to remind yourself of the goodness of your life. Our family rolled these into scrolls, tied them with twine and put them in a jar to be opened this time next year.

Next, take some time to fill out the Looking Ahead worksheet. If there is a word that is speaking to you for the year, note that on top. Then make an intention for your spiritual (soul), biological (body), intellectual (mind) and social/emotional (heart) well-being. As wholistic clinicians we are always aware and assessing these areas of life for your overall health. Note a quote or verse that can bring you encouragement, and in that bottom left box note as many areas of gratitude in your life that you can squeeze in to keep in sight when life gets hard. Then creates some intentions or notes about things you want to learn or accomplish, how you will make the world a better place and experienced you’d like to have. Here we become clear about some things we can look forward to, which invites us into living into our days with expectation and purpose.

You can do this once to stay steady on your course for the year, or maybe you make 12 copies and fill them out at the beginning of each new month to keep up with the ways your life and intentions may change over time. Either way, we know that if we take time to write down the things that matter to us and keep them visually in front of us we are more likely to live into and accomplish what we have set our minds to. Display this on a visual board, tape it to a mirror or near wall calendar, or tuck it into a planner where you will see it regularly and remind yourself to live your best life.

The one thing we all have in common is that life can be very hard. But life can also be so good. Mindfulness is a way to buffer ourselves from the struggles and find resilience. Mindfulness is one way all of our clinicians at Navigate are able to you in overcoming obstacles and living the life you intend. Reach out today for trusted support on your journeys.