What it Means to Live with Intention


Living with intention is what I like to think of as the practical application of critical thinking in our everyday lives. 

Critical thinking is what we use to process the world that surrounds us and the information we encounter in the world. We use critical thinking everyday. We use it for problem solving and in research, whether we’re learning about something scientific or simply choosing between two recipes for dinner.

Living with intention is when we add critical thinking to the decisions we make about how we want to live our lives. Living with intention is all about living on purpose instead of accidentally. My very wise Aunt has a saying that many people “sleep walk” through life. Similarly, there is the adage, “everyone dies, but not everybody lives.” By adding intention to your life, you will add meaning to your experience of this world. 

Although we may think and believe specific things whole heartedly, our actions do not always reflect those convictions. Analyzing our day to day lives using critical thinking holds us accountable to our personal beliefs and priorities. That is where living with intention comes into play. 

Sometimes we "Sleep Walk" through life. 

Sometimes we "Sleep Walk" through life. 


A Reflection Activity to Accompany this Essay

Not sure how to start living with intention? Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself. 

  1. Determine your priorities 
  2. See if your behaviour lines up with your priorities
  3. Make appropriate changes if your behaviour does not line up with your priorities

Need help determining your priorities? Start by asking yourself what’s most important to you. What activities bring you joy? Joy reveals to us our passion.

Living without intention is like traveling without direction.  

Living without intention is like traveling without direction.


Once you know what your priorities are, see if your behaviour lines up with those priorities. An easy way to track your behaviour is to do a “time audit.” For one day, write down everything you do and how long it takes. You don’t need to have scientific accuracy - just make some quick jot notes on your phone or keep a scrap piece of paper in your pocket.

If your behaviour does not line up with your values, make some changes. A good rule to follow for living with intention is to do something everyday for each one of your priorities. If your priorities are your family and your health, you would want to make sure you do at least one activity for both.