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What Does it Mean to Live Life Intentionally?

2012 March 28

It takes half your life to discover life is a do-it-yourself project. ~Napoleon Hill

Live Life IntentionallyI love Hill’s metaphor for the power we have over our own lives and how well it relates to living life with intention.

If you think about it, do-it-yourself projects are really all about choices – choosing to undertake the project in the first place, knowing it will take commitment and resources; choosing whether to follow the directions and examples of those who have gone before you, or create your own unique version; and accepting the fact there may be missing pieces or broken bits, and even a redesign or two necessary along the way to complete the project.

Living Intentionally is about taking control of your life by committing to make conscious choices rather than simply letting life ‘happen’ to you.

  • Choosing the life you really want for yourself.
  • Making the choices each day that will take you closer to achieving that life.
  • Understanding that that while there will always be obstacles and unexpected detours in life, it’s up to you to choose how you respond to them, and above all …
  • Being courageous enough to own your choices – no excuses, no regrets.

Choosing to live your life with intention could be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make; but there’s a price of admission to begin this journey to live intentionally and that is to be willing to do the work to become really clear about what’s important to you and the overall outcome you desire for your life.

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I’d be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets. I would have more actual troubles and less imaginary ones. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another… I would pick more daisies. – Nadine Stair (at age 89)

Some of the most insightful thoughts on living can be found in quotations, so to inspire you on your own do-it-yourself project, I’ve selected a few of my favorite thoughts on living life to the fullest – intentionally.

The choices we make to live life with intention …

  • Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. ~William A. Foster
  • Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. ~Mary Anne Radmacher
  • With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. ~Oprah
  • Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. ~Groucho Marx
  • Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise. ~Maya Angelou
  • The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. ~Oprah Winfrey
  • When you set an intention, when you commit, the entire universe conspires to make it happen. ~Sandy Forster
  • Choose your intentions carefully and then practice holding your consciousness to it, so it becomes the guiding light in your life. ~John Roger
  • By all means nurture your dream … but the principal thing is not to remain within the dream, but to act with intention to convert it into reality. ~Author Unknown
  • Our intention creates our reality. ~Wayne Dyer
  • The moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred… unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • For one minute every hour, stop and focus on your intention. It works miracles. ~Dave Buck
  • Intention is the core of all conscious life. It is our intentions that create karma, our intentions that help others, our intentions that lead us away from the delusions of individuality toward the immutable verities of enlightened awareness. Conscious intention colors and moves everything. ~Master Hsing Yun
  • Life does not obey our expectations. Life obeys our intentions, in ways we may not expect. ~Lloyd Strom
  • It is not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation. ~Walt Kelly
  • I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself. ~Oprah
  • The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs. ~Joan Didion
  • The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. ~Albert Ellis
  • When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. ~William James
  • I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. ~Henry David Thoreau

If you have a favorite quote that’s inspired your life I hope you’ll share it with us in the comment section below.

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16 Responses
  1. November 2, 2012

    What a great post!! I love quotes and of course living life intentionally is something I discovered late in life!! So that means I have a lot of years ahead of me to do it myself project!! So much could be different if I’d only know it was a do it yourself project!! I chuckle now! I have lots of quotes and of course after I have read all these great ones, I can’t even remember some of mine.. Some are longer others short and to the point! Thanks for sharing all these!
    Holly recently posted..Workout Alone Or In A Group?My Profile

  2. May 21, 2012

    Marty,Love this post. I so much agree with you. And thanks for the powerful quotes. Need to be reminded of this everyday.

    • May 21, 2012

      Welcome David and thanks for contributing to the conversation. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article!

  3. Sylvia Main permalink
    April 5, 2012

    Thank you so much Marquita for spreading these insights and wonderful quotes. You have lived and learned. Couldn’t agree more. So true! Thank you!

  4. April 4, 2012

    Hello Marguita

    The lack of intention in life usually leads you to stray without meaning or direction. But with it, all the forces of the universe can align to make even the most impossible, possible. Choosing to live your life with intention could be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Marquita are correct there is a price to pay but when you look at the reward the price in most instances is far less than the reward. Intentions will assist you in taking greater control of your life.


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City
    Perry Davis recently posted..What is the next big thing in network marketing?My Profile

  5. March 30, 2012

    Great thoughts on taking charge of your life & leading it to contribute in meaningful ways. Best quote I liked is “Our intention creates our reality. ~Wayne Dyer”…

  6. March 30, 2012

    Hi Marty,

    For me living intentionally is to let go and live a life of love, joy and happiness. It means also being present in each activity of the day. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.
    Edyta recently posted..Panic Away Review – An Honest Opinion of the Most Revolutionary Anti-anxiety Program AroundMy Profile

  7. March 29, 2012

    Now this is something that everyone needs. Most of us would like to live full lives and some of us are lucky enough to achieve excellence in some area but few of us actually Live Intentionally For Excellence.

  8. March 29, 2012

    I have found that on occasion it is a difficult thing to accept responsibility for my life. Not because I have bad things I need to take care of, but more often because it is difficult for me to believe that I deserve a life full of goodness.

    It has been my experience that when faced with accepting responsibility for their actions, many people automatically shy away from that thought, because the common assumption is that they have done something bad and need to make up for it. Eventually, they accept that responsibility – perhaps growsing a bit about it, but they do.

    But when asked to accept responsibility for the good they have brought into their life, this is more often than not a real problem. And that makes it hard for their intentions to bring good intentions into their lives to work all that well.

    It is an important idea that you have written about, and your post is excellent. Thank you.
    Michael recently posted..Water or RockMy Profile

    • March 29, 2012

      Thank you Michael for your inspiring observations! It is ironic that the challenge of accepting responsibility for the mistakes we make should ultimately be easier than accepting responsibility for the good we do … but you are so right, and your observation is so perceptive. I do believe in the emmense value of always looking for opportunities for self-discovery – becoming aware of a trait we want to strengthen is the first, and often most important step toward personal growth.

  9. March 29, 2012

    I always love inspiring quotes. I recently placed some on my blog too. I really like the one that talked about not remaining within your dream, but actually doing something active in order to achieve it.

    I think this is the big difference between people who want to do things all their lives, and those who actually achieve their goals. I also think this ‘action’ makes the difference between what remains dreams and what converts into achievable goals.
    Anne recently posted..How To Build Confidence To DelegateMy Profile

    • March 29, 2012

      Hey Anne, so glad you enjoyed the article – I’ll tell you a little secret, that quote was mine. Rather than put my own name next to my own ‘thoughts’ I just say “Author Unknown” … no clue why I started that, but thanks for letting me know you liked it :-)

  10. March 28, 2012

    Hey Marty, living intentionally is the name of the game. I am a firm believer of Mind over Matter which is to say what you think you create.
    Keeping our minds focused on what we intend brings us the energy flow we need to accomplish it.
    We do need our quiet time to do so, but after a while of practicing this, it becomes part of you and you can do it on a subway, standing on a long line, etc.
    It is sort of zapping out and going within.

    Mindset is an important factor. I keep working on different ways to train my brain to keep a healthy mindset. I catch myself when I’m making a judgement. I have to be mindful of weighing fact versus emotion and so on.

    Life is just a wonderful learning process for me and I loved the quotes above!
    Be Blessed,
    Donna Merrill recently posted..The Art of Active ListeningMy Profile

  11. March 28, 2012

    Yes, you have accomplished the corner stone for all of us to realize what to focus on. We all need to realize that what ever the milestone you will achieve. You must first take a time out and get to a lonely place to visualize it through. I mean take that which you want and see each step that must be achieved to get it.

    We all are the masters of our own outcomes. That means that what ever your heart desires will come to being. You must retrain you way of living. You have so much power with your thought and voice. If you want something you must speak it into being.

    Now, with all you have exposed to all of us reading your insight. We must agree without enthusiasm your really not going to go far. Also, with you formula we need to add a support group to leverage our time and energy. You can never do anything meaningful in life without others. That is why it is imperative to locate a group of people who leave their success as they have determined out of your equation of accomplishing what you want. It all comes to getting it done right the first time.

    Marty, your a blessing in my life as others will realize as they really take what you have a gift of giving, insight. Your one of our greatest visionaries and that is unique as you are. I love your spirit of doing things beyond the traditional beliefs. You can accomplish any and everything you desire with the right formula and supportive group.

    Thank you for empowering us as your followers and readers. No matter what level of understanding one is , once blessed by your presents it all comes to a fold of true action to gain every heart’s desires.

    Thank you Marty for allowing me into your lifetime journey to better everyone’s life. It is truly an honor and I do not take it lightly. Your awesome and blessed. Please, do not stop motivating all of us.
    William Amis recently posted..Balancing Persistence and PatientsMy Profile

  12. March 28, 2012

    Hi Marty:

    Living intentionally is so critical to our overall joy in life. I know for myself I don’t want to let life just pass by. I want to maximize all the moments that I can. I know I have a long way to grow in this area but I am making headway too.

    Thanks for this great post!

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Be an encourager todayMy Profile

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