198. How to live each day with intention, as a mom (life on purpose and intentional living while in motherhood)

What does it mean to live on purpose? This is a question I get from listeners who want to live intentionally but aren’t sure how to apply it to daily life (as a mom, because mom life has a lot of urgency and autopilot wrapped into it).  I want to unpack how I approach intentional living on a daily basis as well as the bigger picture. 


This is a listener question: how do we live each day with intention and purpose? 

We will cover what holds you back from intentional living and how to get started with simple steps.

Main topics covered in this episode (and related links):

  • Looking out for all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to approaching life on purpose


As mentioned in this episode:

The enneagram was referenced, here is a series on the Enneagram + Motherhood 

Hygge was mentioned, here is a post called Hygge vs Minimalism

The Spotify Playlists for all Simple on Purpose episodes right here. 

The Let’s Get More Time Virtual Summit, registration opens in February 

The Facebook group, a place for you to share thoughts and questions and support 


Full Transcript

Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and counselor from simple on purpose.ca. Welcome back to 2024 with the simple on purpose podcast.

So it’s been a while I think my last episode was about a month ago. And I was in that winter break mode with the kids home and I took time off work. And it was really cozy and Heuga relaxing. We had lots of slow mornings, we had lots of stick and Puck that the kids were going to during the day and movies on the couch.

So coming back to the routine, the routine of school lunches, and after school drop offs and pickups and I tell you that like second shift for me that three to 8pm, maybe three to nine, by the time everyone’s in bed, it’s a lot of driving places and picking up and trying to make dinner, and sit with that restless feeling that I feel while all of this is going on. It’s quite a contrast for me.

I think my type nine comes out a lot in these kinds of moments. If you’ve heard me talk about the Enneagram, that self discovery tool that type nine is the peacemaker, but they’re also a little bit of a sloth, they really like to be slow, and conserve their energy. And so coming back into things, it really forces me to generate momentum and to generate motivation. And that can be really tough. It’s not something I think I’m naturally skilled at.

But here’s something that motivates me and gives me momentum is your feedback. You as the listeners, sending me messages on Instagram sharing in the Facebook group that really is like a motivator and fuel for me to keep going with the podcast. Because otherwise, what am I here for it to just talk into my computer and hope it gets out there and hope you guys like it. So thank you, thank you for sharing your feedback with me and bringing your thoughts and questions to the Facebook group so that we can keep talking about things and talk about them at a community level. That’s very, very important to me, that we have a community that we can bring these kinds of issues to and support one and other. And so if you’re in the Facebook group, I encourage you to keep engaged in there and keep going back to it and being connected with us.

Alright, so speaking of the Facebook group, I asked in the group, what topics you would like to hear on the podcast for 2024. And so today I’m going to share one of those suggestions. And the topic is how do I be more intentional in the day?

And I think I get this question in a lot of different ways. It’s a question that I work on a lot with clients, just like how am I feeling in my day? Do I feel like I’m swept up and distracted? Do I feel overwhelmed or bored. And my just feeling time, am I just going through the motions. And I know I’ve operated this way. So I know how it feels when you are operating in this mode, you tend to feel kind of unmotivated with your life and restless a little bit, you don’t have a lot of things that you clearly feel excited about or that light you up, things just feel like maintenance, like just getting through it. And when you’re in this mode, you start to get this sense, like maybe I’m doing it all wrong.

I have felt all of these things I could see, years back before I started this, just this Wake Up Call of how much complacency I had in my life. And I could see clearly I was going through the motions of motherhood of marriage of being a stay at home mom taking care of my body of all my relationships just on autopilot.

And there is this sense that if you can kind of be in this space, and reach out and say I’m still craving something more, I’m still craving that sense of purpose and passion. I still want to be present in my life. This might lead you to ask these questions. How do I get there? How do I live more intentionally? How do I feel like I’m living on purpose. So I want to give you some tips that have worked for me and things I discussed with my clients.

Now remember, I’m a counselor, I’m a coach, but this podcast is not a replacement for therapy. And also remember, I’m not here to give you a cookie cutter way of living your life, or a checklist on what is the right way to live your life. Not everything I say is going to work for you. This is all for ideas.

And that’s something that has really helped me hearing ideas because an idea is just a tool you can put in your toolbox. And it’s something you can go to if you want it’s totally up to you, you’re in charge.

Alright, so I think the very first step in intentional living is deciding kind of deciding it is time. And I want to do an episode on this on the future of the things that make us ready for change. But long story short. You need to decide it is time for change in order to actually make change. I mean, there’s some other factors here you need to work on. But Deciding it’s time is a really big step that you need to make.

And you’ve heard my story on this podcast like standing alone in my basement of clutter my basement of shame, and just crying with that realization of how complacent I was in my life. And there was some grief here, there was some shame.

But there was also this flipside of something could be different. I could empower myself, that sense that I’ve had enough of the autopilot. And the phrase that came to me at that time was, I want to be in the driver’s seat of my life. I, I was ready, I wanted that.

The next thing is to start letting go of the things that are distracting you. And I really like to use the Eisenhower matrix for this concept, because it puts things into four boxes. There are things that are urgent and important. There are things that are not urgent and important. And then vice versa. There’s things that are not important, but urgent. And then there’s things that are neither in or urgent or important. I’m sorry, if it’s confusing to say it out. I’ll try to link that in the show notes so you can get the visual. But it’s a really helpful concept because a lot of what distracts us are things that feel urgent, but they’re not important. Or the time sucks the time killers, they’re not urgent or important.

So knowing how we’re spending our time and our energy, are we spending it on what a lot of other people want of us? Are we spending it on things that are just filler, so get to know what those distractions are, I think decluttering your home is a really good metaphor for intentional living, because a big first step of that process is to get rid of the things that are not useful to you. Not useful or beautiful to you in some way. I’m going to talk about at the end of this episode, a virtual Summit coming up all about time called let’s get more time.

As I go into these next steps, what’s important here is to take off all or nothing thinking, don’t overcomplicate it, you don’t need it. For intentional living, you don’t need to quote unquote, find your calling. You don’t need to join a gym and completely overhaul your whole life. In fact, I have done it the opposite way My whole life has been transformed by small shifts consistently over time. Of course, that led to some bigger shifts as I was doing the work. But small shifts consistently over time, make change. So the next step I want you to think about without overcomplicating it, taking off that all or nothing thinking is to get to know what you want.

And when I say that, it might feel exciting, or it might feel daunting, and just kind of listen to your reaction here, explore that a little bit. Rather than trying to ignore it or overpower it. Just be gentle with yourself here. If that feels like too big and too much or too far away, we’ll let that exist.

The overall idea here is we’re removing the excess and distractions in our life. And we’re making space for what’s important to beautiful, but we’re making space for what’s important and beautiful to you to you.

This is what intentional living comes down to if something has intention, it has an aim. It has a plan. So what is the aim? As I like to call it what is the vision? intentional living means becoming more future focused, and not the future of default and worst case scenario of anxiety, or not this like vague unknown, like, I don’t know what my future is gonna hold. Because we know what our future holds. It’s more of the same, we perpetuate our present into our future. I’ve done an episode on that I’ll make sure to link it in the show notes.

But the future that we want to intentionally build into, the changes we can make now that will change our future. This is the reason why I feel like intentional living has become part of my nature. Because I’ve spent so many years considering what I want out of the situation what I want in the long run, where I want to end up. I’ve spent years refining what I want to use my home for being flexible with that allowing it to shift and adapt with my family, but still holding on to that longer term vision. I’ve spent a long time and a lot of work, getting to know what kind of wife I want to be. something I think we’re constantly working on when we’re in relationship with another person. I’ve spent a lot of in insight into myself and into how I want to live considering what I want healthy living to look like to me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying Trying to understand what matters to me and how I mother, my children in that long game of being their mother. I

‘ve done this for about seven years now, I think we started in 2016. And it’s something that I come back to most every January and not exactly New Year’s, but New Year’s ish, I still haven’t gone through the life on purpose workbook this year. And that’s a tool that I’ve used over the years is that life on purpose workbook, we’re in coming back to these different areas of my life, and keep refining and keep deepening and letting go of what didn’t work, and keep working on the things that are important, the things that matter to me. So what intentional living needs is an intention, it needs a vision, I’ve got worksheets on the website that I’ve linked many times in the past, I’ll link them again, there’s also the life on purpose workbook. And both of those are going to go through the nine areas of your life and help you set a vision. But if that feels like too much, just start with one area of your life. And if that feels like too much to start with one day.

I think it’s helpful and most useful to have that bigger vision and consider the small little ways you can move towards that. But if you’re not there yet. If you feel like you just can’t take a beat to sit and set out a little bit of a vision, then just consider the vision for the week, or for the day or the situation. What do I want to get out of this day? What do I want to get out of the situation? And I think even a better question that I have found helpful is what’s important here. What’s important to me today,

I can remember being at home with the kids, when they were all at home, because they’re all like three and a half years apart. And so there were many years where it was just me and these three kids. And I would lay in bed in the morning and like mentally run through what I had to do that day, like what was scheduled. And think about what’s important, like, what’s important to me what don’t want to make sure I do who I want to be today.

A couple of tools that have helped me, this is one I really like to use around that New Year’s time, just for a quick assessment and a quick direct redirection is called the more of less of what do I want more of this year? What do I want less of this year can be just simple, like even three simple things. I think a 2024 version I’ve seen floating around on Instagram is the what’s in and what’s out what’s in this year, what’s out this year. And I think those are fun, too.

Another strategy, like I mentioned, when I was home with all my kids was I would write lists of ideas. Because whenever I’ve been overwhelmed or in doubt, I would just make a list write that down. That is the most underrated life hack, write a list, write a list. And I would have a lot of lists of the things that I wanted to do with my kids.

And here’s how nerdy I was getting. I had a Trello board, if you haven’t seen Trello it is a really cool way to organize information. And you make kind of these rows with lists in them. And then you can like move things between lists. Anyways, it’s worth checking out. I did Trello board on intentional parenting, and I had my like, vision or value at the top and then a list of ways that I thought I could embody that value or do that thing. And I sent it to one of my besties because we were talking a lot about intentional living. I wonder if she remembers if she’s listening. She was probably like, oh my gosh, slow your roll, girlfriend.

But yeah, making lists List of things you want to do. Even for some of us a list of small tasks that we feel like we could fit into pockets of our day, if we feel like we need support with that. A list of things that would be fun, a list of things you could just try because you think they would be fun, you’re allowed to have more fun.

Okay, so the other thing intentional living also comes down to I live, there’s two things, knowing what you want. And then the other thing is, knowing who you are, who you want to be. In my opinion and experience. We want to be the version of us that is living in line with our values, the version of us of us that we are proud of, and not the values, not the version of us that everyone else tells us we need to be.

For many of us, we have this gap between who we think we should be our ideal self and our real self. And this gap is uncomfortable. It’s called cognitive dissonance. And it’s just an indicator that something something isn’t lining up for us.

You know, what helps us line up is our values is knowing what’s important to us what makes us feel like we have integrity. And you can feel it when you’re on vacation with your family that you worked so hard to earn and plan and prepare for but you are just this walking storm of anxiety. You know, this is what you want, but not who you want to be. This is not how you want it and I am sorry Speaking from experience, it matters less what you do, and it matters more who you are when you’re doing it. Will, I declutter my whole house, and suddenly it’s peaceful? Maybe I have an episode on that something to think about.

You could be very purposeful and productive with your time. But if you aren’t purposeful and intentional with your energy, and your attitude and your thoughts and your emotions, and I’m not belittling the fact that a lot of our thoughts and emotions are just automatic. But if you don’t feel like you can come back into line with your values, and who you want to be, you probably will never feel that peace and purposefulness, and presence with your life, you probably won’t feel like you are living intentionally.

This is something that I work on almost weekly with clients. So if you want to work together on this, I hope you reach out book a free consult call or session, there’s no package you have to buy, you just come as you need support. That’s what I’m about. My door is always open and I am here for whatever you want to work on.

Finally, I mentioned the let’s get more time virtual Summit. This is a really cool project that a podcasting friend invited me to be a part of. So it’s a virtual Summit. And the structure is really clever, because it’s a three day Summit. But over three days, there’s quick 15 to 20 minute presentations, they’re pre recorded.

So it’s not like that weird thing of being on video that you have to worry about. You can just show up and listen to these over three days. And the topics are very broad. We’ve got mindsets, we’ve got tools, there’s sessions on Trello. There’s sessions on the Google Calendar. But there’s also sessions on things like boundaries and working around your cycle, which I think is really important, and habits.

My own presentation will be on the I don’t have time mindset. So I’m going to link that in the show notes.

As always, if you can’t find the show notes, go to simple on purpose.ca. Click Listen, all of the episodes are there.

There’s also a link to the Spotify playlists. So if you go to simple on purpose dot c, click listen and find the Spotify playlist you’re going to see all of the episodes because we’re almost at 200 Guys, there’s a ton of episodes and you will find these episodes grouped into main topics like motherhood on purpose, emotional intelligence, habit change, simplifying, so I encourage you if you want to dig deeper in any of these topics to go check out those playlists.

Alright friends, I’m so glad to be back with you. And a reminder I love to hear from you. So make sure to stop in the Facebook group and say hi or message me on Instagram at simple on purpose.ca. Have a great week.


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