When I started decluttering my home five years ago I started to realize I was living in the clutter of my complacency. Getting rid of my ‘stuff’ made me start to think about why I bought it, why I stored it, and what I was trying to gain by keeping it.
I was learning that I had built up and bought these ‘layers’ of myself to give me a sense of passion and purpose. But it wasn’t life-giving. It wasn’t being used. It wasn’t being taken care of.
I didn’t want to go on living on auto-pilot. I didn’t want my early years of parenting, my tough times in marriage, my health, my friendships and my passions to just happen. I wanted to take control of my life like I was taking control of my surroundings. I wanted to live life on purpose.
Here is how to get started with life on purpose!
WHAT IS IT?
Get familiar with what intentional living is (aka LIFE ON PURPOSE) and what you can learn from it.
Learn about yourself
The enneagram is a free assessment that helps you learn your blindspots, your strengths and your stress behaviours. If you start to understand your own motives, you will have more insight into effectively planning out your goals and bucket list
See where you are on AutoPilot
Years ago I was training for a 5km marathon that I never ended up running (thanks, stomach flu!). But as I started to train, starting with zero running experience, it became painfully clear how complacent I had been with my health. Sure, deciding to pursue minimalism showed me I was negligent in how I had been handling my ‘stuff’, but as I ‘running’ (aka sobbing on the sidewalk while wearing really white runners) I was seeing areas of my life I had been on Auto Pilot. It has been embarrassing and motivating at the same time.
Decide you are ready
For a long time, I kept myself in a holding pattern of ‘waiting’. In a way, this can serve as a convenient excuse to not take any action forward. You need to decide that you are ready to make a plan for your life. No more excuses, no more mom martyr, no more thinking you have to wait for the kids to be sleeping to get a single thing done.
CHANGE YOUR SPACE
Just get started on decluttering. A drawer, a closet, a room. Anything. You will see that this simple action creates a reward. You will feel proud and productive. Eventually, you will understand that your ‘things’ are really a burden and this will help you keep the momentum of decluttering. Anytime I have spent ten minutes or a whole day decluttering something, I have never regretted it. It was always worth it.
ASK YOURSELF WHAT LIFE ON PURPOSE IS TO YOU
Trick your husband into a vision setting session
A jump-start to life on purpose is to start it WITH someone. Often, for moms, that someone is our spouse. Years ago I tricked my husband into a vision setting session. We both discussed what we wanted our family life to be like, what we wanted our kids to learn, and so on. We learned things about one another we didn’t know. I wrote everything down and used that as a guide for the year. Since then, we have spent every New Years setting our vision for the coming year.
Define ‘Simple Living’ for your family
Simple living looks different for each family because is each family is different. It is important to embrace the mom you ARE, consider the family culture you are building, and ask yourself about your own family values. This helps you filter out what to say YES to and what to say NO to.
Listen really closely to yourself
I know how easy it is to lose yourself in motherhood. We put our hobbies and our self-care on the back burner. Next thing we know we are just getting through the day and loading up on ‘self-comfort’ (social media, food, drink, mindless tv) at the end of the night. We go to sleep feeling unfulfilled and wake up and do it all again tomorrow. When did we decide to quit listening to our own hearts? When did we forget to try something new, or do something we love?
Make a list of every.single.thing you have any interest in. Make a plan to start doing something about it.
For me, I starting finding my way out of the baby fog by reading and learning about style. I started to learn it, appreciate it and joined in a monthly challenge to get dressed each day. At a time when I had a really difficult time with my second baby. It was something I could do for me and it was simple.
Let your curiosities lead you to the next thing. Embrace doing things for the simple fact you enjoy them and most importantly, let your kids see a woman who is living a life with passion rather than perfection!
Stop distracting yourself
If you reflect back on ‘self-awareness’ you learned from the Enneagram (hint, hint) then you will likely see ways that you keep distracting yourself from powering through difficult days and moving forward with meaningful action.
Many of us (me included) will turn to our phones for distraction when the right here, right now is feeling overwhelmingly monotonous. When we are staring at a screen we miss out on what is happening in front of us. Spend more time ruthlessly searching for the perfect moments that are right in front of your eyes. Decide that even when life is hard and messy that you will still SHOW UP for your life. And give yourself a lot of grace. Momming is hard, marriage is hard, we all make mistakes and we all make a mess. But there is grace and hope every single morning. So if you DO happen to veg out with Netflix, or sink into a new juicy novel at the end of the night instead of tackling the laundry mountain – give yourself a break.
A big way to grow and learn is to try new things. From little to big, they all teach us something new about how we are made.
Also, challenge your view of what ‘success’ is. You might find you have built up all your decisions around one version of success without asking if that’s the life you want!
MAKING A PLAN
Make a plan
By now I hope you are buzzing with some ideas on things you want to do this year. It is never too late to start planning out your vision! Here is the thing though, you need to put in the time planning to get results.
I have two free workbooks to help with this, there are two subscription boxes below sign up for your free copy of one! or both! But if you DO download the workbooks, really push yourself to use them and don’t let this be another thing you download off the internet and don’t put into action.
Year on purpose
This workbook can be started at any time, it will help you gain a vision for the different areas of your life you want to focus on in this coming year. It goes great with the monthly check-in sheets listed below. To read more about planning your year on purpose and how we approach it,
What does your year on purpose look like?
This free workbook is an easy way to help you identify the year you want, set some goals and habits to help guide you there. Live your life on purpose.
Life on Purpose
This eBook is a guide to incorporating Life On Purpose into your day. With a quick reference sheet at the end to keep handy.
Daily Guide to Life on Purpose
Intentional Living means living the life YOU want, on purpose.
This guide will help you define what a purposeful life looks like for you and lead you to set some mini goals and habits to get started Life on Purpose today!
The FULL IN-DEPTH Workbook
If you are ready to really dive in, check out the LIFE ON PURPOSE WORKBOOK, available from Amazon. It is a deep dive into discovering, organizing and planning the life you want to live.
FOLLOW THROUGH ON YOUR PLANS
Change your habits
As you work on setting your vision, letting go of distractions and embracing the weird and wonderful way you are made, it is time to make some changes to your habits. I find changing habits most effective at creating meaningful change. As you work on changing your habits, don’t forget to track them. It is really helpful at keeping you accountable in creating true habit change.
Put things into action
When I first started ‘life on purpose’ I found it easy to set goals and visions. But then life would go on and my days continued to have the same monotonous routine of momming, cleaning and cooking. I hadn’t figured out how to put my goals into action. Since then I’ve tried different strategies to do this and have come to have more success with it.
I’ve also found it so helpful to spend some time each month, each week and each day checking out my planner. I use the Bullet Journal. If I can schedule things I want to do, write down errands that need to happen, plan out meals and things to do with the kids – I feel way more productive and less stressed about my day.
Check in with yourself each month
You can’t just write all this stuff down and expect it to magically happen. You will need to continually check-in with yourself. A monthly check-in is great because enough time has passed to give you a good understanding of what areas you are strong in and what areas you have hurdles around. Here is the how and the why you should do a monthly check-in.
Have a weekly calendar meeting
Schedules can be a big source of fights and stress in a household. Take a few minutes each week to plan out your calendars, a weekly calendar meeting! Do this with whoever you share household responsibilities with. I propose it makes your life better, especially for moms who feel like they just need a break!
Start your morning off with a plan
A few years back I started reviewing my bullet journal in the morning to make a rough outline of my day. It was a game changer. I used to feel like I was in reaction mode all the time – trying to gain control of the day. I was frustrated and restless. Having a plan in place made me feel IN CONTROL and relaxed and engaged with the kids.
Remember that Beyonce wasn’t built in a day. You don’t have to wait for conditions to be perfect to just get started. Any day that you do something to help your future self is a good day.
AND don’t forget to sign up for Simple Saturdays (below) for a bi-weekly email of tips and encouragement for you to live your life Simple, On Purpose.
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