Have you ever had one of those weeks where it seems like every time you read a blog, turn on the radio, or have a conversation the same theme comes up? I had one recently and the topic was simple but profound: Be intentional.
Living with intent is hard. When did you last stop and think about the hundreds of choices you make on a daily basis? There are many things that we do automatically. Certain choices are made out of habit and routine, such as which route to take to work in the morning, and some are subconsciously made by our moods and emotions, such as which snack to eat that evening. Most of the time we do not make these decisions intentionally.
But I am continually reminded about how precious life is and how little much of the stuff that zaps my time and energy actually matters. I do not want to waste my most valuable resources on things that don’t matter and so I am endeavoring to live with more intention.
In hopes to remind myself that every choice matters, I printed out the words “Be Intentional” and hung them on my refrigerator door. My motive was to inspire me to make better choices. I wish it was as easy as printing out the words and hanging them where I’ll see them every day but, unfortunately, it is not. I often don’t even notice my little sign. It has been swallowed up and rendered to nothing more than background noise.
Thankfully, there is a whole community of people desiring to live intentionally and so I’m inspired to persevere. There is much I still need to learn in life but this I already know:
- I will not wake up one day to discover my children are obedient and well-mannered
- I will not wake up one day and suddenly realize I never have to earn an income again
- I will not wake up one day to find my life and home are uncluttered
- I will not wake up one day and magically have a strong, healthy body
Nothing happens by chance and it applies to all areas of life. If I want to experience the things I desire most in life – meaningful relationships, financial independence, and good health – then I need to make choices that support those desires today, and tomorrow, and always.
Making intentional choices
On a personal level, I am spending less time connected to the world through social media. Instead of checking Facebook and reading blogs in the middle of the night, I want to memorize my sweet baby’s face and the feel of her in my arms because I am never going to have those moments again. During the day, I want to watch my twins play together as their attachment grows into a true friendship. I don’t want to miss a single time when they stand with their arms around each other, run through the house giggling, or sit side-by-side sharing books. I want to be present during each of these moments and not distracted by life’s clutter. My choices have to be intentional.
When it comes to my health and general wellbeing, I am already disciplined about exercising and eating healthy foods. Gaining and maintaining a strong, healthy body is important to me. Encouraging my family to develop these same healthy habits is also important to me and it takes a lot of time and planning to make healthy choices a natural part of their day. I plan out each week’s meals and all the veggies that will accompany them ahead of time. These choices are made intentionally.
But I am human, and I’m not perfect. I have cravings and I succumb to those cravings. Lately, I’ve been succumbing more than not and I’ve become determined to overcome my bad habits. Willpower alone is not enough to enact this change so I am once again thankful for the community of people that keep me inspired.
The lifestyle change
The guys over at ChooseFI shared a lot of my own views about health and wellness in one of their podcasts: Congratulations America… You’re Fat & Broke. It’s over an hour long but it’s worth listening to, if you can find the time. I multi-tasked and listened to it while meal-prepping. Perhaps something similar will work for you.
Food is my family’s biggest weekly expense. My husband and I discussed this and share a mutual desire to further reduce our cost of living by lowering our grocery bills. There are some things we cannot change for the better. At least half of my grocery list each week consists of produce, and that is something I’m not willing to compromise on. But we have decided that we don’t need to keep certain items on hand. Things like super sharp cheese (think aged 10 years), Triscuits, ice cream, sweetened beverages, alcoholic beverages, and anything packaged or pre-made will be saved for special occasions. We are cleaning out our cupboards!
The real challenge
It is after listening to the ChooseFI podcast and thinking about my own health goals that I decided to take this a step further and challenge myself to a week with no added sugar. I already eat pretty clean so a lot of what I eat won’t have to change, but this is going to be tough. Almost everything that is baked (even bread), all sweets (except fruit), and even the jar of peanut butter I currently have sitting in my cupboard will have to be eliminated. I will eat no added sugar – natural or artificial – for seven whole days! If sugar is an ingredient, it will not pass my lips.
My hopes is that by after a week with no added sugars that I will have my cravings under control, I will be able to supply healthy and creative snacking options for my family, and I will have a better understanding of what changes I can make to reduce our food costs without compromising on the healthy stuff or making us feel deprived.
Care to join me?
In wrapping this up, I plead for your help. From May 1 to May 7, the only sugar I will consume is that which is found naturally in the foods I eat. As the week goes on, keep me honest! I plan to document each day’s food and post it on Instagram. Follow me there or on Facebook to see what I’m eating.
If all goes well, I will try this again and challenge you to join me.