What does it mean to live with intention? 10 hidden meanings

There is no greater way to change yourself and your life for the better than by living with intention. 

But, what does it really mean to live with intention? 

The following are 10 hidden meanings that can enlighten you about how this concept can guide your existence.

1) To live your life with a plan

Dr. Sunil Raheja, a psychiatrist, and coach says that one of the hidden meanings of living with intention is “about living with an aim or a plan.”

This means that you shouldn’t just live day by day with no sense of direction in life; you should have a plan and an aim.

If you don’t have a plan, then all your actions will just come as a result of events or randomness.

“Living intentionally is also more than that – it is a choice to deliberately pursue what is significant over the long term rather than the short term,” he adds.

In other words, Dr. Raheja is trying to say that we should live in such a way that our actions are guided by our goals.

2) To persistently and actively affirm your goals

According to Dr. Tom B Clark, Ph.D., to live with intention “means persistently and actively affirming your goals.”

To put it simply, it’s not enough to have clear goals in mind, you need to also persistently and actively affirm your goals.

This means that you can’t just have a vague idea of your goals, but you must also make a real commitment.

A commitment to yourself that you will do everything in your power to achieve what it is that you want in life.

Why is this important?

“Not merely so that you don’t forget or diminish their value when you face a challenge, but so you are sending out into the universe your connection to both process and outcome”, adds Dr. Clark.

So, in a nutshell, to live with intention means that you actively commit and persist in your goals.

3) To search for and find your purpose in life

The next hidden meaning of living with intention is to search for and find your purpose in life.

To find your purpose means finding out what you were created for in this world and using this information to help you make meaningful choices throughout your life.

Otherwise, you might have to deal with a general sense of frustration, listlessness, dissatisfaction, and a sense of not being connected with your inner self.

It’s difficult to live your life with intention when you’re not feeling in sync.

So, what can you do about it?

After watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s eye-opening video, I learned a new way to discover my purpose. In it, he explains that most people misunderstand how to find their purpose.

Here’s the thing:

Many self-help techniques such as visualization may prove to be quite useless and time-consuming. Instead, there’s a new way to do it which Justin Brown learned from spending time with a shaman in Brazil.

After watching the video, I discovered my purpose in life and it dissolved my feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. This helped me start living my life with intention – for real this time.

If you’d also like to achieve that, click here to watch Justin Brown’s eye-opening video.

4) To be in the present moment

The idea of living with intention is not only about having clear goals and a purpose, but it’s also about being in the present moment. 

Look, when your mind starts wandering and you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing in the moment, you’re no longer living with intention.

You are living aimlessly, and missing the opportunity to savor life as it unfolds around you. 

Living intentionally means living in the present moment with an awareness of where you are and what you are doing, with a sense of self that is conscious of your intentions and motives. 

This includes being able to appreciate what is happening in the moment and having a sense of gratitude when you do something well.

More specifically, living with intention means living in the present moment and appreciating every little thing in life – even the most tedious and insignificant tasks.

5) To use your time wisely

Here’s another hidden meaning of living with intention:

“It means to be mindful of how you are spending your time (and thus not wasting it on dumb shit),” says Philipp Hagspiel, a writer at Medium.

When you waste your time on trivial matters, then you’re not living with intention because you’re neglecting your true needs and the things that will make you happy in the long run. 

Instead of wasting your time doing things that won’t contribute to making your life better, you need to use it wisely and work on the things that will make you a better person.

This will help you cultivate an intentional mindset which will lead to a better sense of fulfillment in life.

So, the next time you doubt whether or not you’re living with intention, ask yourself if you’re spending your time wisely.

6) To create the proper environment for your growth

Philipp Hagspiel highlights another hidden meaning of living with intention:

“It means to create an environment in which you can strive and prosper and consistently grow as a person.”

In other words, living with intention means you need to create the right conditions in your life so that you can achieve the things you want.

You need to be surrounded by positive people, and a peaceful environment.

What’s more, you should surround yourself with the things that will help you become a better person.

Things like education, art, meditation, and spirituality.

If you want to achieve a sense of fulfillment in life, then you need to get rid of the things that are holding you back and focus on what will actually make you happier.

7) To deal with challenges in a healthy way

The next meaning of living with intention is dealing with challenges in a healthy way.

In the long run, living with intention means being able to handle, understand and deal with setbacks without unhealthy self-blame, but with a sense of humor, calmness, and clarity, while having a goal in mind.

It’s about learning from your mistakes and using them as an important part of your growth process, in which you can gain new skills.

“Living life with intention does not mean trying to control everything around you (which would be stupid because it’s impossible). It instead means dealing with shit properly,” adds Hagspiel.

So, only when you’re able to deal with your problems in a healthy way, you are living with intention.

8) To live your life for yourself, not for others

Want to know more?

The next meaning of living with intention is to live your life for yourself, not for others.

In other words, it means that you should live your life the way you see fit and not follow the crowd (nor try to please everyone else). Instead, you have a vision of where you want to go and make meaningful choices based on that.

You need to realize that everyone has different ideas and expectations of how they wish to live their lives.

Kristina Gonzalez Sander, the founder of In Bold Company, agrees:

“It looks like making purposeful decisions and creating boundaries. Not living for others, but for myself.”

She explains that she’s become more intentional about what she eats, as well as how she spends her time and money. 

On top of that, she knows herself better now, which brings me to the next point.

9) To understand yourself and what you want

What does it mean to live with intention?

Put differently, it means that you should know yourself better than anyone else. This includes what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can use them in your favor.

You see, living with intention also requires self-awareness.

This means you must have a good understanding of who you are and what you want in life.

When you understand yourself better, it will be easier for you to know what’s best for your future. 

This is why you should focus on what’s best for you, even if that comes at the expense of your relationships with other people. 

10) To put your priorities in order

Here’s another meaning of living with intention: 

Living with intention means you know what’s important to you. This includes knowing what’s necessary for your growth and what you can do to make the world a better place. 

It also consists of being able to prioritize those things that are most important in life, which will help you achieve your goals.

Another reason why you need to be self-aware is that when you’re not aware of what you want, then you can’t prioritize it. This will lead to a lack of direction and focus.

When you know your priorities, then it’s easier for you to make the right choices, which will help you focus on what’s most important in life. 


By now you should have a clearer picture of what living with intention means.

The key points are to live your life with a plan, to discover and follow your purpose, to be in the present moment, to use your time wisely, and to discover yourself.

However, living with intention does take time. You need to practice it every day if you truly want to achieve it.

Picture of Daniela Duca Damian

Daniela Duca Damian

I’m Daniela, a passionate writer with an academic background in journalism. My work is based on research and facts. In recent years I have focused on the study of interpersonal relationships, analyzing, and writing about aspects related to social connections, romantic relationships, but also personal development. My goal is to decipher the most confusing concepts so that anyone who is interested in living a better and fulfilled life can apply them. When I’m not writing, I challenge my friends with meaningful questions about life.

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