There are three components that are the foundation for living an intentional life in balance. They are Awareness, Choice, and Energy. Just remember the acronym A.C.E. your life! The key is to become aware of these three key elements in your life and learn how to navigate them.
How to practice A.C.E. while living an intentional life
Living an intentional life of mindfulness begins by developing your Awareness (A) of daily experiences. Listen to what ignites your passion, energy, and love. Listen to what drains you, distracts you, and irritates you. These are clues to becoming more aware of what you love and what stresses you. Dr. Hall says, “Write down what you are becoming aware of in your life. When we write things down it gives us a greater focus on our goals.”
- Write it down. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center with a plus sign on the left and a minus sign on the right.
- Credit. Every day, under the plus sign, write the things that make you happy and bring joy to your life like your job, dog, spouse or your garden. Think back to your day and recall moments that made you happy.
- Debit. On the minus side of the paper ask yourself, “what creates negative stress in your life?” Write things that sap your energy and make you irritable. These are your stress triggers and should be avoided when possible. Learn stress reduction practices to become resilient to these stressors.
- Try to do this for at least a week. Become aware of what you love, what is important to you, and how these stressors are affecting your life.
Awareness Sections: (Put each of these on Credit and Debit Sides of Line)
- Persons. Family members, friends, and coworkers
- Tasks. Meetings, work, carpool, meals, and family time.
- Emotions. Guilt, shame, worry, expectations, excuses, fear, anger, self-image, and complaining
- Money. Financial status, who is the wage earner, problems, challenges, and blessings
- Time. Time with a purpose, positive ways you spend your time, time drainers, and negative ways you spend your time.
Now that you have become aware of your stressors it is time to exercise living an intentional life with Choice (C) . The current life is a result of the choices you have already made. It is time to take responsibility for your life. Victim mentality ends when you understand the power of choice. You may not control many of the circumstances in your life, but you can choose your attitude and intentions in response to circumstances.
- Triggers. Choose something from the negative side of your list, your triggers, to change in your life. Make it something simple, maybe at home or work, you can focus controlling your immediate reaction to.
- Stress management. When you know you will be in this situation, make a conscious effort to practice stress-reducing techniques such as taking deep breaths or repeating a positive affirmation; “I am calm,” or “I am relaxed.”
- Follow your joy. Take a look at the positive side of your list, too. Choose one or two things you enjoy and commit to doing those things more often.
E=ENERGY (FROM THE EXPERIENCE)
Developing your awareness and making intentional choices creates new Energy (E) and power in your life. When you begin listening to your life, you become more aware of what you are eating, who you are living with, and where you go to work each day. You will begin to notice an energy swelling within you as you become more aware.
If you choose to stay in a challenging job or relationship, you can choose to change your attitude. You will make new and different choices because you now know that life is your choice, and you are the hero of your life, not the victim. You will radiate confidence and a new sense of your own power.
As you follow this energy, you will be lead down the path to your intentional life. Your energy fuels your passion and as a result, you experience the joy of living an intentional life.