5 Ways to Live with Intention

After experiencing trauma, it’s common to question your purpose and think about a 5-year plan. Nicole Lapin, author of career guide Becoming Super Woman, shares how to make your intentions known.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

“What are your intentions with my daughter?” You’ve heard the father ask this question of potential suitors in countless TV shows and movies. Basically, he wants to know if the guy’s gonna treat his girl well and put a ring on it or what?! But I have yet to see a show or movie where the heroine asks herself, “What are my intentions for me?” 

In our lives it’s time to live with the intention of treating ourselves well. The strength of the commitment you make to yourself determines how your life will turn out. We are in it for the long run. Setting intentions for yourself is an important step, but it’s not the last one. It’s like setting the table for your life. And, while I like a Pinterest-worthy place setting as much as the next girl, living with intention means actually eating at that table. 

You may say you want to live a life of health and wellness, but if you’re also getting lit every weekend, you’re only cheating yourself. Of course, you can value whatever you want. If you value partying and boozing, then own that. But if you truly value health and wellness, then your life should have more juice than gin in it. Not every day has to be a juice day. And there’s definitely a time and a place to sip on gin and juice. But decide what kind of life will make you proud, and let that determine what you order to drink, because that drink will affect your future. 

The way you choose to fill every day and exert your energy will determine your life’s direction. Where you end up next year or in ten years is determined by the choices you make now. Here’s how to set intentions and live by them. 

1. Define your values 

It’s important to speak your truth, find your purpose, and not compare yourself to others. It’s okay if you’ve never thought to define your calling or question your contribution to the greater good. Today is as good a day as any to start asking yourself: “Why?” As in, beyond the day-to-day desire for success: “Why do you do what you do? 

2.  Make choices that move you closer to your goals

This means you’ll stay focused but be open to learning and changing. If you value commitment enough to expect it from others, then you should be taking your commitment to yourself seriously. Are you committed to your values and your goals? If so, do you act committed to them? If not, how can you expect anyone else to be?

3. Decide your own legacy

Will you have a legacy? You don’t need to come up with a groundbreaking scientific discovery or win a Grammy to have a legacy. Maybe you established an innovative new process at your company or a thriving community garden in your neighborhood. What do you want to be known as—whether it’s to the world, or to your future two-year-old? 

4. Think about your purpose

What makes you cry? Think, “My purpose is . . .” and then start writing anything that comes to mind. Keep going. When you find yourself tearing up—ding ding ding! You’ve found it. Then, get after it. After all, a purpose without a plan is just a prayer. 

5. Ask yourself how you want to be remembered

This might seem a little dark, but connecting with yourself existentially will help you to prioritize and gain perspective. Do you hear “She was a member of Congress who fought for women’s rights”? Well, are you in Congress or planning to run at some point? Which rights are you fighting for? 

We get asked what we do or ask someone else the same question at least, what, once a day? Instead of thinking of your “what,” start to think about your “why.” Finding your “why” will help to carry you through times when the “how” feels like a puzzle. It has with me. Do you ever get so frustrated that you hear yourself say “How am I going to do that?!” or “What am I going to do?” out loud? I do. But I find that when I shift from “how” and “what” to “why”, the questions become easier to answer and the answers become tougher to question.” 

Excerpted from Becoming Super Woman: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Go from Burnout to Balance.  

Nicole Lapin is the New York Times Bestselling author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch. She is the host of the nationally syndicated business reality competition show, “Hatched.” She has been an anchor on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Her latest book, Becoming Super Woman, is available now. 

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    How to Manifest your Desires with December 1st Intention Setting

    by Melissa Fino

    How New Year’s Intentions Can Help You Beat Burnout

    by Whitney Gordon-Mead, MSc

    Intend Your Way to a Great Day

    by Paige Oxley

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.