What I Wish I Knew at the Beginning of My Intentional Living Journey

Woman Intentional Journaling with the JMB Living Journal

7 Benefits of Intentional Living and How To Make It Easy

Would you believe me if I told you that before I was a life coach, certified yoga teacher, leading wellness retreats and founder of JMB Living, there was a time when I was a single mom working in the tax department of a corporation? As I worked my way up the corporate ladder to lead the our tax group, I was also taking classes to become a yoga instructor and eventually coaching and leading retreats at the same time.

When I first started incorporating more of what I loved and felt called to learn and grow into, I didn’t know was that I was closer to creating the life I desired than I ever thought possible. With each new choice I made to listen to what my heart was telling me I wanted to try and learn and do, I began to live intentionally.

Intentional living often gets mixed up with slow living and minimalism—and it’s definitely possible to do all three—but, it can also stand alone as fundamentals that can be adapted on their own without sacrificing your lifestyle or material possessions. There’s nothing wrong with a life dedicated to slow living or minimalism, but it’s just not realistic or accessible for all lifestyles… but intentional living is.

Intentional living begins with the intangible—your thoughts, your routines, habits and perspective.

What exactly is intentional living?

There are many different definitions and applications of intentional living, but at its core, intentional living is exactly as simple as it sounds: going through life with intention instilled into how you navigate the world.

My favorite thing about intentional living—and why it’s become the foundation of JMB Living—is that you get from it what you put into it. You can dictate exactly what your intentional living journey looks like: from adding a little intention to your routine to make sure you do it every day, to journaling for five minutes a day, to waking up at sunrise to do a meditation… or any combination of these things! Intentional living exists on a spectrum, and wherever you fall on that spectrum is just as valid and impactful as any other spot!

So, I actually can’t tell you “exactly” what intentional living is, because it looks different for everyone. I can tell you its fundamentals that you can adapt into your own lifestyle, but there is no exact or “correct” way to live intentionally. The possibilities of what it looks like and how it changes your life are endless and completely up to you.

Benefits of Intentional Living

  1. Supportive of good mental health
  2. Helps you achieve your dreams and goals
  3. Experience more joy
  4. More meaningful and healthy relationships
  5. Better relationship with your body and health
  6. Average days become more enjoyable
  7. You can follow your passions and change your life

But, how can you create these benefits in your own life, no matter what your lifestyle is like? It all depends on how you want to implement it!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Making Intentional Living Easy

Just like the JMB Living Journal, intentional living is a “choose your own adventure.” But, to help you get started, here are some suggestions of ways to add intention to your life to create change:


What does a routine with intention look like? It can be many different things, but here’s two different ways to add intention to your routine: the first is to use intention to structure your routines. Think carefully about what is going to work for you and how, as opposed to just saying you are going to incorporate a new habit into your day and then trying to begin doing that without much forethought. Be realistic about when you will perform which routine; this could mean deciding that you will have a nighttime routine that is supportive of good sleep in which you turn overhead lights off at a certain time, perform your hygiene, read or journal for a specific amount of time and then make your room dark and go to sleep. Or, maybe you’re an early bird so you wake up, make your bed, brush your teeth, say an affirmation, drink coffee, get dressed and leave the house.

It’s not about what you do, it’s about knowing yourself enough to decide for yourself when you will get things done so that they can add ease and self-care to each day. It's about reflecting and using that knowledge to better your life.

The second way to have an intentional routine is to add intention to each of the things you do such as brushing your teeth with an intention of good hygiene, self-care and preparing your beautiful smile to spread to others throughout the coming day. Maybe you apply lotion after a shower with a loving hand and intentional movement that is caring and gentle as an act of self-love for your body. Drinking coffee with intention can be about slowing down and getting in touch with yourself before you face the day with more presence and fortitude. It’s up to you what you instill with which intention, but the best advice I can give is do what is most supportive and uplifting for the life you want to create and the person you want to be. 


Do you talk with yourself enough? Not muttering to yourselves while you try to do math, but instead cultivating an exchange of reflection to gather insights about where you are in life, and where you want to go.

Continuous, intentional reflection is crucial to personal growth and moving towards your ideal life. Add an opportunity for reflection into one of your routines or habits—like journaling at the beginning or end of the day, reviewing your day while you’re in the shower or decompressing after work.

Frequent reflection can provide valuable insights about areas in your life to be grateful for, room for improvement and how you’re dream progress is going. 


When was the last time you felt yourself fly off the handle? Or, maybe you let something slip when you didn’t mean to. Have you said something you didn’t mean, or did you say something you did mean and then pretended like you didn’t? Being an intentional communicator just means thinking a little more before you speak and being considerate of the impact words have.

This is a challenging area, but I am trying hard to be more intentional about what I say (and when). I find that when I am able to do this, I am a better listener, conversational partner and when I do speak up, it is more meaningful and contributing than an automatic response. I'm practicing interrupting less and in the process I know I'm less likely to say things I don’t mean.

A lot of the time, it can feel like we are conditioned to keep a conversation going no matter what, even if it loses its value. When you communicate with intention, you might also want to get comfortable with silence. Silence can bring about some of the most insightful and genuine conversation you can have.

Explore how you can add intention to your forms of communication—social media, work dynamics, casual conversation and the way you talk to yourself. Be intentional about your thoughts and works—especially to yourself—because they always have a long lasting impact on how you lose self-esteem or grow into the best version of yourself. 


Did you know all of the prompts and features in the JMB Living Journal were curated with intention to create life-changing impacts? Not just to help you more easily instill intention in your own life, but in various ways throughout the journal to help you create a positive mindset shift that leads you to be more present each day by slowing down and cultivating a gratitude mindset?

Gratitude might sound like an easy thing to master that’s not very impactful on your life, but noticing one thing to celebrate, or one way you saw beauty or one thing that brings you joy every day, alongside identifying things you’re grateful for, is immensely beneficial for improving mental health. When things are hard, it helps guide you to find something that adds ease or soothes your hardship. And, when things are good, you can’t help but feel them more deeply while the good things in your life multiply.

No matter how you choose to apply intentional journaling into your days, all it takes is at least five minutes a day to reflect, find your joy and write your gratitude. You can also make your journaling much more robust by adding a daily or weekly affirmation, a monthly intention, seasonal indulgences—the opportunities are endless. If you want some inspiration on things to elevate your intentional journaling or to make it easy and use the JMB Living Journal, you can see more about it here. 


There are so many different ways to add more intention with physicality. There have been so many exercises in the JMB Living Journal where I encourage our community to increase their awareness of the five senses during certain situations like eating, walking outside, taking a hot bath, putting on clothes and so many more!

Taking a moment to slow down, soak in your surroundings and catalog how they impact your senses is a great use of intention to add presence and become an active participant in your own life instead of a bystander.

Also, just having an intention to be more aware of your surrounding while on a walk, during your morning commute or experiencing something new has allowed me to see so many things with a newfound sense of awe for nature, life and humanity. 


How much time and energy do you truly dedicate to yourself? At the end of your life, will you have felt satisfied, cared for and nourished with the way you have treated yourself? Self-love is something that radically shifts the way we walk through life.

Shedding insecurity and focusing on cultivating our personal garden creates abundant freedom in relationships, expressing your identity, discovering your values and prioritizing authenticity. Self-love is the root from which branches of success, happiness and alignment grow. How can you be more intentional about showing yourself the love you actually deserve? 

Things I Would Tell Myself at the Beginning of My Intentional Living Journey

There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell that young, single mom working in a job that didn’t fulfill her or inspire her, living the same day over and over. Especially how much intentionally living would change her life and bring her everything she could have dreamed of and more. I hope some of these things resonate with you and inspire to begin creating your dreams today!

1. The journey to your ideal life is not linear.

There will be obstacles, serious challenges, periods of hopelessness and great, skyrocketing success…but all of those things will be mixed up into any random order, multiple times throughout your journey. And that’s okay! It is an exercise in growth, using mindfulness tools and just a part of life. When I look back, there were so many times I was frustrated or impatient to get to where I am now (even though I didn't know what exactly that would look like at the time). Yet, all these life experiences are so helpful for what I love doing today.

2. Living intentionally doesn't have to "look" a certain way.

I was driving a car given to me by my parents. I wasn’t wealthy or using expensive skincare. I wasn't doing yoga in Lululemon, but rather in sweats on my own yoga mat at home. I wasn't waking up every day with a meditation or floating around with a slick-backed ponytail with 3% body fat. I was—and still am—just Julie.

I know some people who are highly thoughtful, intentional and involved in the wellness community with tattoos, dyed hair, ripped jeans, khakis, birkenstocks, stilettos, red lipstick, pencil skirts, and all that works well for them or at least it looks good on screen. For me, I'm looking for what's comfortable and what’s best for what we’re doing that day. Don’t let influencer culture or media convince you that you don’t “look right” for intentional living or to take up space in the wellness sphere. 

3. You don't have to abandon all material possessions and life as you know it.

You can create your own balance of habits and routines to adopt that support your journey and intentions without compromising your sense of self. Unpredictable girls’ nights, shopping at Walmart instead of a farmers market, drinking more than one glass of wine, buying nice shoes or going out to eat at a five-star restaurant—none of these things have to clash with living intentionally. Intentional living is about creating whatever life you want and making the most of all this one life has to offer.

1 comment

  • As a single parent who is finding their path at 35, moving into intentional living and listening to their intuition, I found so much value in this. Thank you for being willing to share. I appreciate you!


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