Can intentional & spontaneous coexist?

intentional and spontaneous

It feels like “intentional” has been the buzzword of the year. And last year. Maybe even the year before.

Want to be a good leader, spouse, parent or friend? You have to be intentional about it. Want to get in shape, read more, eat healthier, or finish a meaningful project? You have to be intentional.

I couldn’t agree more. None of the meaningful things happen by accident. On the other hand, there’s a reason that when you hear the phrase, “the best laid plans,” there’s no need to finish the sentence.

It hangs out there, ellipsis floating, your mind already supplying the inevitable. Most of our good intentions remain fantasies that we hope a future, better version of ourselves will someday execute.

To me, intentional living means spending time on purpose, on things that matter. The idea resonates with me. But what does it take to connect the, well, intention, to be more intentional with daily life?

This is the question I’ve been asking myself as I experiment with different ways to make my life more purposeful, to spend more of my days on things that matter.

It’s clear to me that planning and action are key ingredients. Good intentions find their legs when they get up and walk. The lover of calendars and outlines in me delights at this discovery.

At the same time, I don’t want to become a robot, so bound by follow-through on all my great intentions that I miss out the truly meaningful.

There is wisdom in making space for the important things: getting that date night on the calendar, getting up a half hour early for that quiet time. So often, a plan is crucial for making those essential but not urgent things happen. Set those intentions and give them legs!

But then. There’s the unexpected phone call from my sister that interrupts my intentional writing time, or an unexpected 70 degree day in February that beckons to me from the cave where I’d planned to do a DVD workout, or the friend that asks me to get frozen yogurt when I’m intentionally avoiding sugar.

What do you do with that? The whole point of being intentional is to design a life more true to the person I want to be, right?

I want to live the values I say matter most to me. And if that’s the case, then sometimes being intentional means purposefully setting down my intentional plans for something even more important.

I want to be defined by who I love more than what I do. I want to be someone who prioritizes relationships over rigid schedules. I want to give myself permission to enjoy life- the parts that are by design, and the pieces that catch me by surprise.

What do you think? Can you balance intentionality with spontaneity?

I’m putting the finishing touches on an ebook about day to day intentional living. If you’d like to get a section of it for free, enter your email address below and I’ll email it to you! I’d love to get your feedback. (This form doesn’t sign you up for anything other than the book sample, and maybe a couple more ebook-related emails.)

3 thoughts on “Can intentional & spontaneous coexist?

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