7 tools to boost an intentional life

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by Debra Dane on April 16, 2013

in Vision & Goals

I have shared before how I love using guiding words to direct my focus in a year. After a while of really thinking about my word (or words as is the case this year) I find I truly absorb the focus into my life, often subconsciously.

Over the years there are other tools I have used to support my vision or goals. I don’t use these all at the same time, but recommend you think about which would suit you and how you go about things.

7 tools to help you live the vision you have for your life

1. Create a vision board

” A vision board is a way to physically represent all that you are working towards – being, feeling, having, doing – in your life. Rather than solely having your goals and dreams in your head or in list form it adds another dimension that can give you clarity.” This is from my post detailing how to create a vision board if this is something you want to do. That’s mine below!

vision board

2. Make a list

I love bucket/life lists- I made one for myself at my 40th birthday looking ahead (no deadline) and already checked off a handful of the 40.

You can make a list that supports your goals and vision (ie places to visit, crafts to do with your kids).

You can create a bucket list of ideas for the current season so you know what you want to experience. You can then look at the list when planning some outings and adventures.

3. Write your own manifesto

This is a new one for me, but something i have been playing with for a handful of months. Mine is a work in progress that I hope to share very soon. It is short and simple, but includes the keys to the life I want to live.

An alternative is a mission statement - personal, business or family.

4. Create a mind map

I love mind maps for corralling ideas I have or exploring something further.

I used one when I started dreaming up the simplify your life challenge. I had been jotting down all these ideas and topics to include and they were a mass of random notes. I the. Started mind mapping the ideas under headings and adding them to the map as I reviewed them. From there I had a clear path to lay out for the challenge.

5. Journaling

Take time to write and reflect on your life. You can see issues and themes emerge, gain clarity, notice changes you would like to make.

You can journal about what your interests are, your values, what you want to do in this life.

You can journal to enhance a project or goal (anything from a food journal to support weight loss to a journal of stories for your children to pass down to them)

6. Create a project (365 days, 52 weeks, or a set number of targets)

The internet is full of long term projects on blogs and many books arose out of these projects.

Setting out to use her slow cooker for 365 days led to Stephanie O’Dea creating cookbooks on the subject as she achieved what she set out to do and ended up a slow cooker expert.

Elise Blaha loves projects – you can check out her blog to read about 40 pizza recipes, or 40 loaves or 27 different craft materials (among other things).

You can join in with some online projects with link ups like 52 weeks of grateful, 52 portraits of your kids, or project life . This offers accountability and community all around a shared vision.

7. Set resolutions a la Gretchen Rubin and the Happiness Project

Resolutions can be a great way to move forward towards a life you envision. Whether you set a limited number per year or quarter, or create something like Gretchen’s Happiness Project, resolutions give you a focus and direction. The trick is to find the balance between shooting for great change and being realistic.

What ways do you bring your vision to reality? What have you tried in the past?


Find your simple,



If self care is part of your grand plan for this year I hope you will join me for The 30 day self care blueprint in May – you can read all the details here including our offer of “pay what you can” if the cost is an issue for you this year. IN th emeantime we also have a free webinar on “How to let go of expectations and lead a wholehearted life” tomorrow April 17th on our site (with replay available afterwards).


Linking up with Jess for IBOT - head over to check out what a whole bunch of awesome bloggers have written this week.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily April 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

Great list, Deb, and thanks for the examples. I’m never happy with how my attempted vision boards turn out, but I think mind-mapping would suit me.
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm

That’s great em. When one thing does not fit we can often find another…that suits.hope you are well xxx
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Janet @ Redland City Living April 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

Great ideas … it’s been a while since I’ve done any of these, I think it might be time to do a vision board and/or some mind mapping, maybe even a bucket list!

Visiting from #teamIBOT xxx
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I have loved making both last year – hope you do too xx
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Maxabella April 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

An intentional life. It sounds like more work, but I totally get why we should bother!?! Thank you for linking to Grateful, Deb. x
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Not quite “work” if you think about how a gratitude practice enhances intentional living… Another tool, rather than work it becomes another positive thing in your life that helps you focus on how you want to live….
Debra Dane recently posted..An open letter to parents everywhere – live and let liveMy Profile


Jodi Gibson April 16, 2013 at 11:29 am

I love this and have bookmarked it. I already have a vision board but I do need to revisit it. I also have a close relative who is at a crossroads in her life who really needs this, so I will pass it along. Thank you!
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:04 pm

You’re welcome Jodi and thanks for passing it on, I am planning to do some smaller specific boards when we do the self care blueprint course- one for my home and one for my creative vision. I love having the visuals since that is how I work, it suits me. Enjoy revisiting yours xx
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Mandy April 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

I adored doing the manifesto, such a great feeling to pin point what it is we want to do/be/see in our lives.
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I agree, the clarity is great as you have direction on where you want to go
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Nikki@WonderfullyWomen April 16, 2013 at 11:58 am

Got the vision board down pat, I am currently writing a manifesto to read every night before I go to bed….just not quite finished yet. :)
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

That is an awesome idea. When I finish mine I think I will paste it into my journal and start to do that – it can act as a reinforcement / mantra / affirmation…
Debra Dane recently posted..An open letter to parents everywhere – live and let liveMy Profile


Lisa@RandomActsOfZen April 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Deb, your posts always seem to resonate with me in certain ways. I’m a huge list-maker, am working on my manifesto and halfway through The Happiness Project at the moment.
I’m also tossing up between a few ideas for a 52/365 project that I want to work on.
Thanks for a concise list, that groups a whole lot of great ideas together.
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm

That is so great Lisa. And I keep meaning to comment on your post today but trying to think of a good idea to leave in a comment… I love what you are planning! Xx
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Emily @ Have a laugh on me April 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I’m going to write a bucket list and write in my gratitude journal more – eg put somewhere so I HAVE to write in it every night!
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Debra Dane April 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I struggled with the daily routine (I had one of those 365 journals from kikki k) good luck. I love every effort I DO make with gratitude. And my bucket list gives me a place to put ideas and choose from it when I have a chance. Next up for me is geo caching! Enjoy!
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lisa April 16, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Deb, I have done elements of these over the years but it might be time to create a bit more focus and be more specific. Thanks for sharing x
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kirri April 17, 2013 at 6:38 am

Easy but powerful reminders for living intentionally ….and I can always do with a reminder. Great stuff as always x
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EssentiallyJess April 17, 2013 at 10:00 am

I like the vision board idea, but I wonder if I wouldn’t become immune to it after very long? Journalling is great. Most of my journalling takes blog form, but I do write down some of the more personal stuff somewhere else.
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Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions April 17, 2013 at 11:20 am

Excellent ideas Deb. I thk I need to write a new list. I had a 30 by 30 list but it was a little unrealistic. I’d like to do another one for the next decade, well, for before I turn 40 and make it a little bit more realistic this time, and achievable!
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rita April 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Great ideas. I have a lot of difficulties with resolutions but, I love the idea of creating a vision board. In front of my desk, on the wall, I stick pictures, quotes, places I want to visit, things I’d like to do.
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