The beginning of each year is prime time for setting resolutions and goals. We idealize January 1st as a clean slate; a new year lies ahead, and we expect it to be full of second chances and new experiences. Then, real life kicks in. Before we know it, December 31st rolls around and another year has passed.

We start thinking again about all of our hopes for the next new year. Most likely, they are pretty similar to the resolutions we made in the past. Why didn’t we do all of the things that we had hoped? Are we going to continue this vicious cycle our whole lives? In 2016, I learned that there is a huge difference between living and living with intention. No matter who you are or where you come from, you can make the choice to push boundaries and take in the beauty around you. That requires choosing to do things now rather than later, avoiding excuses, and taking control of your life.

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If you are reading this, you are living (duh). However, we have the choice to really live our lives to the fullest and make the most of that existence. We can choose to push our limits, find adventure, step out of our comfort zones, follow our passions, and build relationships that add meaning to our existence and provide a sense of fulfillment.

If you want to live with intention… take chances.

Life is full of choices and many of those choices involve taking chances. If you want to reach goals and accomplish your dreams, you will have to take risks. Some will have successful outcomes, and others will not. However, you will know you put your all into it no matter what. The likelihood of you looking back with regret will be much slimmer.

If you want to live with intention… work hard.

A desire to work hard is even more important than taking risks when it comes to living your life with intention. Somebody once said, “nothing in life worth having comes easy”. In many ways, this is true. It is especially true in respect to living a healthy lifestyle. Reaching fitness and nutrition goals you set for yourself requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Choosing to make healthy food choices and get up and go to the gym is a sign of strength that will withstand time.

Turning these habits and practices into a lifestyle instead of putting it off until tomorrow is a sign of living intentionally. Choosing to do it today instead of tomorrow is crucial. If you don’t do it now, you will find yourself making the same health resolutions next year, adding to the vicious cycle. Working hard in other aspects of your life is also equally important. Choosing to give everything 100% often seems impossible, but knowing you tried your very best will lead to a greater feeling of contentment.

If you want to live with intention… be adventurous.

Living your life to the fullest should include plenty of adventure! Stepping outside of your comfort zone and choosing to do things you normally wouldn’t will bring joy to your life. Go see places you haven’t seen before. Travel. Take advantage of the outdoors.

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Take an exercise class you have always been too afraid to explore. Hike a huge mountain. Run a marathon. Eat “weird” foods. Push yourself to the limits. Explore your hometown and learn about its heritage. Go sky diving, scuba diving, or take a ride in a hot air balloon. Do the things that scare you. Turn your bucket list into reality. It doesn’t have to be huge to be life changing. 

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If you want to live with intention… build relationships.

Finally and most importantly, living your life to the fullest means building relationships that withstand time and giving back to others. Relationships with others are what ultimately bring us the most joy. Friends and family can’t be bought, yet they are the most treasured.

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In the same way, the services we do for others and the depths in which we give back are also vital to truly living. People come and go. Time passes by. But when somebody hears your name, make sure they remember the good about you. 

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About The Author

Caitlin is a sophomore at the University of Central Arkansas studying Dietetics. She is from a little town in Arkansas called Strawberry. Caitlin is in the process of becoming Nutrition and Wellness Consultant Certified. She enjoys cooking, baking, and anything outdoors. Instagram: healthycait

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