find balance and reserve your self-discipline


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{Sorry for the delay! The site was down yesterday due to server issues and then after I posted this yesterday evening it disappeared… spooky!}


Today I’d like to discuss a simple concept that can restore balance in our lives and simultaneously reserve our self-discipline.


Intention-based rituals.


According to The Power of Full Engagement, up to 95% of our lives are based on habits.


This is pretty crazy. Almost too high to believe.

This means that most of our strengths and not-so-great aspects of our lives are likely rooted in habits that we have cultivated – consciously or not – throughout our lives.

The urge to eat the ice cream out of the carton when no one is looking and our ability to jump out of bed in the morning are both likely tied to habits we have crafted over time.

Knowing that habits have such a HUGE influence in our lives means that we can choose to shape positive rituals that reflect our deepest values and intentions for each area of our life. 


How to Create Intention-Based Rituals


I’ve got a simple exercise that can help you help tie your intentions for each area of life to new rituals.

This simple exercise can help us re-balance our lives, particularly if we are currently spending all of our time (out of “habit”) in some areas of our lives, but ignore others.

By simply taking the time to implement new rituals in the weaker areas of our life, we can refocus in areas that we normally gloss over during our daily routine.

Or, we can expand and deepen a life area that’s thriving.

By creating intention-based rituals, we can build positive momentum which eventually requires less self-control to continue.

— Which means we can save our rather limited daily discipline reserve for other aspects of our lives that may be more challenging.

Step One: Review Your Intentions

First, you will need to recall your intentions for each area of your life.

If you don’t already have them, it can be helpful to re-read this post and think deeply about your values in each area.

Step Two: Form Rituals that Embody Your Values

Next, you’ll want to pick an intention from each area of your life (possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career) and identify how you can craft a ritual to help you embody that intention in your daily life.

These rituals can be daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually. It all depends on your intention and how you’d like to bring it to life in your life.

Here are four examples from each intention area in my own life:



Wardrobe Intention: To have a carefully edited and stylish wardrobe.

Ritual: To do a handful of Throw Out 100 Things Challenges per year. (Another weekly ritual you could try is the End of the Week Exfoliation.)


Personal Growth Intention: To expand the circle of influence in my life, and increase the distance between action and response.

Ritual: I do a daily “Private Victory” where I read a spiritual book, a non-fiction book, and exercise (the exercise happens about every other day). This practice helps me to explore and develop my mental, physical, and spiritual aspects which brings more peace and clarity.


Marriage Intention: To accept, support, have patience, and be present with Mr. Lively.

Ritual: We read aloud together in the evenings a few weeknights per week. This helps us increase our presence with one another and often spurs supportive conversations.


Secret Project #1 Intention: To deeply explore and explain how we can live balanced, integrated lives in an inspiring and affordable way.

Ritual: I have recently begun working in three 90 minute chunks (with 30 minute breaks in-between) twice a week on this project. 


In your own life, you may already have awesome rituals in place, and you may be struggling in other areas.

Do your best to consider the major intentions in each area of your life, and see if you can find ways to add rituals if you don’t have any currently. 

Or, if you already have a ritual in place, but it’s feeling a bit boring, consider changing things up a bit to continue to reflect your values in a new action or method.


My Own Struggle / New Ritual


One habit I’m personally struggling with is not checking social media updates in the morning before work.

Because I have my iPad in bed with me while I read during my Private Victory, I find itextremely tempting to hop onto Instagram, Twitter, and Disqus to see what’s happened overnight.

This early morning social media itch slows me down and distracts me from my morning routine with Franklin and Mr. Lively.

Plus, it tends to bleed into a habit of checking social media excessively throughout the rest of the day as well, such a distraction! 

could delete the social media apps from my iPad altogether. Or at least sign out of the sites every time I use them to make it a bit trickier to click into quickly.

However, I’d prefer to try crafting a new ritual instead.

I’d rather fill the time with something meaningful and positive than try to simply avoid checking the sites based on self-control alone. 

My New Ritual

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to try doing a 5-10 minute Quigong video (I’m going to pick a free video on YouTube) as a part of the spiritual part of my Private Victory.

By getting out of bed and doing the moves right away after reading, I’m hoping that it will be easier and more natural to just go about the rest of my day without hopping online first.

We shall see how it goes!


Now, How About You?


What new intention-based ritual are you going to implement? 

Let me know by responding directly to this email (I’ll write you back!), or in the comment section on the blog when the site is back up!



PS – I made a Life with Intention “Quick Start Guide”! 

Based on overwhelmingly positive Facebook feedback, I’ve made a free guide with my top 5 posts, books, videos, blogs, and habits for living intentionally (hint: 20 of these resources cost nothing!).

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  1. The one I’ve been trying to work on doing in the morning is to wake up a little bit early, to 5-15 minutes of meditation and 15 minutes of yoga and 15 minutes of journaling, but I’m still struggling with the getting up and out of bed a little bit earlier part. I’m having a really hard time letting go of my routine of waking up and spending an hour in bed daydreaming and snuggling the crap out of my cats.

    1. Very nice! Waking up earlier in the morning to avoid a rush and actually take your time with things is the number one habit that changes the day for myself and for my clients. I am so excited for you to get this into your routine, too!

      Perhaps you could try doing your meditation in bed? That way you only have to sit up? I find reading in bed, before I even put my feet on the floor, makes the chances of my morning ritual much higher. : )

      Best wishes with it, and please keep me posted!

  2. Thanks for the guide! You always have so many great resources. + that picture of Franklin is too cute. I definitely want to work on developing some new rituals centered about meditating and making time to read in the next month.

    1. Aw, I’m glad you like it! Enjoy – there is a lot of goodness in those links. ; )

      I really like your rituals, too! I hope they go well, one thing that might be helpful is to consider dedicating a certain time each day to them to help them stick. : )

  3. Leana May

    The “Quick Start Guide” is amazing! So many favorites included. Very excited to check out the other resources for some new inspiration!

    1. That’s so great to hear, Leana! I’m glad you like it and have a few more things to check out! : )

  4. Needed to hear this, Jess – being a perfectionist-in-recovery, which can lead to excessive pfaffing(!), plus starting up my own business, looking after my health and well being on a daily basis, and trying to keep relationships topped up can mean total overwhelm if I’m not super mindful… Which I’m not always.Can’t wait to sit down and nut out my intentions – need the specificity. Thanks for the reminder x

    1. That is so wonderful to hear, Lucie! I wish you the very best with your intention setting.

      As a fellow recovering perfectionist, be sure not to make goals and call them intentions, that can be tricky sometimes. : )

  5. I just started life coaching and I’m working toward bettering myself and adding living a life with intention instead of coasting through like I am now.

  6. I love the idea of tying our intentions to our rituals. I want to get the most out of my wardrobe so I don’t fall into a rut of wear the same 3 things all the time. My new ritual is to take a quarterly catalog of my wardrobe, then each week choose to wear at least 1 item of clothing per day that I have not worn in the previous 2 weeks. I have plenty of clothes to do this, and it will help me see new outfit mixing possibilities.

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