What better time than the beginning of a new year to contemplate what it would mean to live life intentionally? "What exactly is intentional living?" you might ask. We believe that intentional living consists of a two-step process including 1) consciousness and 2) intentionality.

Consciousness involves first becoming and then remaining aware of our external surroundings as well as our internal processes. In becoming aware of our external surroundings we might stop and ask our self "What am I doing or saying, and with whom?" Our internal processes might be addressed by such questions as "What am I thinking/feeling about what I am doing/saying?" or "What is the meaning/purpose of what I am doing/saying?"

Intentionality is simply being very selective and pro-active about our actions in regards to our conscious awareness. In awakening our intentionality, we move from a place of "knee-jerk" reaction to a place of chosen response. In so doing, we are less likely to do or say something we may regret later.

Here are some tips on how to live with intentionality:

1. Remember that you are responsible for monitoring your own behaviors, attitudes, intentions, motives, language, etc., not those of anyone else. In doing so, you will gain new insight about yourself.

2. Assume that others are operating from a place of good intention. No one is perfect. Be gracious with others as we are all prone to make awkward mistakes in our interactions with each other.

3. Speak with sensitivity to another. In this manner, humbly share your truth with this other, realizing that your truth is a perspective, not The perspective.

4. Listen with respect to another. Honorably strive to hear what the other person is expressing versus mentally formulating your response.

5. Honor your own integrity by refusing to resort to name-calling or negative labeling of another's behavior or attitude.

6. Close each day with some expression of gratitude to yourself for choosing to make a commitment to live a life of intentionality. The choice to do so is one that requires courage in the face of vulnerability, and that is deserving of affirmation and validation.

Intentional living is an on-going process that requires us to remain mindful of our surroundings and how we choose to interact with others in our world. It calls for us to act from a place of personal integrity, constantly holding ourselves accountable for our own behavior and attitude. If we can do that then perhaps we are more likely to live a life with emotional and physical health, finding hope in our future, and experiencing the happiness that living in harmony with others brings us, all the while finding humor in our inadequacies.