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Growth Mindsets For Women Who Want To To Live Intentionally

This post: how to live intentionally.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I turned forty this week, the strange year we’ve lived through, or the pizza I ate…

But I’ve been thinking about the intentional life a lot these days.

After all, nothing prompts a woman to analyze her life quite like embracing a new decade.

This year promises to be rather memorable for our family: 

  • our oldest daughter will graduate from high school
  • our oldest son will be a teenager 
  • our youngest daughter will start high school in the fall

And I already told you about my big achievement this week. *wink* 

I don’t remember expecting life to move at such a fast pace- but here we are. 

This birthday reminded me that living intentionally matters.

How To Live a Life You Love

Kevin DeYoung– a successful pastor, speaker, author, husband, and father of seven- makes a cunning observation:

The only people on this planet who end up doing nothing are those who never realized they couldn’t do everything.

Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung

In my own words, busy people aren’t always successful people.

Because it’s incredibly easy to be busy doing a whole lot of nothing. Nothing that really matters in the long run, anyway.

For example, have you ever felt like you’re always busy, busy, busy… but at the end of the day you sit back and wonder what you actually accomplished?

I know you relate.

Friend, I’d love to send you a free gift… keep reading for more details.

Life Hacks for Women Who Want To to Live Intentionally | Kristy's Cottage blog
The choice to live intentionally will make you stand out. (photo credit: Elnaz Asadi)

We all have days like that. Maybe even weeks like that.

But it’s not the way I want to live every day.

And it’s definitely not how you get to forty- or eighty– feeling good about Life.

Limitations + Priorities

Our culture talks a lot about overcoming limitations. Or even obliterating them altogether.

Some even go as far as to claim,

Life has no limitations except the ones you make.

Les Brown

The problem with this idea is that it’s completely illogical.

Nature itself is fraught with limitations.

Consider the following:

There are only twenty-four hours in a day. That’s a limitation of time.

Light cannot travel faster than 300,000 km per second in space. That’s a limitation of energy.

The oldest human recorded in modern history lived 122 years, 164 days. That’s a limitation of life.

In nature, limitations elicit respect and the need for laws.

In my life and yours, limitations call for respect and the need for priorities.

Bottom line: limitations aren’t bad + priorities aren’t optional.

Women Can’t Have It All

This isn’t the most popular statement in our culture, but it’s still true.

We can’t have it all… but goodness, how we try.

The single greatest problem with the feminist movement is that it was predicated on the notion that women can have it all. As Marlo Thomas said to Phil Donahue in the 1970s, ‘Men can have it all. Why shouldn’t we?’

The Two Income Trap, by Suzanne Venker

The truth is, women can’t have it all and neither can men.

We’re all in this same boat called humanity, which means we’re limited by time, resources, choices, and a million other things.

ALSO READ:  How to Get Stuff Done When You Don't Feel Motivated to Do Anything

The feminists aren’t the only ones who don’t get this.

My young kids don’t either. They get inspired by people or ideas, and feel like they should be able to experience the same things that someone else has had to invest years of their life in order to achieve.

What my kids- and feminists- don’t understand is this:

Success requires time, singular focus, and the exclusion of less important things.

Life Hacks for Women Who Want To to Live Intentionally | Kristy's Cottage blog
(photo credit: Sincerely Media)

Suzanne Venker, a Fox News columnist, author, and popular podcaster, speaks directly to women on this topic,

I sometimes feel I have more ambition than I know what to do with. But like most women, I’ve curbed this ambition in order to raise a family. We never talk about this because that would be taboo…

When we choose to have children, we choose a new life. We choose a life of trade-offs. That’s why the idea of ‘having it all,’ at least at the same time, is bogus. Women can have most of what they want over the course of their lives, but they’ll need to adjust their expectations. And they’ll need to broaden their view of what it means to be successful.

The Two Income Trap, by Suzanne Venker

For those of us who want to live well, it’s vital that we understand and accept this law of nature.

No one can do all things well, all the time.

Bottom line: we must choose what we will do well.

The Intentional Life

I’m a visionary, “Type A” woman, with many goals, hobbies, responsibities and ideals.

It would be very easy for me to assume that if I work hard enough, I can “have it all.”

And by “have it all,” I mean -> I would like to keep my husband and five kids, go back to college and finish my degree, write a book, stay out of debt, finish building our new home, get enough sleep, look like I’m not a day older than thirty-five, and keep the house reasonably clean.

Of course, I didn’t even mention helping my two dyslexic kids navigate high school and middle school, launch my oldest teen into young adulthood, and keep up with the needs of our two youngest sons in the meanwhile.

Needless to say, priorities have to filter out some things… or I’d be that person who got nothing done because she attempted to do everything.


Because jumping at every opportunity, or even every need, is not priority management.

It’s not how I live well in this season.

About that freebie: Opt in to my newsletter I’ll send you a free Priority Grid.

Click HERE to get your free gift.

Life Hacks for Women Who Want To to Live Intentionally | Kristy's Cottage blog
(photo credit: Sincerely Media)

Dr. Henry Cloud, one of my favorite authors and a Christian psychologist, says it this way,

When I am writing a book, I have to block out time and protect it, or it will never get done…

Guard your dreams, your passions, your time, your energy, your heart, your mind, your soul. You guard these treasures, not because of selfishness… but so you will have treasures to spend on serving in the ways that matter to the people you truly want to give to.”

The Law of Happiness, by Dr. Henry Cloud

Bottom line: Saying “yes” to your most important things, and “no” to everything else, is ultimately how the intentional life works.

ALSO READ:  Mercy, for When Methods and Rules Just Don't Work

Creating a Priority Grid for Living Well

Every year, I sit down with my planner and think through my seven top priorities.

This list reflects what’s paramount in my life right now, and it’s somewhat exclusive because…

Everything in my life won’t fit on that list of seven things. 

The first year I did this, I was shocked at how little my “living” actually reflected my so-called priorities.

This was a come-to-Jesus experience for me. Making this “priority grid” revealed how much empty lip service I was giving certain values.

Once was honest about my priorities, I had a clear vision of what kind of goals and commitments I was willing to make. And what goals and commitments needed to change.

Creating this “priority grid” is now something I do every year, and guides so many decisions throughout the year.

Because I’m choosing to live intentionally

I’m willing to give up some expectations in order to invest more generously in other areas of my life. 

I’m free to focus on what matters the most to me in this season.

I’m less likely to feel disappointed or threatened when someone else does more, or has more.

My productivity is measured by my priorities instead of by other people’s expectations.

This is how I can feel accomplished and “on track” at forty.

Even though I haven’t finished that degree or written the book.

Even though I’m “just” a wife and homemaker and full-time mom.

The truth is, I’m doing exactly what I set out to do in this season.

I’m growing. I’m intentionally saying “yes” and “no.” (photo credit: Laura Chouette)

And ultimately, I

recognize a woman’s life has seasons and {I’m} not willing to give this one up.

Suzanne Venker

Bottom line: our daily choices reveal our priorities.

Living With Intention: Recap

Living well isn’t rocket science.

  • Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive.
  • Limitations necessitate priorities.
  • You can’t have it all.
  • Say “yes” to the most important things (and “no” to everything else).
  • Create a priority grid.

Have you ever taken the time to write down your top priorities? If not, making that list a great place to start. 

LET ME SEND YOU A FREE Printable Priority Grid

1.Click here 2. Drop your name + email.

  1. Download the free guide. Join my weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable!
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.  
  3. Use your grid to name your top priorities (don’t be surprised if you have some changing to do).
  4. Keep your grid somewhere handy- tucked inside your planner or on your fridge, for example. Be sure you “live your grid!”

Here’s a sneak peek at the priority grid:

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<p><strong>Bottom line: </strong><span class="has-inline-color has-black-color">Saying "yes" to your most important things, and "no" to everything else, is ultimately how the intentional life works.</span></p>
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Your Turn

What’s your biggest challenge in choosing to live intentionally? Drop me a comment and tell me about it.

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  1. It’s so important to know how to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. Learning how to say yes to the right and important things and no to everything else…HUGE life skill. Great post!

    1. You’re right… it is a HUGE life skill! Makes such a difference in the quality of our lives, especially when we’re raising kids.

      Thanks so much for reading + commenting, Lisa. xoxo

  2. It is really so hard to accept it and feel good the same time. It is still my problem.