5 Ways to Cultivate Purpose and Intention for an Authentic Life

Are you going through the motions of your life mindlessly? Is your life dictated by routine and 'sticking to a schedule,' with little room for spontaneity?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Are you going through the motions of your life mindlessly? Is your life dictated by routine and 'sticking to a schedule,' with little room for spontaneity? It's easy to have a wish for the kind of life you don't yet have -- the body of a 20-year-old athlete, healthy and supportive relationships, or a position in a company that will give you the feeling of 'success.' But when was the last time you stopped being on autopilot and connected to your essence, your soul, your higher purpose? Here are five ways to live a life on purpose and with intention so that you can get back in the driver's seat of your life.

1. Find Your Why

There are a multitude of ways to be successful in life. But the more successful you want to be, the clearer you need to be on your goals and the harder you have to work to achieve them. When you feel 'stuck' in a career, a relationship or a company, ask yourself "Why?" three times. For example, if you feel like you need to take your coaching business up a notch and break out of your creative rut, ask yourself: "Why?" Your first immediate answer may be an intellectual one such as, "I want to do something different." Go deeper. Ask yourself "Why?" again, and then ask yourself the question one more time. By the third time you've asked yourself why you're doing something -- or why you want to obtain a specific goal -- you've gone to the heart of the matter and truly answered your own question with depth, purpose and meaning. The point here is that success is now being defined by YOU and what serves you, and not someone else's version of success. Your WHY is the foundation of purpose and intention and will serve as your North Star to guide you on the journey of life.

2. Put It In Ink

How can you get what you want if you don't even know what it is? According to the law of attraction, you send off vibration according to your positive or negative thoughts, to which the Universe diligently answers to. Ask for a career that will allow you to utilize your coaching skills and make $100,000 a year -- and you've just gotten specific with the big "U"! Here's how to fine tune what you want, and let the Universe know what it is without a doubt: PUT IT ON PAPER! Get as specific as you can by using your imagination. Are you an entry level graphic designer who dreams of going into business for herself? Write down every detail you can think of, from the color scheme of your office to what a typical work day will look like. Once you're asking for a specific job, opportunity or salary, step out of the way. You've asked, and now it's your job to let the Universe deliver.

3. Have Passion

What matters more: Having the means to live an indulgent life (a closet full of designer clothes and taking frequent vacations), or being able to bring meaning into your everyday life? Love what you do and contribute your talent, skills and passion into your life everyday. Follow your gut. Develop your craft and take your skill set up a notch. In a job/career that you're not exactly passionate about? Project a helpful, compassionate exchange with your coworkers everyday, even if you haven't arrived at your dream job yet. The fact is, when you know what you want, ask yourself the right questions along the way, and always treat others with respect, you'll start to attract the kind of life you have always wanted. And, somewhere along the way, you'll discover that that 'dream lifestyle' wasn't about the destination, but all that you learned while pursuing it.

4. Disconnect

This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but disconnecting from the world, people and technology is essential to getting on purpose and making intentional decisions in your life. You need 'quality time' with yourself to recharge, reboot and reconnect with yourself. And this rarely happens when you've got your TV on, the iPhone attached to your ear and loved ones pulling you in every direction. Disconnecting from all of this and listening to your inner voice will reconnect you back to your purpose, your higher intention. Five to 10 minutes of alone time daily is one way to honor yourself and your intentions. This is not a selfish act, it's an act of self love and will fill you up, so that you can fill up others through your purpose.

5. Now, Reconnect

Now that you've had all that alone time, it's time to reconnect! Healthy, loving, supportive relationships with others is one of the single most important factors in living an authentic life. Relationships with others gives you positive self-worth, a place of refuge and support and can make you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. Here's the truth: we grow and evolve as a result of the relationships we have with others. Use these relationships as a catalyst for growth in your own journey to purpose and intention. Some of our greatest lessons in life come as a result of our relationships with others. Make them count!

So, what's it going to be? You can choose to remain asleep at the wheel and become a victim of the cards that are dealt to you. Or you can take back control and begin to make conscious and intentional actions every day that will draw you closer to the life of your dreams, the authentic life. The choice is yours, what will yours be?

To become an exclusive member of Toneka's Mindful Musings Community, visit www.tonekaetienne.com. There you can also download her FREE Daily Intentional Guide Sheet to help you take daily inspired action, and create an intention-based lifestyle. For more inspiration and motivation, follow Toneka on Facebook and Instagram.