By Lisa Caplan

Living with intent – what does that mean? To me, living with intent means knowing what you are doing and why you are doing it. In other words, most people go through life allowing life to happen to them, or making decisions based on what is expected by society’s norms. This is NOT living with intent. It is easy to get caught up in letting life happen to us without questioning how it can be different.

Another way to look at it is this: You can get through life as a passenger and watch it go by, or you can be the driver and decide where you are going. Whether you chose to eat healthy or eat fast food every day is not the issue. At issue is whether you put thought into life and live it with purpose. We have the power to construct our lives to be the way we want. It is not always easy to make changes, but it is always possible.

Tips for Living with Intent:

  • Recognize that your life is made up of choices. Rather than going with the flow, take a step back and look at the choices you have.
  • Think about what you want your life to be like.
  • Set an intention for your day. Each morning, before I get up, I take a few minutes to think of what kind of day I want to have; thus, I set an intention for my day. I acknowledge that I am responsible for my attitude,  and have found this helps to ground me and allow me to be in control of how I feel.
  • Look at the culture in which you live, and assess where you allow it to dictate what you do. Is it taking you in a direction you don’t want to go, or are you choosing a comfortable direction?
  • Look at who you are and what is important to you. What are you passionate about? What are your talents? What are your weaknesses? How do you want to incorporate all this in your life?
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique. Someone else might appear to have it all, but you never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. The only life you have control over is your own.
  • Goals help us move forward. Set goals and a time frame to meet them. Being specific about your goal will help motivate you.
  • Remove distractions from your life. There are so many distractions that take away from what is really important. Everyone has to decide what is distracting them. It could be a negative person in your life, your TV, or computer.  Take a step back and look at what is important to you and what you need to eliminate.
  • Create balance. List the things in your life that will help you feel balanced. Everyones list will be different. Some things to consider:
    • Relationships/ family/ friends
    • Health/ exercise/ eating healthy
    • Play/creativity
    • Spirituality/ religion
    • Work
    • Intellectual stimulation
    • Hobbies
    • Helping others
  • Decide to take action and then, take action. Once you have decided your goals and what is important to you, move forward. Take time each day to actively check in with yourself, so you can live your life in a way that makes you happy.

For assistance, please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling. We have a network of counselors throughout Maryland. Jim Quinn, Lawyer Assistance Director, (443) 703-3041,; Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, Associate Director of the Lawyer Assistance Program, (443) 703-3042,  Toll Free 1(888) 388-5459.


Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C has over 20 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma.