In my yoga class each week our teacher suggests we individually set an intention (or phrase or mantra) for what we want to focus on during class. It is a hot yoga class, meaning the temp is between 95 and 102, so without a specific focus it would be really easy to focus on how very hot and sweaty I am the entire time instead of all of the positive benefits. One I choose often is “peace of mind and strength.” So instead of getting bogged down in my sweatiness, by having this intention or phrase in mind I am reminded of why I am there and what I hope to achieve.
So I got to thinking that this same concept can be applied to food and physical activity. Setting an intention for yourself when it comes to eating and activity can help give you focus and bring light to the deeper reasons you want to live healthier.
Intentions, to me, are different than goals or goal setting. Both are important but different. Goals, especially setting small, actionable goals gives you specific doable things you can do day to day to reach a larger overarching health goal – like reducing your cholesterol or weight loss. An intention though is more like a guiding phrase or principle that can give you direction.
A friend shared with me that her guiding phrase or intention in regards to food and eating is “food is fuel”- meaning she wants the food she eats to give her energy and help her live the life she wants to live. Another one she repeats to herself often is “my body is a temple.” This is a great one! Do you honor your body with what you put in it or how much you move?
Smaller, more focused intentions can also be helpful. For instance, one way of becoming more mindful in your food choices and how much you eat at a meal might be to set your intention before you start eating to feel better after you are done than when you started. This can help you to pay more attention to how you are feeling while you are eating and help to give some awareness to stopping before you become too full.
Especially during this typically off schedule Summer time it is important to set an intention for yourself to help remind you of what is important to you and why. When you set an intention, and maybe even write it down and put it somewhere where you can see it and repeat it often, it can serve as a regular reminder of why maybe making that healthier choice at a meal matters to you or why getting off your rump and going for that walk or going to do that class is the right choice for you.
What is your intention with your health? What phrase or mantra could you come up with that might act as a positive guiding reminder to give you focus in regards to nutrition and activity? Feel like sharing? Find me on Facebook at Anna Jones, RD and let me know what you come up with.