At the beginning of yoga class, the instructor asks us to take a deep breath and set an intention. All throughout the hour, we are to return to this intention, to hold it in our minds as we move through the poses. Initially, I sort of shrugged and thought of something (or nothing), but when I realized that setting this intention really did affect my mental state as I moved my body (and focused me), I realized how valuable setting an intention is. Usually I think of a word: joy, truth, trust, play, exploration, etc, and these words help me to focus on some element of my yoga practice.
With this in mind, I've been thinking about my intentions and my goals for the Barre3 Fall Challenge. Having an intention (or goals) to return to throughout the 28 days will structure my approach to the challenge, help carry me through the difficult spots, and keep me focused on building toward something.
The easy intention would be something purely physical: I'd like to be more toned, thinner, etc. However, that intention is too simplistic, and would not enable me to get the most out of the challenge. Also, it's boring, and it's increasingly something I don't care about (I'm a healthy weight, and I'm strong--who cares if I'm not as thin as that person over there?). So while I might find myself physically different after these four weeks, it'll be a side-effect, not a primary goal.
Instead, I have two intentions, one relating to my body and one relating to the food I put into my body. My first intention, thus, is challenge myself to move outside my comfort zone. I don't want to just do the same things over and over again because growth and change don't happen there. So, I'll be trying different workouts and talking about them here--exploring my own weaknesses a bit more publicly will definitely be a challenge, as will committing to regular workouts that are often frustrating because of my lack of flexibility or strength.
My second intention is to eat mindfully. I'm really bad, sometimes, about eating not because I'm hungry but because I'm bored, scared, unhappy, stressed, etc. So while I eat pretty well, I sometimes eat too much and not for the right reasons. My goal is to eat food that is delicious, nourishes my body, and for me to take the time to enjoy and experience the food I'll be making. Some of that will mean sharing a meal with someone else (not eating alone), and eating food that is exciting and enjoyable and satisfying, not just a means to relieve boredom or stress.
These intentions are pretty broad, but I think they'll help me keep the focus on the more emotional/mental side of health and wellness. I'm looking forward to discussing this challenge and participating with a great group of people.