Living With Intention- 5 Simple Steps

A favorite phrase I use when teaching fitness is by Joseph Pilates, (I’m paraphrasing) “Movement without intention has no value.” It’s impossible not to think of how that carries over into every moment of the day, if we’re living consciously or want to live consciously. Here are some ways that every day can have more value, more awareness and more intention in everything we do.

1. Breakfast- I find that if I start my day with a cookie (even a healthy cookie, and that does happen) the rest of my day is shot. I know there are many common sense reasons having to do with the chemical reactions in my body, but there is unequivocally a thought process for the rest of the day that says “oh well, I had cookies for breakfast.” On the other hand, if I start my day with eating a healthful, fuel-filled, nutrient-dense breakfast, I find myself craving healthy foods for the rest of the day. And worst of all, if I skip breakfast, I tend to have no appetite. Not eating breakfast (within 1 hour of waking) is the fastest way to gain weight and it’s so disrespectful to my body. Eating with intention is probably the most important thing we do because it fuels our lives.

2. Kindness- I love to listen to a positive, inspiring book on Audible on my way to work. This inevitably makes me a better person in every circumstance. It is my intention to be kind and helpful to everyone I see (even the person that cuts me off on the road), but it’s not always easy. Listening to positive messages of love and acceptance helps me to remember that the best I can be is when I find patience, understanding and positivity within myself and offer that to anyone and everyone else.

3. Exercise- If I can just do some intended movement before starting my day, I’ll move better the rest of the day. Being a fitness teacher is gift from that perspective, but I have a lot of days that I’m working from home or on the computer. Consciously getting up, moving and caring for how my body works makes me more productive, thoughtful, creative and free all day, even if I don’t break a sweat. I’ll do a plank to down dog, a back stretch, maybe some lunges and hip flexors stretches, any movement early in the day keeps my intention of moving my body in a healthy way on track.

4. Work- I work for myself, so staying focused and keeping productivity high is a must. Having a productive work day is kind of like having breakfast. If I start my day off with some work-related goals, I find I’ll not only accomplish those goals, but each goal leads me to several other things that add up to a very productive day and that helps me sleep better. Sometimes my best approach to work productivity is to make myself a list the night before on my phone and then I can check off each item through the day. It’s a great feeling when I’ve checked off every item and I’m ready for the next day, bring it on.

5. Sleep- Getting up early and to bed on time requires setting a schedule and sticking to it. Fortunately, I grew up on a farm, so getting up early was just part of the day. It’s carried over with me and getting up early makes going to bed early easy, because I’m tired. Sleep is truly everything to our health, positivity, energy levels, exercise and how our body metabolizes food. Stay busy during the day, break a sweat when you can and you’ll have a good night’s rest.

These may seem like simple things, and they are, but living with intention requires awareness in all of these areas of life and when we can set our goals and accomplish them, we are happier, healthier people with so much more to offer to this amazing world. I love the book from years ago “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” it’s so true, but live for the small stuff, it’s what makes the big stuff.

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