I recently shared on Instagram TV that I've been setting intentions before my workouts, and the effects have been really powerful for me.
"Release Tension, Set Intention"
In his book High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard shares the tool of "Release Tension, Set Intention" when transitioning from one task to another, or from one area to another (home to office, office to home, meeting to meeting, etc.). The idea is to release what happened before, and become present in this moment and set an intention for how you want the next task or time to go.
I really loved this tool, and began using it often - and I found it especially helpful before my workouts - here's how it goes for me:
1. Either on the way to the workout or right when I get there, I ask myself how I feel - I take stock on how I feel physically (muscles, body, digestion, cycle, tension, hunger, thirst, energy levels), mentally (stressed, balanced, tired, wired), emotionally (where is my heart, my gut, anything weighing on me).
2. Based on these findings, I set my intention - to sweat when I feel great all around, to develop a skill or movement pattern when I may not have the physical energy to complete an intense workout, but my mental clarity is there, to address my personal postural discrepancies, to focus on stretching or strengthening, to focus on breathing or body position, etc.
Seems tiny right? But this small shift has made a huge impact on my sustainability in exercise, my confidence in myself, my inner thoughts, and my self-discipline.
Exercising 3x per week for 45-60 minutes is a habit of mine.
Moving my body in some way for at least 30 minutes a day is a habit of mine.
So on days when my findings state stress, fatigue, sadness, or pain - I still show up for myself. I still grab a mat and roll it out and do something - even if it's breathing on all 4's for 30 minutes. I choose myself and time with my body. I choose to drop in to how I feel.
Mental & Emotional Health
When I choose to drop in, I am saying no to numbing out, to running away, or to avoidance. I'm saying no to Netflix, Social Media, and housework.
I am saying yes to me, to my needs, to my whole person - yes, this doesn't feel good, but you can't run. Yes, this hurts, but we have to sit with it and then move through it.
When I commit to this time, I am also committing to my mental and emotional needs, because it's really all the same for me. When I am sad, I don't feel well physically and I have no mental energy. Move through it. When I am happy, I feel good, I have energy - move with it.
The joy of movement, the gratitude of a body that is healthy, the gratitude for making time for myself, and making my health a priority is the easiest gateway for me to connect to my deeper self, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.
Choosing healthy movement means honoring where you are in that moment. It's not to be used as means to push through, push past, avoid, or ignore - it's important to drop the ego, and do what serves you.
This is how we keep exercise sustainable. This is doable, and this so much more than movement.