acting intentionally

woman in pantryRecently, I found myself in a yoga class where the teacher presented a really interesting and timely message. Her discussion of alignment took a different turn than usual: it was not of limbs and body, but of thoughts and actions. She asked us to consider if the thoughts we have align with what we want to be putting out in the world. That is, does the version of ourselves we strive for (being pleasant, being kind, being supportive) match the actions we demonstrate on a daily basis.

I thought this was particularly poignant - at this time of year - and especially in terms of our health.

Each action we take in a day is a choice. Every action is influenced by a number of factors, including circumstance, other people, our mood, and the choices (for food or workouts, perhaps) that preceded this one. What comes from all of these is the spark: the moment between deciding to act and doing it, the activation of an action potential (for the neuropsychologically-inclined). That tiny moment is our opportunity to check in: to say, "Is this in line with how I intend to live? Is this choice moving me in the direction I want to go?". We are given that moment before each and every action we take. It's a chance to check our alignment, as it were, between the things we think and say we value (and want) and the way we move towards (or away from) them.

For example, in my own life, I've felt the draw towards eating something (let's say cereal) late in the evening. Intuitively - and empirically, because I've seen what it does to me - I know that this isn't a wise choice. It is a choice that will feed discomfort and regret, and potentially some self loathing (things I actively try to avoid). These move me away from my intention to feel strong, well, and confident. Not only that, but I aim to walk the talk of treating myself well and understanding what works for me.

In those moments of magnetic draw towards the cereal, I'm afforded a chance to ask myself if having it will move me closer to where I want to be, whether it aligns with my higher goals, or if this choice is counter to what I know and want to see in my life. I feel more empowered - and not at all deprived - to make choices in line with what I truly want.

If choosing the cookies or skipping a workout or bad-mouthing a colleague doesn't align with what your true self wants you to be doing, REASSESS. Is there another choice you can make? Where is the path to where you want to be? How can you get on it?

That check-in moment in between thinking and doing tests our boundaries and our commitment to what we say we desire. It shows us how clear our convictions about ourselves are. It's a brilliant barometer for both what's important and how much we believe we can achieve what we're after.

So check in. Ask yourself the questions that feel a little tough:

"Is this choice me?"
"Am I going in the direction I want to go?"
"How can I make a decision in this moment that will serve me?"
"What's the kindest thing I can do for my spirit right now?"

Get clear on any discrepancies between how you think and how you act. It'll make all the difference as you work towards your wellness goals.

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Posted in health coaching info, homepage featured, musings

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