If you frequently find your mind wandering during exercise, you might benefit from setting an intention.
Although there’s nothing wrong with the occasional daydream, exercise is a great time to focus on aligning your mind, body, and heart.
By setting an intention, you can dedicate your practice to a particular idea or goal you hope to cultivate in your life. How beautiful is that?
In this article, we’ll walk you through what an intention is, and how you can use it to add purpose and mindfulness to your exercise.
What does it mean to ‘set an intention’?
In regular use, the word intention usually means ‘a plan or decision to act in a certain way.’ But, if you look at the full definition of intention (according to Webster dictionary), intention is a pretty powerful word.
Intention can also mean:
- what one intends to do or bring about
- a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
In our case, setting an intention means choosing one specific goal, will, or promise to focus on throughout your practice, and ideally for the rest of the day. By focusing on this intention, you can change your mindset and choose behaviors that support your goal.
Setting an intention is a common practice in yoga – often referred to as ‘Sankalpa’. However, you don’t need to practice yoga to set an intention. Anyone can benefit from the mindfulness that setting an intention offers.
How can setting an intention improve my work out?
Intentions can be a powerful focus and mindfulness tool for athletes or anyone on a fitness journey.
First, you can build a stronger connection between your mind and body. By using intentions to stay focused and present, you can be more attuned to the muscles you’re using, and if you’re pushing too hard, or not hard enough.
When you’re focused on your workout, you’ll achieve better results. You’ll make more precise movements and take more advantage of your range of motion.
Finally – using an intention throughout your workout will let you finish with a higher sense of achievement. Not only will you complete your routine with focus and a better mind-body connection, but you will have connected your exercise to a higher personal purpose.
How to Set an Intention
Intentions work best if you set them before your practice. You can take a moment in the dressing room or wait until you’re about to begin your exercise.
Either way, it’s important to find a moment of calm and stillness. Take a few deep breaths in and out before deciding on what your intention should be.
Intentions should be framed in a positive, affirming way and apply to bigger life goals and ideas. For example, don’t think, “I won’t be disappointed if I don’t reach my fitness goal today,” or, “I need to improve my focus.”
Good intentions might look like this:
- I intend to be in control of my happiness.
- I am enough.
- I exercise out of love for my body, not hate.
- I intend to experience greater levels of calm and serenity.
- I intend to live today with an open mind and heart.
- I intend to achieve deep and meaningful rest for my mind and body.
- I am worthy of spending time on myself.
Using Your Intention
Now that you’ve set your intention, you can begin your practice. If you ever find yourself feeling distracted, tired, or unmotivated – use your intention to anchor your exercise in a bigger personal purpose.
You can say it out loud or whisper it quietly to yourself – whatever feels right for you. After your intention comes to mind, take a deep inhale, powerfully exhale, and re-center yourself in the present.
Once your practice comes to an end, find another moment of stillness to repeat your intention to yourself.
Intentions are a mindful ritual that anyone can use – even on days of rest and recovery. It’s a great way to add mindfulness to your routine without committing to journaling, meditation, or other more intensive
If you have trouble remembering to set an intention, considering adding a physical element to your ritual. This could be anything from a personal totem to a self-care item like a CBD salve or tincture. Having a physical item in your gym bag or on your bedside table is an easy visual reminder to stick to your new habit.
After reading this, do you think you’d set an intention? What would your intention be? Let us know in the comments.