By Heidi Butler, Contributing blogger
“Our life is shaped by our mind, we become what we think.”
Mindfulness is a practice utilized in yoga to focus your attention on the present. While normally associated with meditation, this way of thinking can be used in all aspects of life and has proven success in reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, decreasing pain and helping one to center their goals.
Whether your fitness objectives include losing weight, becoming more toned or just increasing your activity levels, implementing mindfulness into your everyday routine can help you turn these desires into realities.
#1 - Pinpoint Your Goals and Put Them On Paper
Did you know that you are over 40% more likely to attain your goals if you actually write down? By putting pen to paper you are completing the first step in turning a thought into a reality.
Mindfulness means living in the moment and realizing the impact of what you are doing now and how it will help you in the future. The past doesn’t matter. Failures do not matter. All you can do is alter your current habits and move forward.
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and your goals won’t be achieved in that time frame either. Health and fitness goals are a culmination of months , if not years, worth of work. That means dictating what your daily, monthly and year long objectives entail. Additionally, it is imperative that you realize that we all have setbacks and that is okay. Live in the present and work towards your resolutions day by day.
#2 - Why Are You Doing This?
If your goals are for anyone besides yourself, then you will likely never accomplish them. Another practice of mindfulness is accepting and loving yourself. Why are you doing this? If the answer is that it will truly make you happier, then make it happen!
#3 - Stretch
Whether you are twenty five or sixty five, stretching is something that you should be doing every single day. It enforces flexibility, in turn, improving range of motion and decreasing the likelihood of injury. It also gets your blood flowing and reduces stress and tension.
Take five to ten minutes each morning to pause what you are doing and elongate your muscles and your mind. Take deep breaths. Every new day starts better with positive thinking. Clear your thoughts and pinpoint your priorities!
Why is today going to be good?
What one small thing I am going to do today to work towards my goals?
#4 - Enjoy Eating!
Unfortunately, many people equate weight loss goals with eating less and only consuming bland, unappealing food. This does not need to be the case! In fact, by cutting everything good out of your diet, you are setting yourself up for failure. Even if you do reach your weight loss goal, most people will divert right back to old habits, which leads you right back to where you started.
Use this time to not only achieve goals, but to attain new skills as well. Cooking is an artform and the best chefs create culinary masterpieces with fresh and healthy ingredients. Mealtime should be a time to excite your taste buds and indulge with each bite. Instead of reaching for a frozen option, take time to meal plan for the week.
The key is being mindful of what you are eating, paying attention to when you are full and not eating just to eat. If you don’t like something, leave it! If you aren’t hungry, don’t force an unnecessary meal.
#5 - Be Present in Your Workout Routine
A workout should never turn into something your dread. Figure out what you enjoy and use that process to reach your mark. Before you start there are some things you need to determine.
Do you need someone pushing you or would you rather go about it solo?
If you need someone motivating you along the way then consider trying some workout classes or look into getting a trainer! A lot of people lose sight of their fitness goals because they are going at it alone. Classes allow you to find others who are going through the same process and struggles while providing you some comradery!
Do you have injuries or ailments that will hinder certain activities?
Don’t use afflictions as a crutch. Yes, there will be some things that you cannot do, so modify your workout! Swimming is an excellent activity that doesn’t put stress on your body like other activities. Be mindful of what you feel and what you can and cannot do and adjust accordingly.
What kind of workouts have you already tried that you hate?
Do you hate running? Did you feel like you were dying in that HIIT class you tried two years ago? Then find something new! There are so many spectacular ways to stay fit that you can actually take pleasure in! This is not meant to be a punishment. It is you taking care of yourself and that is spectacular!
Do some research about options that you might enjoy and take part in the many free trials that various gyms offer. Once you find something that is right for you and what you hope to achieve, be present in that moment! Turn off your phone, forget about work, school, your kids or whatever may be plaguing your mind at that time and center yourself on what you are doing right now. Focus on your movements, how they make you feel and focus on your breathing.