Strong, Beautiful, Grateful, Deserving

by Michele Vinbury

We are faced with hundreds of choices a day, from whether to get up when the alarm goes off, to how to respond to the morning news, where to eat for lunch and how many books to read our kids at bedtime.  How we make these choices is one of the keys to living with intention and achieving your aspirations.

In my 20’s I became interested in heath and fitness, and through these pursuits, I learned the basics of goal setting.  To be effective, goals should be written, attainable, measurable and time bound.  I achieved some successes using this method, but it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I was truly inspired to put goal writing and intention setting into my daily routine.  I embraced this as a way of life, from fitness and health goals to parenting and personality aspirations, and was amazed by the results.

By putting some simple practices into place, I realized that I was capable of making things happen, and ultimately, creating the life I wanted to have.

I began by exploring my desires and aspirations and put them in writing.  I then placed a notebook and pen on my bedside table.  Every night I would write my goals down and also assess how I’d done with the goals I’d set the night before.  If I hadn’t attained a goal, or missed an opportunity to make a decision in line with my vision, I would, first, acknowledge it, and second, look for ways to be more successful in the future.  No need to dwell on a perceived failure or beat myself up.  I had also learned, through much trial and error, that long-term success is about progress, not perfection.

Upon waking in the morning, I would read my goals and then make a conscious choice about who I wanted to be…If the sky is the limit, what kind of woman, mother, yogi, athlete, friend, etc. would I most like to be?  I found it helpful to set an intention for the day and realized that by being clear about my vision for myself, by reaffirming my goals and intentions daily, decisions became more straightforward. Does this bring me closer to my vision, keep me in the same spot or take me further away from the person I want to be?

Let’s say I was working on a race or physical challenge goal (like a sprint triathlon or a 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge.)  I might have specific aspirations written regarding time, place, feeling, exercise routine and diet.  In the morning I would acknowledge in writing: “Today I choose to be a healthy, committed athlete.”  Usually, I would have more than one goal in play so my morning commitment to myself might be more like, “Today I choose to be a healthy, committed athlete and an attentive and creative mother and wife.”

When faced with a choice like macaroni and cheese or quinoa powerhouse salad,  my inner dialogue might sound like this “Ohhh, I haven’t had mac-n-cheese in a while and it looks especially creamy today…breathe…okay, tomorrow I may choose a different path, but for today, I’ve chosen to be a healthy and committed athlete, so I’m gonna have the quinoa.”  Or I might see if I could make a mac-n-cheese that would meet my choice to eat whole, healthy foods.  I learned to be careful about placing a value judgment on the macaroni and cheese or the quinoa as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  Instead, I learned to simply acknowledge that one choice was more in line with my goals than the other. “Which option brings me closer to living my vision?”

You cannot be on autopilot and successfully live out your intentions.  I think that speaks to why so many of us don’t realize how powerful we are – we assume that things “just happen”.  We miss opportunities to make conscious choices because we are not really paying attention.  We’re already on the second cookie (relationship, tv show, yoga posture) before we even realize we’ve finished the first.  This is how people wake up at x age and ask, “How did I get here?”

A yoga practice can be a tremendous help in actualizing your aspirations.  Yoga helps us to live with awareness and creates the space in which we can ask the question, “Is this who I want to be?”  It also allows us to feel into intentions and aspirations that are in line with our most authentic self.

Through practicing yoga and meditation I have found mantra to be an important tool to reinforce intention.  I often breathe in “love” and breathe out “gratitude.”  When running, I sometimes use a list of words that are related to my intentions, “strong, beautiful, grateful, deserving.”  For me, repeating those words over and over to a cadence invites them more fully into my awareness and is also inspiring, uplifiting and motivating.

So, you may be wondering, how exactly do you set an intention?  There are actually many ways, next time I’ll share with you how I go about setting mine.

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2 Responses to Strong, Beautiful, Grateful, Deserving
  1. Jenn

    This is beautiful and extremely inspiring! Thank you, and looking forward to your next post.

  2. pammy drake

    awesome blossom.