Every day the first thing I do (after getting myself a cup of coffee, feeding the cat, and putting a load of laundry in the washing machine) is write down three things I’m grateful for in my bullet journal.
Starting my day off by thinking about what I am thankful for helps me focus on the good stuff rather than obsessing over things that can derail me. And it’s a reminder that in the big picture, I am pretty lucky.
In the past few months, though I have really been struggling with food.
I am not eating well. At all.
I have lost all discipline. I am mindlessly eating all day long. I am finishing the food my kids don’t eat.
When you have five kids at home, that’s a lot of food to be finishing.
I am eating when I’m not hungry. I am eating when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m stressed, when I’m angry.
I’m basically eating all the time.
I’ve gained weight, I’m exhausted, and I just feel like shit in general.
And I found myself saying the same things at the end of every day.
I’m not going to eat any crap tomorrow. I’m going to control myself tomorrow. I’m going to have some discipline tomorrow.
It doesn’t take long before I’m shoving a half eaten bagel or the crust of a pizza in my mouth without even realizing it.
So recently, I’ve started doing something else in the mornings in addition to practicing gratitude.
When you go to a yoga class, your instructor will often ask you to set your intention for your practice that day.
And I’ve been incorporating that into my morning routine.
I get up really early and I have a lot of kids at home. So I’m going to be tired every day.
But lately I’ve been exhausted. Often falling asleep while sitting at my computer, and almost always unable to function by the time 9:00 pm rolls around.
That is not how I want to feel every day.
I want to feel energized. I want to feel mentally alert. I want to feel nourished. I want to feel strong.
I have not been feeling any of those things. And I believe a lot of that is the result of what I am (and what I’m not) putting into my body.
I have been able to change this by setting a daily intention!
This has been my daily intention every day this week:
My intention for the day is to fill myself with food that nourishes my body and my brain.
I repeat that a couple of times before I do anything.
And then, I remind myself of how I want to feel every day.
I still find myself turning to food often throughout the day.
But every time it’s happened, I repeat to myself, My intention for the day is to fill myself with food that nourishes my body and my brain.
I look at the food I am contemplating eating, and I ask myself, Will this nourish my body and my brain?
The answer is clear every time.
Rather than focus on what I perceive to be missing out on by not eating that half a plate of unfinished pancakes or the rest of the cupcake at Number 6’s class Halloween party, I remind myself of how I want to feel later that day and tomorrow.
If it’s not going to make me feel more energized or more alert and if it’s going to make me feel bloated, uncomfortable or physically ill afterward, I don’t eat it.
This has helped me to be so much more mindful of what I am doing. And it has helped me think about the reasons why I am reaching for something — for anything — to shove into my mouth.
Living and eating with intention is changing my life. In a really good way.
I feel better about myself physically and emotionally. And this, in turn, is helping me move in the direction I want in other areas of my life. Professionally. In my marriage. As a parent.
Tomorrow before you get out of bed (or after y ou get that coffee) think about your intention for the day.
What is it you want for yourself? How do you want to feel? How do you envision your ideal day going?
Think about that, and then set an intention for the day.
My intention for today is to be patient with my kids.
My intention for today is to stay focused.
My intention for today is to be loving toward my husband.
My intention for today is to be kind to myself!
My intention for today is to give myself credit.
My intention for today is to move my body.
My intention for today is to practice gratitude.
My intention for today is to be positive.
Setting your intention for the day can really help you to stay on the path toward the day or the week and the life you envision for yourself.
Give it a try. You might be (pleasantly) surprised.
Because it’s really changed things for me. And it could really change things for you, too.