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Can you be goal driven and still practice Intuitive Movement? The short answer is YES! Absolutely. As long as you pursue goals with body respect at the forefront, they can be a great source of inspiration. And also, it’s complicated.

Why so complicated?! Because so often “goals” are rooted in diet and fitness culture. Which means it is and it isn’t quite as simple as saying, just make sure you listen and honour to your body along the way.

This blog is an attempt to explore how we can practice Intuitive Movement and chase down goals without falling into the vortex of Diet and Fitness Mentality. Are you ready?!

What is Intuitive Movement anyway?

At its core Intuitive Movement is about Body Respect. It’s about connecting with your internal body cues and letting them guide your movement. From the type, intensity and duration of your movement choices, to being present throughout so you can respectfully adjust course accordingly.

When I teach classes I use this cue to land in this body respectful place of Intuitive Movement. It’s simple (maybe it’ll resonate for you):

“Today I invite you to listen, honour and challenge your awesome body and meet your body where it’s at today. Not last week, last year or last time you moved, but today!”

So how does that pair with #goals? It all starts way before your sweat sesh.

Start with why

When you think about the goal you have in mind – ask yourself, why pursue this? What am I hoping to achieve in pursuing this goal? What does it offer me in terms of happiness and fulfillment? Does this goal reflect body respect? Will achieving this goal improve my overall health and well-being, or are there potential costs to this endeavour? Are those costs worth the win? Or not?

If there is any part of you that is pursuing the goal with an undercurrent of pushing, punishing or proving yourself – get really curious. What is that about?

Lead with body respect

If you’re clear that you’d like to take on this goal because you like a good challenge and it’s going to add to your overall health, happiness and fulfillment – awesome. Now comes the fun part. And the hard part. Especially if you’re more of a grit and grind through it kinda person.

Make sure the entire process is grounded deeply in Body Respect. From the training plan through to every single training session. Let’s break it down.

As you map out your training plan to achieve your goal, ask yourself:

  • If you’re following a training plan – is it built on sound physiologic principles? Ie. where’d you get it? Does that person know what they’re talking about? Are they qualified? Do you trust them to have your best interests at heart? Are they HAESĀ® informed/ weight neutral/ body positive (aka free from Diet Culture/ Fitness Culture mentality)?
  • Is this plan reflective of my current capability, with a small amount of “stretch?” Ie. Does it challenge me, but not crush me?
  • Does this work for my real life?! Consider ALL the things – work, family, community – does this plan work without making significant sacrifices to my well-being? How will me following this plan impact the people in my life? Am I ok with that? Are they on board/ in support?
  • Do I feel excited when I look at this plan? Can I see myself following through?
  • Will this plan potentially burn me out? Ie. what will happen on the “other side” of this plan? Will I be able to adjust course to maintain my overall health and well-being/ resume typical health practices? Or can I see myself “falling off the wagon” because I’ve burned myself out? What is the health cost of this? Is that worth the achievement of this goal?
  • Does this plan take into account my mental and spiritual health? Am I able to make time for good quality and quantity sleep and rest?
  • Does this plan incorporate sufficient rest – for me and my body/ mind/ spirit?
  • Is there flexibility within the plan to adjust course if needed for additional rest when required?
  • Would I want my child or someone I love to follow this plan? If not, why not?

Within your training sessions: practice attunement

Slow down enough to listen to your body. Create a routine of checking in with your body before, during and after your training sessions.

Before:
  • What does what’s on the schedule work for me today (body, mind and spirit)?
  • If not, can I somehow adjust course in a way that honours my commitment to the goal but more importantly my commitment to my well-being?
  • Do I feel inspired/ excited about it? It’s ok to feel nervous if it’s a challenging session – but is it “nerv-cited” or simply making you anxious?
  • If it’s making you overly anxious – how can you settle your anxiety? What do you need to know/ hear/ feel? What supports do you need to feel ready?
During:
  • Am I listening, honouring and challenging my body where it’s at today?
  • Is this bringing me joy? (for more tips on bringing the joy check out this blog)
  • Note: this might be the joy of experience (in the moment it’s joyful) or the joy of accomplishment (feeling proud for challenging yourself). Both are totally ok!
  • Am I in pain/ discomfort? If so, am I able to stop and address this?
After:
  • How do you feel? Energized? Spent? Exhausted?
  • If exhausted or spent – in a good way? Will it interfere with your ability to engage with your life for the remainder of the day and/or into tomorrow?
  • Am I excited/ looking forward to the next training session or looking at it with dread?

Overarching reminders:

  • Be cautious of hard deadlines – can you build more “wiggle room” into your plan so you have more space for grace?
  • Give yourself permission to rest when you need it. Sometimes rest is the healthiest choice and also the best choice for overall performance.
  • If you’re unwell or struggling with an injury – pushing through is not showing your body respect. Permission to pause and adjust course and your expectations at all times.
  • Remember that your body is unique and it will adapt to the training at its own pace. That might not be the pace of the plan as written. Empower yourself to adjust it to work for you. If you’re not sure how, ask your coach (feel free to reach out to me!).

Set a goal that aligns with your beliefs and values. Listen, Honour and Challenge your way to the reaching it. Be super you.

Looking for some support to chase down a goal? Consider joining us for the Move With Meaning OneRace. All proceeds from this charity event and training clinic go to support Haven Society. We kick things off March 29th. Join us!