There are so many ways to seek physical fitness. The quest for health, strength, endurance, and aesthetics can take us down a million different paths. Ultimately it becomes about finding what works best for us in our own lives. What sparks us to want to move? What makes us keep showing up? The answer won’t be the same for any two people, which is why it’s so important that we get really honest with ourselves and the commitments we make. How can we honor the intentions we set in a positive, effective way? I believe the answer lies in how mindful we are. Here are five categories where we need to be intentional.

#1. Frequency of Workouts

How many hours can you commit to showing up for each week? We need to be sure that we are dividing up the time spent moving our bodies thoughtfully. Each workout cannot be 100% max effort. How many of those hours can you dedicate to high intensity, and how many can you dedicate to pleasurable, deliberate movement?

#2. Energy Input vs. Output

Consider mindful movement as it relates with mindful eating. The way we’re able to move our bodies is a result of how we fuel our bodies. It can be easy to get swept up in all the diet crazes that are fed to us left and right. But ultimately the goal should be intuitive eating that serves our bodies’ energy needs. If we can adopt a mindset of eating for energy, we are then in a healthy position to go put that energy to good use!

#3. What Goals are Driving You?

Ultimately, we need a reason to hit the gym or modify what foods we are consuming. One easy question to ask yourself is this: am I doing this to look good or to feel good? Here’s the thing: once you are engaging in health and wellness practices because they feel good, the way you see yourself should shift towards the positive, too. A half hour on the treadmill isn’t going to change your eye color or dress size…but it will give you a rush of endorphins. Don’t waste that rush!

#4. Variety of Routine

One common pitfall is getting bored or stagnant with an exercise routine. Something that was fresh and exciting at first might start to feel boring over time. Some activities, such as outdoor running, are more seasonal in nature. So, it’s important to allow yourself to be open to new modalities. Observe when exercise starts to feel like a chore and take that as a sign that it’s time to shake things up!

#5. Self-Talk

Listen to the way you speak to yourself. Are you being kind? Imagine a child you love, or a person you care for deeply. Would you yell at them for eating a piece of cake or skipping a yoga class? Probably not. So why would you do that yourself? Give yourself grace. Give yourself love. This is where health and beauty come from.