fitness · habits · motivation · self care

Go Team! January 8: Powerful Attention

Last year, I wrote about how Adriene (of Yoga with Adriene) asks us to ‘give attention’ to things we find challenging or to the muscles that we want to relax or strengthen instead of directing us to ‘work’ on them.

I still love that concept and turn of phrase. Giving attention to something is kind. It’s gentle. It’s responsive. It’s not about bossing your body or your mind around, it’s about listening to what your body or your mind is telling you.

It’s a very useful and supportive way to support yourself as you develop new habits that serve you better.

And I’d like to build on that idea by borrowing an idea about attention from Taekwon-do.

In TKD, we channel our power by ‘moving the eyes, hands, feet, and breath in a single coordinated motion’ and to ‘look where you’re striking.’

That advice is there to remind us that where our attention goes, our power goes.

If we’re looking off to the left while our right hand is striking or blocking outward, we aren’t going to be very effective. We will either miss our target or we won’t be able to protect ourselves from our opponent’s attack.

By paying attention to the task at hand, we are able to be as effective as possible.

This is also true when you are building a new habit.

I don’t mean to suggest that you need to make your whole life about that one thing, that’s not sustainable.

I am suggesting that choosing to give yourself attention will direct your power, your energy, into meeting the need that your habit represents.

After all, we don’t pick these new habits out of nowhere, we are choosing to meet a need. Maybe we do yoga because we feel the need to reduce pain or to move with more ease. Perhaps we are meditating because we need peace of mind. Or we’re doing bicep curls because we need that feeling of strength. Those habits, those actions, are about giving our attention to that need.

Making the connection between the need, the habit, the choice to give ourselves attention, and the power that comes with that directed attention, will serve us well as we move forward.

So, today, I’d like to invite you to choose, with kindness, how you will give yourself the attention you need and I hope that you feel the power that comes with that attention.

And, of course, here is your gold star for your efforts today. Whether you are figuring out how to apply your attention, if you are blasting through another workout, taking a few deep breaths in your car, choosing to rest, making a list, or doing a stretch for that sore ankle. It all counts. It all matters.

A drawing of a gold star on white paper. The star is outlined in black.
In a surprise to no one, I also draw a lot of gold stars. It’s imperfect but it is embracing its wonkiness. And so am I. Image description: a drawing of a gold star on white paper. The drawing is done in shiny ink and the star is outlined in black, there are short gold lines drawn outward from the star to suggest that it is shining.

For the second year in a row, I’ll be posting a Go Team! message every day in January to encourage us as we build new habits or maintain existing ones. It’s cumbersome to try to include every possibility in every sentence so please assume that I am offering you kindness, understanding, and encouragement for your efforts right now. You matter, your needs matter, and your efforts count, no matter where you are applying them. You are doing the best you can, with the resources you have, in all kinds of difficult situations and I wish you ease. ⭐💚 PS – Some of the posts for this year may be similar to posts from last year but I think we can roll with it.