Setting goals is an essential part of personal and professional growth. However, traditional goal-setting methods often focus solely on rational planning and intellectual strategies. What if you approached goal setting from a more holistic perspective, taking into consideration the mind-body connection? Enter embodied goal setting.

Embodied goal setting is a practice that recognizes the interplay between your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in achieving your goals. It acknowledges that your body is not a mere vessel for your brain but rather integral to your overall well-being and success.

I first began to use an embodied approach to setting goals after I became a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. Through this training, I had learned to listen to the messages that my body sends to me every day. It only made sense to allow those same messages to help me set my goals as well.

A popular time to set new goals is the first of the year. Why not listen to your body as you set those goals?

I also like to set goals this time of year. In January, I take the time to set goals and then create a plan to reach those goals. Of course, I listen to my body as I go through this process. I’ve found that I’m always more connected to my goals and much more likely to reach them because I’ve taken a holistic approach to goal setting.

So, what does an embodied approach to goal setting look like? I like to break it down into 5 easy steps. You can use these same steps anytime that you want to set new goals.

The Embodied Approach To Goal Setting

Step 1 – Tune into the body:

Embodied goal setting begins by reconnecting with your body and becoming aware of the sensations and signals it provides. By paying attention to your bodily experiences, you can gain valuable insights into your emotions, mindset, and energy levels. If you’re out of practice and not used to listening to your body, this might seem foreign. Don’t worry, with a little practice, you can begin to use this valuable tool to set your goals.

What does this look like?

Begin by moving your body. It doesn’t matter if its a walk around the block, some yoga or a dance party in your kitchen. Simply move your body for at least 5 – 10 minutes to start connecting to it. What do you notice? Any thoughts? Any ideas? Any sensations stand out?

Whatever shows up, it’s all valid and can be used as background information for setting your goals.

Step 2 – Identify your values and intentions:

Rather than focusing solely on specific outcomes, embodied goal setting emphasizes clarifying your values and intentions. What truly matters to you? What motivates you on a deeper level? By aligning your goals with your core values, you can create a sense of purpose and fulfillment in your pursuits.

After moving your body, take a few minutes to jot down how you want to feel this coming year, what you’d like to accomplish and even what you’d like to stop doing.

Step 3 – Engage the senses:

Engaging your senses can help you tap into the present moment and increase your motivation. Visualization techniques, using imagery and sensory details, can create a vivid representation of your desired outcomes, making them more tangible and attainable.

Throughout this process engage as many senses as you can and allow them to provide extra input into this process. Some people are more visual and some are more auditory. Maybe you need to get your hands busy in order to free up your mind. Do whatever works for you to engage your senses!

Step 4 – Take embodied action

Taking action is a crucial part of achieving any goal. In embodied goal setting, the focus is not only on what you do but also on how you do it. By bringing mindful awareness to your movements and actions, you can cultivate a sense of embodiment throughout the process.

After you’ve set your goals, make sure to continue to connect back to your body. Notice how you feel as you take action.

Step 5 – Listen to feedback

Your body inherently provides feedback through sensations and emotions. By listening to these signals, you can make adjustments and refine your goals accordingly. This feedback loop allows for a more intuitive and flexible approach to goal setting, maximizing your chances of success.

Let this be a cycle. Set a goal, take action and then notice the results. Listen to your body throughout the process and allow it to provide extra information that will help you to achieve the goals you set.

Benefits of Embodied Goal Setting

Embracing an embodied approach to goal setting has several advantages:

  • Increased self-awareness: By connecting with your body, you become more attuned to your emotions, needs, and limitations. This heightened self-awareness enables you to set more authentic and meaningful goals.
  • Enhanced motivation: Engaging your senses and vividly envisioning your desired outcomes can boost your motivation and drive. When goals are infused with sensory details, they become more compelling and inspiring, propelling you forward in your journey.
  • Improved well-being: Taking a more holistic approach to goal setting promotes overall well-being. It acknowledges the importance of balance and self-care while pursuing your aspirations, reducing the likelihood of burnout and stress.
  • Greater resilience: When you incorporate the mind-body connection, setbacks and obstacles become valuable learning opportunities. Embodied goal setting encourages you to listen to the valuable feedback your body provides, helping you to adapt and bounce back from challenges.

Achieve more goals!

I’ve been more successful in reaching my goals since I shifted to bringing my body into the process. Listening to my mind alone can lead me down a lot of different paths that usually aren’t a good fit for me overall. Bringing my body into the process has allowed me to really connect to what is most important and ignore all of the rest. I’m less distracted and more focused in my day to day life because I truly know what is most important to me.

My yoga therapy training taught me how to pay close attention to the messages that my body was sending me. Now, I use that knowledge to help others more deeply connect to their own inner messages. If you’d like to try this embodied way of setting goals, then set up a free chat with me. Let’s talk about how yoga therapy can help you achieve more of your goals.

Incorporating embodied goal setting into your life allows you to harness the power of both the mind and body. By embracing this holistic approach, you can cultivate more meaningful, fulfilling, and sustainable paths to achieving your goals. So, why not embark on this exciting journey and start setting goals that truly resonate with your whole being?

And remember, it’s never too late to live healthier & happier!

Becky is a Yoga Therapist & has been teaching yoga since 2006. She loves to match people with a yoga practice that helps them to feel better every day & believes that there is a yoga practice for everyone. Click here to sign up for her mailing list & get all of the important news & tips first!


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