One of the clearest messages I receive in my coaching practice – over and over again – is how AIP helps you make intentional choices. Intentional diet choices. Intentional lifestyle choices about things like stress management and prioritising sleep and getting outside in nature. Just more intentional choices, really.
1. done with intention or on purpose; intended:an intentional compliment.
2. of or relating to intention or purpose.
i) pertaining to an appearance, phenomenon, or representation in the mind; phenomenal; representational.
ii) pertaining to the capacity of the mind to refer to an existent or nonexistent object.
iii) pointing beyond itself, as consciousness or a sign.
It is perhaps the thing I love most about AIP as a framework.
No surprise that learning to make intentional choices forms the basis of my entire coaching practice, then.
AIP is about making good choices… Choices that serve you.
Your life comes down to the patterns you have on repeat; what you do most often. What you do over and over becomes habit. Those habits become your patterns, and those patterns become your life.
“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ― Sean Covey
And, over time, these intentional choices we make on AIP become habits. Intentional ones.
In my pre-AIP days…
I was a worrier. I worried so much, I even worried about my worrying. (and yes, I realise how silly that sounds)
If it could be over-thunk, I would over think it. Perhaps you can relate…?
- “Should I have said that?”
- “Could it have been mis-interpreted?”
- “Is there any way I could have done that differently?”
- “Did my tone offend? – I didn’t mean it that way.”
- “Was it good enough?”
- “Am I good enough?” (Often followed by, “I’m not good enough”)
- “Did I do the right thing?”
Side note: I didn’t know that my ‘worrying’ was really my word for ‘anxiety’
In my family, rational thought is celebrated. Large and loud displays of emotion make us uncomfortable. Understated affection, please. And, being the eldest child (and a daughter!) – eager to please and all that – I worked hard to deliver. I spent much of my life in my head. Being rational.
The thing about always trying to do the right thing, though – it means you sometimes forget to ask what is the right thing for you.
Post-AIP life is very different
The very nature of the AIP framework is based on self-care; placing enough value on yourself and your health to choose to make diet and lifestyle changes. Simply starting the protocol means you are already making more intentional choices. The process is a simple one, but not necessarily an easy one. It necessitates putting yourself first – not something that comes easily to many of us.
It is common for people to begin AIP thinking, “I’ll just give the diet a go and see what happens.” And then, over time, comes the realisation that the diet piece is actually the easiest piece. It’s quite prescriptive – remove potentially inflammatory foods and focus on nutrient density. (<– notice that this is very intentional?)
Them as confidence starts to build, AIPers learn to turn down the volume on external events that might impact an internal reaction. We start allowing ourselves to be vulnerable (as evidenced in when I shared my Hidradenitis suppurativa story); we start actually believing that we are enough – right now, in this moment. And, if we work hard, we stop worrying so much about what other people are thinking. (Here’s a good book for some strategies to further help with that.)
Drop from your head into your heart
If you are an over-thinker, like me – one easy strategy to break out of your head and stop the worrying is to simply drop into your heart. It’s a good way to start the process of making more intentional choices.
It’s also a SUPER easy way to break the circuit. Just shift your focus from your head – where you are analysing and applying rational thought to EVERYTHING – and drop it to your heart. Imagine you are in the physical center of your heart. It causes a change in perspective.
As you rest your attention on your heart area, see what you discover there. When your rational thoughts or (perhaps not so rational) emotions pull you away, just bring your energy back to your heart.
Even setting the conscious intention to rest more in your heart can shift the way you are perceiving the world.
Want some more help with being more intentional?
My Speedy 3- Minute Morning Ritual for Busy People will help you get into that heart-space when you wake up (and it takes less than 3-minutes!)
Here are 3 of my favourite Skills to Add to Your Health Toolbox Today. All 3 will help you to become more intentional with your choices.