My Goal to be M.I.A.

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Usually being M.I.A. (missing in action) is a bad thing, but this acronym has come to mean something different to me. I hope that by the end of this blog, you’ll adopt a similar mindset for yourself this week and use it to shape your healthy lifestyle goals going forward.  So what do I mean by ''going M.I.A.''? 

I read an excellent article called ''Mindful Mountaineer'' in Experience Life magazine recently. In it, author Jocelyn Stone talks about a man named Matt Walker, who conquered mountains on every continent, earned a master’s degree, and launched his own company before reaching the age of 40, and then wrote a book about his experiences. When I hear about people like this, I always wonder, ''What it is that they have that gets them this kind of success?  I want some!"

In the article, Matt mentions one of the biggest keys to his successes-- ''to be MINDFUL and INTENTIONAL in all your ACTIONS." Could it really all boil down to that? Three simple words that can change the outcome of your success, consolidated into one short acronym?  It struck a chord with me because when I am mindful and intentional with my food choices and workouts (my actions), things fall into place and I feel better.  When I’m not intentional, I end up missing workouts for something else I consider more urgent at the time, or eating something less than healthy because I didn’t have a better option on hand. 

Matt goes on in the interview to talk about the five key principles that he calls the ''elements of adventure'': (1) Seek the highest endeavors, (2) Embrace uncertainty, (3) Fully commit, (4) Tolerate adverse situations, and (5) Seek great companionship.  I trip up on at least three of these on a routine basis.  ''Embrace uncertainty''….honestly, how many of us do that?  It takes a unique personality and an ability to stand strong on ground that is uncertain.  Then go on to ''tolerate adverse situations'', and notice it didn’t mention anything about eating our way through that adverse situation. Finally, if I asked if you were ''fully committed'' to reaching your healthy lifestyle goal, would you be able to say yes? I know I have trouble with this one sometimes.  I find the other two easy--I seek a healthy lifestyle and that is a high endeavor in itself, and I have fantastic companionship with many SparkFriends. It’s the consistently mindful, intentional actions that I have trouble with.  Some days I reach all my goals in that regard, and some days I am unprepared.  I’m working on eliminating more of those unprepared days.

As Matt says in the article, you should live ''a life where you’re fully present and fully invested in all aspects of your life. Being fully engaged has a really different feel to it than being a passive participant''. When I’m fully present in my journey, I’m monitoring whether or not I have healthy food options in the fridge, pantry, and freezer.  I’m checking on the gym laundry and my calendar for my workouts.  I’m intentional on figuring out what I need to do in my workouts and when I can fit them into the myriad of other things I juggle.  I’m spending time on SparkPeople logging, interacting, engaging and being committed to friends who support me on my quest for health. When I’m a passive participant, I’m letting life happen to me, and then using that as an excuse as to why I didn’t do what I needed to do. 

If you’re reading this on toward the end of the week, are you being mindful, intentional and planning actions for a successful weekend?  That is when many of us have difficulty due to social engagements, events, etc. that keep us running and unprepared. Can you take a few moments right now to be M.I.A.?

My daughter always jokes about my purse. She refers to it as my ''girl scout backpack''.  One of the goals of the girl scouts is to be prepared, right? My daughter is never quite certain what I’ll be able to pull out of there, but when I’m being mindful I have healthy food options, a motivating read, and possibly a journal to make notes.  So today when we ran out of the house for her band practice, I paused to load my backpack with all of those things.  I wasn’t going to be passive and leave unprepared, and then later use that unpreparedness as an excuse to drive through or run into one of the not-so-healthy eating options we have within a couple miles of our house. 

Is it easy being mindful and intentional? No, not always, and some days I find myself living in barely contained chaos--you know, those days where nothing goes as planned and you have to tolerate the adverse situation and be able to embrace the uncertainty.  Starting today, I'm going to write ''M.I.A.'' on an index card along with the five elements of adventure and I will keep it in my backpack.  I’m going to remind myself to be intentional about my success, because it's worth it to me.

Will you join me this week in being M.I.A.?  What can you do to prepare yourself for a successful week?  What works for you when you need to get back to a mindful place?

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Wow, did you give me a lot to think about! Mindful, Intention, Action. Those will be my mantra from now on. If I let those words govern me while I try to achieve my weight loss goals, then there should be no reason for me not to achieve. Thank you very much for helping to make this journey simpler for me. Report
This blog "spoke" to me..... Report
Hey great blog!
Great advice! I think I'll print it to put on my fridge as a daily reminder. Report
Great information, and thoughtful commentary as well. Thanks. (Having a hard time staying on track with everything this weekend, so it was very timely). Report
I'm going to try and keep this in mind, especially for the upscomin weekend! :) Report
Good blog but with a military back ground M I A is still a bad thing and your version would never be the first thing I would think of when hearing those three initials Report
Just adding my own "thank you" to the list. This is one of those things that I knew and yet it is so easy to forget what we know about how we should be living when we get caught up actually living our daily life so well written reminders are very, very welcome.

Pema Chodron is a great teacher for the subjects of embracing uncertainty and not running from adversity and uncomfortable feelings in our life. Report
Very well said! Thanks for posting! Report
Love your words -- I have copied the mantra and stuck it on my computer, and have added it to my SP posting, giving you credit, of course. Thanks. Report
outstanding, saved and I will follow these tips! Report
Two of my favorite writers, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, talk about the power of intention. Check out their writings. Report
Thank you for sharing! Report
Yes I will very interesting some blogs I can wonder if ever going to end but this one is great couldn't stop reading it if I tried to get my husbands meds but I had to keep reading till the end it kept drawing me back to learn more I would give this blog 5 stars perfect good way of communicating with goals and how to process them I really loved this blog never thought about it this way well I am going to try it too thank you for sharing it Report
This is GREAT - thanks for posting. I'm headed off on a weekend trip that is likely to include LOTS of temptations to eat poorly and slack off on the exercise - now I feel "locked and loaded" to be MIA. Report
As many others have said, thank you for putting this on your blog. While reading I realised that I could be far more mindful in my life. I'm writing both the M.I.A definitions and the steps down in my diary and creating a desktop image for my computer to remind me. You've pointed out to me several ways in which I can help myself - even on those days where I'm struggling just to do my workout or my university study. My purse also resembles a girl scout back pack and I am extremely organised, but there are always areas that I can improve. Thank you so much for causing me to reflect on my life and my situation. Report
I like your blog. I was just reading an article in about making commitments instead of goals because goals we tend to fail but commitment require us to pause so we can be mindful and intentional in our actions to change. Aim = Act with intention mindfully. Report
Well said!!! Just this morning I was chatting with my workout buddy about this very thing of being disciplined (intentional) not just today or until the weight is done but as a life long commitment. Enjoyed your blog!!! Report
Some good things to think about. Makes me think of some other addages like "Failing to plan is planning to fail." The way you pointed it out, puts it all in a different perspective. Thanks! Report
AIM is a good one. I often find myself in this situation and have even blogged/journaled about it on my own page. If I'm not intentional and mindful I find myself in a situation with poor food choices and no time to workout. That constant awareness I think is what helps me to make the steps to success. Report
I relate to FELCZAN:
"associate bad things with MIA, so I think the I'll Act with Intention and Mindfulness. Or AIM to succeed!" Love that!!
Good blog. Thanks :) Report
Michelene, you spoke right to me today. This is a great blog and I am saving it to my favorites to review when the motivation is lacking (aka lazy). It's powerful reading and I know it will be a great help! Report
Thanks Michelene for the great blog...I saved it to my favorites and am challenged to embrace each day and it's challenges with a new perspective. I needed your thoughts for today!! Smiles Barb Report
such an awesome blog! It really got me thinking. Thanks!! Report
Great blog. Thanks so much for sharing this information. Report
Great blog and a really good reminder why we are here. Thanks Report
I associate bad things with MIA, so I think the I'll Act with Intention and Mindfulness. Or AIM to succeed! Report
Great blog. I notice for me if I get up a little early and do 30 min of stretching, squats and situps that it goes along way to keeping me MIA. Be well. Report
Really enjoyed this....and it's all such good advice! Thanks Report
Being MIA during the week is easy----weekends it's a challenge. Going to be MIA this weekend!!! Report
Great blog, definitely helpful. I agree that when I am organized and pay attention I can manage all aspects of my life so much better. M.I.A have to remember that! Report
A great read, as usual, Michelene! I'm loving M. I. A.! I do notice a difference in my days and weeks when I am being mindful and intentional in the things I do...from making sure my clothes are laid out for work, to getting my breakfast and lunch prepared the night before. There are those days when, for whatever reasons, I just kind of let the day happen to me. Those days I really struggle to eat well and avoid junk food, and those are usually the days when I'm the least active.

I think I'll leave little notes around my desk at work and around my home reminding me to be M. I. A.! Report
Michelene! Great blog and love the MIA! To me, MIA means taking me-time to be active... When I go for a run, even on a typical route, I look-listen around and I focus on the moment. I do the same for eating- I try to be mindful by making healthy choices and not letting myself be distracted. I look at my food and I savior every bite of it! I guess I am Missing in Action... not to comfortable with uncertainty but I will make room for it!
Thanks for sharing... Report
Thank you for this thoughtful reflection and good takeaway, Michelene. I also find that when I'm on top of things (e.g. being organized to have a healthy day or week), I feel better and more confident, and that appears to radiate. Last night at the gym as I was stretching post-workout, for example, a complete stranger asked me out for coffee! Now there's a tangible result for being M.I.A. Report
Thank you for taking the time to put this on your blog, it really has me thinking this morning! I too have now wrote down in my journal (which is in MY girl scout back pack) these important words!