Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go.

—Louise Driscoll

I have been convinced that there are fewer practices as powerful as the development of an intention.

An intention is a path for you to take your mental, emotional, and physical energy. When you have clear intention, whether you are conscious of it or not, you are more likely to put your energy towards it, and not divert it elsewhere.

Intentions work best when they are repeated in different forms. Big, long-term intentions are best written down, and then read both to yourself, and read out loud. If you feel like sharing your intention with others, tell it to your friends or family, and make it even more powerful. Shorter-term intentions can just be thought inside your head, but they will be more powerful if you also say them out loud.

If you are have difficulty crafting an intention, here are some examples for your next ride:

  • This ride promotes the healing of my body
  • I ride and heal myself on all levels
  • All acknowledge my place on the road with courtesy and respect
  • I ride with courage and wisdom
  • I return home relaxed and refreshed
  • My bicycle moves smoothly through the stream of traffic
  • I spin well and my stamina grows
  • I learn something new on this ride
  • I feel strong with every pedal stroke

Longer-term intentions may be for when you’re on the bike or off of it. Examples could be:

  • I eat right so my body grows strong and fit
  • I complete [event name] with a sense of accomplishment
  • I am growing stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually
  • I appreciate my body

When you put together an intention, it is often helpful to:

  • Use the present tense. Not, “I will arrive at work relaxed and energized” but “I arrive at work relaxed and energized”. This reinforces that it is something that is unfolding right now, not something that will happen in some vague, unidentified future.
  • Use positive language. If you say, “I won’t tire out” or “I ride effortlessly”, your subconscious mind may just hear “tire out” or “effort”. Try “I ride with strength and ease”.
  • Be specific. Rather than say, “I have a good ride”, you might want to try, “I pedal with a strong regular cadence” or “I ride with joy in my heart”.
  • Be open to possibility. The flipside of being specific is that you might limit your experience. If your intention is, “I ride home in 45 minutes or less”, you might not notice the sunset along the way, so intent are you on making your time. Or you strain a muscle because you’re pushing yourself too hard.
  • This is a powerful tool, so craft your language carefully. A common desire of people taking up an athletic activity like cycling is to lose weight. So you might think your intention is, “I lose 10 pounds by the end of the year”. But your mind works in odd ways — you may end up losing those pounds by being sick and miserable, not by getting into good physical shape. So maybe you write your intention differently: “I fuel my body efficiently and healthily” or “I nurture my body in ways that benefit my whole being”.

What’s your intention when you ride?