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New Year New You? How To Set Meaningful Intentions For Holistic Health and Wellbeing.

The New Year is considered to be a temporal landmark and creates an opportunity for what is known in psychology as a 'fresh start effect'. It is an opportunity to reflect on the trajectory we are on with our habits, relationships, mindset, etc. and ask ourselves, is this leading me to become the person I want to become?

If you are using the New Year as a temporal landmark for a reset, here are some important aspects to reflect on when setting intentions for the year.

1. What is it that you really want and WHY?

Be careful of chasing 'snapshots', especially snapshots that do not really have a why and/or a true impact on our holistic health....e.g. I want to look like that vs. I want to feel a sense of vitality (balanced energy) and feel confident and well in my of these intentions is chasing a snapshot that is not likely to lead to a sense of sustainable and holistic wellness. Take time to ask yourself why you want to work towards your goal.

2) What are the skills/habits that I need to develop and practice to align with my intention in order to become the person I want to become? What does this actually look like day to day for me and my life.

What skills will you practice that will help you achieve your goal. Also, what skills and practices will sustainably develop as habits in our daily life over time. It is our daily habits that build over time to create lasting change. Showing up and repeating behaviour leads to change. Try to break down your habits/skills to bite size, achievable tasks that easily fit into your life. Take time to crystallise what this actually looks like. ‘Meditating every day’ is not a very clear skill whereas, ‘I will get up, sit for two minutes in my lounge focusing on my breath and my body’ is.

This is also an important point to remind you that there are many contributing factors to health. If you want more energy, thinking about the different contributing factors to energy balance is important when developing your skills for practice. For example, sleep, nutrition, stress, mindset, etc. Try and pick a skill/habit across at least a couple domains to ensure you are holistically working towards your goal.

3) What are the barriers/challenges that will prevent me from doing this? How will I overcome these?

There will be spanners thrown into our lives occasionally and we will need to adapt. Furthermore, when tired and unmotivated, we will always have an urge to take the path of least resistance. New things require brain energy, so catch your traps in advance and have a plan.

4) Drop the 'all or nothing/good vs. evil mindset' and focus on continuums in order to achieve consistency over perfection?

The wellness industry can at times create unachievable/unsustainable ideals on what 'optimal health' looks like. Consistency over perfection is key here. Think of each skill/habit you are practicing on a continuum of 1-10. 1 = what is the minimum I need to achieve doing this habit today. 10 = what is the optimal outcome? For example, if you are working to build a intentional movement practice, a ’10’ for one person might look like going to the gym and doing an intense work out whereas a ‘1’ might look like going outside and doing some gardening or going for a ten minute walk. Write out your continuum so you have a plan to adapt when needed.

5) Who will support/mentor me on this journey? Who can I support and mentor on this journey?

As social beings, we all need support and connection to thrive. Choose your team well and do not be afraid to ask for support. Talk to people who inspire you with skills/practices that align with your intention. Furthermore, you are source of inspiration to others. Just by embarking on a new journey, you can provide inspiration to others. Encouraging positive lifestyle changes is of service to your communities.

6) Remember that your intentions are about honouring your worth, not achieving it? Start with and maintain gratitude/acceptance throughout process.

This is a critical point - you are already worthy….right now, in this moment. When we chase goals from a place of unworthiness/lack, we will likely remain chasing and never really feel a sense of true satisfaction and acceptance. Being here on this planet is a gift. You were born with 100% worthiness and no matter what you choose to do with your time here, you are always worthy. When setting intentions, do it from a place of honouring and nourishing your worth rather than achieving it. Life is fragile and sacred - taking care of ourselves is an act of service. To help you focus on the process and cultivate satisfaction along the way, practice gratitude regularly - daily if possible. The smaller the thing you identify gratitude for the better.

7) Not quite in zone to set some New Year's intentions this year? No problem.

The New Year is not the only temporal landmark that can assist with leveraging a psychological opportunity for change. You could use the start of a week, your birthday, a new month, or tomorrow. The point is to start and commit to a time frame of consistently practicing your skill to build a habit that will shape who you become over time.

Regardless of whether you set intentions or not, remember to take time to nourish yourself this year and be well.

Ngā mihi nui,


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