Intentions, not Resolutions, for Health

Our health journeys are a process, and so setting intentions becomes very powerful for creating change and transforming our health. There is no one number or goal that indicates health, and there is no perfect combination of food and activity that will keep us feeling good all day every day. Instead, we are in relationship with our bodies and minds, always learning better ways to support ourselves as we grow and change. 

Resolutions are promises to ourselves, often focused on external actions or results. Intentions, on the other hand, are more about process and the journey of how we move through our lives. Resolutions leave us feeling like we have failed, or broken our promises, which is discouraging. Intentions serve as sign posts, helping to guide our choices as we go. Because they are more process based, they are less about failure and more about learning new patterns. 

For example, if we are working on being mindful of how we feel when we eat, and we notice that orange foods like squash and sweet potatoes leave us feeling happier, then we can set an intention to eat more of them. If we set a resolution to eat them every day, or once a week, then we have set ourselves up to feel like we have failed when that schedule is too rigid for our regular lives. But if our intention is in place when we plan our meals, then we can set ourselves up for success by incorporating more orange foods into our planning. 

Other examples of health intentions can include prioritizing coming to somatics classes as often as possible, or deciding to commit to treatment for a longstanding pain issue (knee, shoulder, neck?) and making your first appointment. You can set an intention to take mindfulness breaks several times a day, or to drink more water. These are goals that look like paths to the horizon, helping you navigate the complex decisions you make each day so that you notice and celebrate your positive momentum. 

Intentions are important all year round, not just at the beginning of the year. It is especially important to pause a moment in the middle of one of the busiest times of year and assess. What could better support you right now? What kinds of health intentions could make next year at this time even better?