Goal Setting

Flight Path


Have you ever been heading in one direction, chatting away and suddenly found yourself somewhere unexpected?

You could ask yourself this question about a time you may have been merrily following the crowd, walking or driving on a motorway, OR you could ask this question in relation to your health and wellbeing.

Merrily going through life and suddenly realising you were overweight, are heading for burn-out, hate your job, addicted to your phone or have no relationship with your spouse and kids?

I believe, in the same way, that no-one ever sets out to find themselves in a different location than they intended,  no one sets out to become overweight, burnout, or starts a career they know won’t fulfil them. No-one intends for their phones to feel like an extra limb, for their job to rob them of their family, or to grow apart from the people they love the most. But it happens. More often than we would like.

The law of momentum goes something like... “everything will continue on its current path unless something else pulls or pushes it off that path” (Sorry if I’ve offended any physics experts with my naive explanation!).

This means, once we set out on a path, in theory, we should stay on that path indefinitely! That’s a little like what we see when we watch astronauts float around in space. So why don’t see that here on earth?

Because there are usually other forces at play at the same time. On earth, we have gravity which is a force that is always pulling us towards the ground. This may seem like a strange concept, but if we take a second to stop and think about it, we’ve learned to overcome it from only a few weeks old as we learn to hold the weight of our head up, and every day since, use our muscles to create counter forces that push and move us up and on when we need to.

Now, we simply take adjusting for gravity for granted - Can you think of the last time you stopped to think about the effect gravity was having as you went about your day?

We rarely notice many of the forces occurring every day that subtly distract and pull us off course, even by one degree. One tiny degree from 360 degrees off course might not seem like much, but if a rocket was launched into space only 1 degree off in its flight path, it could miss the moon by around 6,700km! That’s twice the diameter of the moon itself!

We tend to only notice the sudden effects of outside forces when they seem to come in suddenly, and from no-where, for example two cars coming from opposite directions in a head-on collision, a heart attack, type 2 diabetes or a cancer diagnosis, or we eventually notice the cumulative effect after a period of time.

The only way to prevent us from ending up somewhere we’d rather not is to stop and check our current “flight path”  regularly.

If you want to be intentional about anything, try doing these 5 steps!

  1. Start with the end in mind; Ask yourself, if you could move your life forward by 10 years, what would you want it to look like?
  2. Check your current co-ordinates; If you continue ‘going with the flow’, where you are currently heading?
  3. Is that where you intended to head?
  4. If there is a difference? Try and identify what force is pulling you off course and make adjustments accordingly.
  5. Rinse and repeat regularly.

Being intentional about these steps will mean you can’t go too far off course before you notice, and can then choose to make adjustments.

If your flight path is off and you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below.


Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

Photo Credit : SpaceX

Feel Like Giving Up?


Photo Credit :Lucy Trevatt

As we approach the January halfway point, I wonder how your new year resolutions, disciplines or goals are going? Are you making progress and celebrating your success along the way, or perhaps the novelty is beginning to wear thin and any changes are feeling hard? Have you been tempted to give up yet? If so, we want to encourage you today.  

Although making changes in life sounds relatively simple in theory:  ‘you stop/start doing something new’, in reality, and in practice, it is actually quite hard!

We are hard-wired to be efficient, to stay safe and to conserve energy.   Making change requires a lot of willpower, risk and effort.

Making changes to any existing habits, disciplines or routines, is not easy, but here are 3 things that might help in reaching goals or adopting new disciplines or resolutions for this year.

1 - Remember your ‘why’

Ask yourself “Why did I(start/stop/fill in the blank) in the first place?

Rarely does anyone attempt to make change lightly. It is usually only after something becomes so unbearable, or something else becomes so compelling, that we feel change is necessary.

Once we begin to make changes in the new and improved direction, the ‘unbearable’ can quickly become a distant memory, yet the ‘compelling’ still remains a long way off, despite all our efforts. It is then that it is often much easier to settle back into old routines and comfortable, safe old habits.

Going back to remind ourselves why we wanted to make any changes in the first place, can really help keep us motivated during this time, especially until the new behaviour becomes an unconscious habit.

2 - Create an environment of reminders

Once we have established our motives for change, putting meaningful reminders front and centre of our everyday activities is really important.

Things like; putting pictures of what ‘success’ might look like on our bathroom mirror to look at while teeth brushing, writing encouraging notes and sticking them on the fridge and make tally charts or scorecards to record every time we make small steps in the right direction, can all help.

Sharing our successes with others or inviting others to ask how we are getting on when we next see them can also help keep us accountable.

3 - Accept failure when it happens

Perfection is an illusion. Failure is inevitable, and never more so than if we have set ourselves the “perfect” picture of how we will change or how easy it might be.

If we chose to humble ourselves and accept that a degree of failure as a likely option, we can be intentional in exploring and creating a plan for how we will overcome those obstacles before we are faced with the potential reality.

If we aim for perfection, we don’t accept failure as an option, and it will be much harder to start (and therefore put ourselves at risk of failure) to achieve our goals in the first place, and we are more likely to give up altogether.

So this week, if you feel like giving up, please remember why you started, put reminders of that on your fridge, and when you mess up, remember that success only comes after you get up one more time than you failed! 

Keep pressing on and don’t give up!

If you've been thinking about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities - now is the best time for that too! ;-) 

If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about how you love to laugh.

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The impact of a grain of rice?


Photo Credit :Julien Pianetti

I heard a story last week about a grain of rice, a king and a chess board.

The king offered a reward to a man who was in his debt. The thoughtful man asked for a single grain of rice, doubled for every square on a chess board. So, 2 grains for the first square, 4 for the next, 8 for the next, 16 for the next, and so on. The king was initially insulted as this didn't seem like much of a reward - until he was later informed by his staff that to honour this reward required more than all the rice he had in the country!

I have no idea if the story is true, but it resonated with me because it emphasised the seemingly insignificant impact of something small, as well as the surprising, cumulative compound impact of consistently repeating small things.

At the start of the new year, we can tend to think about making big, new year resolutions, and for some people who prefer an all or nothing approach, that works!

If that is you, well done! and do keep going!

But as the rest of us mere mortals begin to feel the strain of big resolutions,  I would like to suggest that, instead, we think about reducing some of those big hairy audacious goals, and focusing instead on just making one or two very small and achievable changes.

Changes that are seemingly easy and sometimes seem almost too good to be true, perhaps even as insulting as the king would have thought.

If we have struggled in the past with making bigger goals, I wonder, In 2018, what would happen if we gave ourselves permission to stick at smaller, more consistent changes, whilst also putting ourselves in the way of good things?

Instead of giving up all alcohol, we intentionally start the day with a glass of water and have at least 2 dry days a week.

Instead of giving up food altogether, we intentionally have a piece of fruit at breakfast and limit the chocolate to one small bar over the week which we really savour and enjoy.

Instead of giving up swearing, we are intentional in seeking out one or two opportunities to be kind, to say something positive and encouraging to someone, and set up a charity swear fine box for everytime you do let something blue, or negative slip out.

Instead of planning an hour reading or meditating, we start by being intentional in sitting quietly for at least 5 minutes every day before breakfast. 

Instead of giving up the couch and declaring to run a marathon when we haven't yet run a mile, we're more intentional about going for a minimum of a 20-minute walk every day, taking the stairs or getting off the bus a stop earlier than necessary.

When we can make one or two of these, seemingly small but consistent and repeated daily choices, rather than attempt to go all out on crash diets, crash exercise plans and unachievable marathon goals, we actually make significant progress in the long term. Real, sustainable, life-changing progress.

Because we are creatures of habit, each one of these new small behaviours soon become unconscious habits; become part of who we are, the normal way for our future-self to live.

Before we know it, we could even find ourselves becoming the person who can enjoy a glass of wine without getting drunk, able to enjoy chocolate without eating to excess, become the person that can sit quietly, and who edifies and encourages others we meet along our journey. Who knows? We may even find ourselves training to run marathons!

All resulting in a healthier, happier life.

If you want some help to start you on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below.

If you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!

We'd love you to get in touch and share any resolutions, large or small, that you are making progress with!

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Happy, Healthy 2018 from Intentional Health


Happy New Year!

No blog today, but the lovely Helen Gardner - a coach from Liskeard was chatting about Intentional Health on her local radio station just before Christmas.

You can hear her interview here :)

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Back on the blog next week!


unsplash-logoPhoto Credit:NordWood Themes



Photocredit:Ricardo Gomez Angel

Taking the first step towards a new healthy lifestyle, or indeed any goal can often be the hardest.

Once you have taken that first step you will have momentum on your side, and the fear of the unknown is quickly replaced with learning that you can do something for the first time. This early success can also encourage and motivate you to keep going.

However, there comes a point after you have started out on your new journey where you haven't quite got the essential long-term established habits in place to sustain you in your new Intentional behaviour. Although you may have come a long way, the end is still way out of sight and it is easy to wonder if you will ever make it and reach your goal.

Seth Godin refers to this as 'the dip',  and devotes a chapter of his short book to say 'If It Is Worth Doing, There’s Probably a Dip'. We know investing in our health and wellbeing is worth 'doing', and we know it is easy to give up in the moment or in the dip.

This 'dip' is the point where we are most likely to ditch the healthy eating option on the menu, put the extra treats in the shopping trolley, have just 'one more' when we know we shouldn't or miss yet another gym session. It doesn't take long before we find we've quickly reverted back to our old 'default' or 'previously learned' behaviours. For some, this is the point where you might be most tempted to give up altogether. In fact, Seth Godin goes on to say, that most people do give up at this point.

Here at Intentional Health, this is the time we see the most benefit in 'scaffolding'

We think of scaffolding as additional external support. It provides support that is outside of yourself and is most helpful when inside you may feel like giving up. It can support you through 'the dip' and is required for just enough time to prevent you from stopping altogether with the intentionally healthy plans until you can do it on your own again.

Scaffolding outside of yourself can take many forms, including things like a checklist, an App, friends, and colleagues, church family or a wider community group, including our own 10 session Intentional Health programme.

There are just 3 parallels to be aware of when looking for 'scaffolding';

  1. Just like on a building site, if you wait until you need scaffolding to arrange it, it will most likely be too late!
  2. Scaffolding doesn't actually provide physical support, it enables access to otherwise not as easily accessible parts.
  3. Scaffolding becomes ugly if you rely on it for longer than you need! (Think about a building that has been finished for a while but the scaffolding hasn't been removed)

With September being the start of a new school year for many, it's a great time to set a new goal. Just make sure you are just as intentional about having your scaffolding in place for when you need help to get you through the dip.

Later this week we will be sending out information to church leaders to join us in our next round of Intentional Health training for community-focused churches taking place end of Oct/Nov 2017. If you'd like to know more when we open registration, please fill in your name and email address below and look out for an email later this week!

Hi, I’m Jo and I hate running...


Today's post is from one of our Trustee's Jo, sharing her three biggest takeaways from the recent Intentional Health webinars... Hi, I’m Jo and I hate running.

At school, I would get out of PE whenever I could and walk the cross country course each year (most probably) causing my house to lose the sports cup yet again!

Fortunately, my daughter didn’t inherit my genes. She loves all sport and is very competitive. For the past few years, she has been pleading with me to run a Race for Life with her like her friend and her mum. I have been very good at making my excuses.

Last year my husband ran the Great North Run and we all went to support him. As part of the weekend, they also hold a Mini Great North Run for children the day before. Last year we watched it and this year my daughter is signed up to take part. As she is only 8 she needs an adult with her. To try and earn some Mummy points I agreed to run it with her. It's only one mile! What could possibly go wrong?

For this week’s blog, I want to tell you my 3 takeaways of how the recent Intentional Health webinars have helped me.

1. Set a Goal So I have my goal. On the 9th of September, I will be running one mile with my daughter. Now if you remember I hate running. I don’t run. I do anything I can to get out of running.

In May this year, I had a realisation that the Mini Great North Run will be full of loving (sporty) parents running one mile with their children as a little warm-up for their big 13.1 miles the following day. They probably won’t even break out into a sweat. Now I had two choices – hand over the mantle to my husband or start some training. I’d made a promise to my daughter so I got training.

For those of you like me who don’t run I’d really recommend a great little podcast. NHS Couch to 5k. The first week all I had to do was run for one minute then walk for one minute and this repeated 8 times. I struggled and I mean really struggled. My legs hurt, I couldn’t breathe but I did it!

The first week all I had to do was run for one minute then walk for one minute and this repeated 8 times. I struggled and I mean really struggled. My legs hurt, I couldn’t breathe but I did it!

2. Scaffolding Now after that first week I was ready to give up. I was struggling to run for one minute, how was I ever going to reach a mile? My husband knew I was running but I also told some other close friends of my plans. It would be very easy to give up if just my husband knew but letting my friends down would be a different story.

Each week I would message my friends to tell them when I was intending to go for a run. I would then have great delight in sending them a sweaty picture of myself having completed it. I stated this right at the beginning of my training when I was only running for one minute at a time, so no major distances but each time I was accountable to them as well as myself. Some mornings I really didn’t want to go and could have very easily made an excuse not to, however, I had to run otherwise I would also be having to make excuses to my friends as to why I hadn’t gone. In return, my friends would also tell me of their intentional plans to exercise and send equally sweaty and embarrassing photos back!

3. What happens when things go wrong? Couch to 5k works by increasing your running time by a short amount each week. The first few weeks went really well. Then one week I really struggled with the increased running time. I spoke to someone who is a personal trainer and she reassured me that a lot of factors can influence your running and if I was really struggling to just repeat a week. As it happened I then came down with a nasty virus that knocked me out for 10 days.

I’d now had two weeks out from running and before the virus was only up to running for about 5 minutes, I was still very far off my goal of one mile. I now had two choices. Give up and hand the mantle over to my husband or carry on. Remember in place I have:

My goal – To run one mile with my daughter

My Scaffolding – My friends who know my goal and have been cheering me on and asking how my running is going.

So I put on my trainers again and repeated the week that I had previously struggled with.

I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that with less than a month to go I am now able to run continuously for one mile.

My goal in September is fast approaching. So what else have I done? I have promised some local friends that I will run a muddy 5k with them in 2018 – my next goal.

Do I now like running? No.

Do I look forward to running? No.

Have I noticed benefits to my running? Yes.

I feel generally fitter, I don’t struggle walking up hills as much as I did before and a lovely pair of trousers I bought two years ago finally fit!


If you’ve found this helpful or inspiring we'd love to hear from you, or if you've got any other topic suggestions! – please get in touch here.

You can also download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below to help get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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I don't know about you, but everywhere I hear people talk about making a difference, making life better and making life count, they talk about being intentional.

Here at Intentional Health we also recognise that intentionality is relatively simple - you decide on your future, today - You have a vision or a goal for your future self that is better than your current self.

It may be simple, but that doesn't mean it is always easy!

In today's live webinar, Tonya and I are exploring how setting goals can help us be more intentional.

If you want to join us for the LIVE Goal Setting webinar 10 am (BST) this morning - you can register by clicking the link below.


If you have a goal that you want to set - we might even be able to help you set a SMART version of that very goal, live in the chat!

You can also click on this link to register for the replay.


If you would like to download our free Goal setting worksheet, you can click on the link below to let us know where to send it.

Free Goal Setting Worksheet


Why not be intentional right now about being intentional with your future self?

Til next week!

Niky & Team