The place in the middle...


Have you ever been there? You start so well... and then you reach that place in the middle... the place where you have come too far to go back, but not quite far enough to see the end in sight?

Starting diet's or healthy eating plans, exercise plans, thinking more positive thoughts, investing in relationships, starting learning a new skill, or developing a habit of quiet times or devotionals... just to name a few.

We enthusiastically start something new, but then our energy and enthusiasm run's out and the novelty wears off. At this point, we haven't quite established the necessary habits to make this new way is the "normal way" we do things, and the pull calls loudly to slip up, give up, or stop trying.

That is why this place is also the best place to ensure we have sufficient external support - or 'scaffolding' as we like to call it here at Intentional Health.

Scaffolding can be sharing our goals with a buddy, setting consequences in place if we don't fulfil our intentions, removing temptations and putting ourselves in the way of good things.

Deciding ahead of time and setting up scaffolding before we start out on making changes to our lifestyle, is what being Intentional about our health is really all about.

Nothing worth having comes quickly or easily. It requires intentionality and Grit.

Grit and resilience are found in this place in the middle. reconciling this time in the middle makes the end destination so much more worthwhile.

As we reach this place in the middle stage halfway through our 20-webinar series, I'm choosing to be thankful to be in that place in the middle. I have you as scaffolding to support and encourage me through as I begin to see a glimpse of the end in sight in 4 weeks time. So I'm intentionally staying focused on the goal and I am hugely grateful for your constant encouragements, even when you can't make the sessions live.

This week we have 3 webinars, and I'm also really grateful and excited to be doing the first one with the lovely Tonya at 10 am today. We'll be exploring how reading food labels can help us be more intentional about our health and wellbeing!

It's not too late for you to join us live, or for the replay; you just need to register by clicking here.

Then on Tuesday evening, Tom and I will be looking at being Intentional about our meal planning, before Tom and Gareth explore how to be intentionally healthy when drinking alcohol on Thursday.

If you'd like to join us at any of these webinars, either live or via the replay, please register below.

Mon 26th June 10:00 (BST) Reading Food Labels

Tues 27th June 19:30 (BST) Meal Planning

Thur 29th June 19:30 (BST) Health & Alcohol

Heads up for next week too; We have a series of morning webinars where again Tonya and I will be exploring Boundaries, Saying No and Communicating well.

Don't forget you can also easily watch the replays if you are intentional about signing up early, or even auto-sign up (using the blue button on the thank you page of the first webinar you register for!).

Where ever you are on your journey - get some scaffolding ready for the place in the middle and keep going! You are amazing, and the end is probably closer than you think!

Niky & Team

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

I'm sorry...


This week, things didn't quite work out as I had hoped, planned or expected. I am so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen, in fact, I've tried really hard for this is not to happen. Possibly even too hard. And before you ask, yes; trying too hard is a thing; you can try too hard and end up spoiling or ruining some things - resulting in the exact opposite of what you intended!.

I am talking firstly about the coffee plant that I blogged about earlier this year.

After trying to both remember and get into a new habit of watering the plant almost every day, I am sorry to say the plant is sick, and I am not sure if it will survive…

It turns out coffee plants are not meant to be watered every day after all.

Judging by the dying leaves and stalks, I don’t think their roots like to be swimming in a cup of brown water. I think I literally drowned this one. I'm sorry.

I’m also sorry because today was the day I had planned I would be officially inviting you to sign up to join our very first webinar on Wednesday, or signing up to watch the replay later in the week if you couldn't make it live.

However, due to various reasons, and subsequent technical issues during our first practice session last Wednesday (yes - we even tried to practice the webinar! We are taking it that seriously!!) things are not quite as ready as I had planned to launch the webinars for this week.

It also turns out there is an awful lot of unseen work that goes into webinars!

I could have decided to try and keep to my schedule, but I know I would have ended up stressed and putting myself under enormous and unrealistic time pressures.

I figured this could be potentially detrimental to my mental health, as well as that of my surrounding family and friends who would have to put up with a more stressed version of me! And also, you wouldn’t get my best work!

So instead, I reframed my thoughts by thinking this would instead be the perfect opportunity to accept and acknowledge that I am only human and I would be better off changing my plans and expectations.

Reframing these two disappointments of my own, have reminded me that we can still learn something when things to don’t quite go as we hope or plan.

This reframing mindset can be particularly helpful for our mental health and wellbeing, particularly when it comes to our resilience!

MIND define resilience as “the ability to cope with life’s challenges and to adapt to adversity”.

That is, our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don't go quite as planned or as we expect.

This is really important because it helps us maintain our wellbeing in the difficult or stressful circumstances we all face from time to time, and can prevent us developing unhealthy mental health habits or conditions including anxiety and depression.

Reframing our negative thoughts can be really helpful in this.

People with resilient habits don't tend to wallow, dwell or ruminate on failures. Instead, they accept or acknowledge the situation, choose to learn from their mistakes, and then move forward by thinking more positive thoughts instead.

Being more resilient improves our wellbeing and means we can..

  1. Bounce back much quicker from disappointments and challenges, whilst remaining calm and peaceful
  2. Let go of the things (or people, or circumstances) that we are not directly responsible for, rather than try and “fix” them.
  3. Choose to respond or interact better with those people around us that may have been involved (or sometimes even the cause of) our disappointments or frustrations
  4. See that sometimes we might be trying too hard to be perfect, and it might be helpful to be more lighthearted and not take ourselves too seriously
  5. Accept that although we may get things “wrong” in the eyes of some, “wrong” may actually just be “different” - and "different" is ok!

High levels of wellbeing and resilience in a community don’t just lead to fewer mental health problems either. Good levels of wellbeing are also associated with:

  • Improved physical health
  • Reduced absence from work due to sickness
  • Improved learning and academic achievement
  • Reductions in risk-taking behaviours like smoking
  • Reduced mortality
  • Increased community involvement

The bad news is that I don’t think I will be able to resurrect the coffee plant.

The good news, is that, Lord willing, we will be rescheduling our first webinar for Wednesday 19th April at 7:30 pm GMT (15:30 EST) where we will be kicking off with a 30 minute introductory topic on why we would benefit from being intentional about our health and wellbeing, and what happens when we go with the flow.

I’d love for you to join us and you can do so by clicking on this link and registering here

These blogs contain a lot of information about what and why habits like resilience are beneficial to our health and wellbeing, but not always as much in the way of practical advice regarding how and when to be resilient.

These practical aspects are exactly the kind of tips and suggestions we will be covering in the live webinars with opportunities for you to ask questions.

If you haven’t already, please do sign up to our email list too as we will be sending specific topic invitations as the weeks continue through this webinar series we are running!

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