Change

Flight Path

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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.

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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

Our Dishwasher is Broken

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As I have been away this week, Gareth, (AKA - the legendary voice behind all the Intentional Health animations!) Kindly offered to write this weeks post! Enjoy!


Photo Credit :Catt Liu

Mid-November 2017

“Oh disaster, upon disaster!" The one kitchen item that is so critical to the flow of our family life; the single appliance that can make or break business continuity in our family unit of millennials, technology geeks and sport-jocks - has become no more, and kicked the proverbial bucket!

And then at that moment, the realisation came as the four of us stood in the kitchen ashen-faced, gawping at each other in silence, “no dishwasher! and Christmas is coming?!  “Arghhhhhhhhhhh!”

All those dishes... it was about this point that flight kicked-in over fight… “Maybe we could leave the country?”... “We could go to my mothers?” … “We will need to sell up!”... “Somebody call IKEA, they'll know what to do!” Even Marlon our dog was standing by the front door with lead in mouth ready to depart.

And then Dad pipes up in Corporal Jones style … (fans of Dad's Army will understand)….. “Don't panic, don't panic!… I got an idea! Let's just do the dishes ourselves over Christmas!”

At first stunned silence.

Then the look of three individuals reminiscent of the minion movie where both shock ‘and’ confusion takes over the face;

…and then agreement.

(By the way for those into health psychology, this all forms normal parts of the stages of change).

And so we bought washing up liquid, new dishcloths and we made a pact that we would team up; all four of us: mum, dad, two teenage boys; and wash-up together, every single day through Christmas.

Mid-January 2018

We have decided that Ecover the most effective and environment-friendly liquid…. Just saying (though other environmentally friendly brands are available) and our dishwasher is still broken but we are all the more connected.

Don't get me wrong, we already enjoyed conversations around the table as part of our daily culture, we believe wholly in family time….but our conversations went deeper, they were extended, more time led to discussions about school, filmmaking experiments, about mum’s next work presentation, about Dad’s continued success in fantasy football (ahem), about faith, about politics, about the environment, and our health.

We played the ‘guess-who’ game loads, despite Mum’s frustration that most of the answers were Star Wars characters and even the dog joined in as we danced to pumping tunes whilst discussing and playing music, as the washing and drying took place. We had great fun and made some wonderful, lifelong memories.

Three takeaway's

  1. Broken things are just barriers to stimulate different thinking, and potentially allow for a whole new direction
  2. We are not meant to be over-reliant on things, but relational with each other, it’s a spirit thing as much as anything
  3. Doing a job well, and in 'team', feels great, and a healthy active work ethic is good for us.

Intentional Health is about change and stepping towards a healthier me in community, like being part of a washing up team….

Why not join us on our Journey?


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.


As always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! Or find out more about becoming an Intentional Health Angel or Prayer Warrior if you want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

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Feel Like Giving Up?

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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?

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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

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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

Changing Seasons - Tonya's story

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Photo Credit:Jaromír Kavan

As Niky wrote about last week’s blog, in life we all go through different seasons where change comes.

I have experienced times when these changes feel exciting and I am happy with the path of the change I am walking. At other times a new season hits, and I cannot see my way out or the direction I am heading and I feel as though I am in a black tunnel that is so long, I cannot see the light at the other end. Change in itself and the unknown of what it brings can feel a real challenge and very unsettling. I can have the tendency to feel out of control and off balance and this can lead me to struggle to manage my emotions and lead to thought patterns that spiral into panic, anxiety and worry. As a result, I can spend a lot of energy focusing on the ‘what if’s’ rather than the ‘what is’ and catastrophise the worst case scenarios rather than recognising the truth of where I really am in my present circumstance.

I love the song lyrics written by some friends of mine which say ‘Your present circumstance is a gift to behold’. I have found during difficult times this has been a really powerful reminder. To help me cope with the changing seasons, especially when I am in a period that feels dark and cold like winter, it helps me to refocus on the beauty of what is around me - the small things in the present of each day that I am grateful for.

I spent some time in Africa a number of years ago and distinctly remember on a visit to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, there was a bus with the words inscribed ‘The journey is more important than the destination.’ This really stuck with me and has helped me when moving through the different seasons of life. Sometimes we do not know where we are heading, things do not make that much sense, but it is what we learn and how we grow through these changes in life that are the exciting bits and far more important than the end place of what we want to achieve.

Niky explained last week, that I and my husband are currently walking into a change of season. As Christians we are walking a path of faith, stepping into something unknown and different to what we thought would happen or perhaps would have planned for ourselves with a move to North Devon. Two years ago we felt God gave us the vision to set up a rest and retreat centre and since then we have been pursuing His journey for us. For me who likes to be very planned and know where I am heading, I had very strong expectations of how it would all pan out. I thought we would reach the destination quickly and easily, finding the property we needed to set it up that and by now we would have a story to tell of how God had slotted it all into place. Of course on hindsight, what I have learnt is that this is a long journey, that we need time to be prepared and equipped for whatever the next season brings and that each of the stepping stones along the way is foundational and significant. I have had to learn to surrender and enjoy the ride of the journey, rather being so caught up with getting to the end destination immediately.

I now recognise it is out of these places of uncertainty where we are less prescriptive about what and how everything needs to be, that we have more room to grow and learn and be transformed and leave more space for ourselves to recognise the beauty of our present circumstance, however hard and uncomfortable it may feel at times.

My time partnering with Intentional Health as a volunteer, as a member on a Programme, as an Angel and over the last six months as an employed team member has been one of those significant stepping stones in my journey. When I took on the job, we all knew it may be only for a short season, but however long that season turned out to be it would be a fruitful one. Through this time, I have been taken on my own journey of transformation, I have learnt to care more about myself, in order to be able to serve others better, have recognised how to take more rest (so that I can help others with this in the future) and have most importantly taken more control over my thought patterns. When I am tempted to catastrophise and focus on the ‘what if’s’ and forget to take notice of the things I am grateful for around me in the present, I am now more able to take captive the negative thoughts for myself. It is all these things that have helped me to intentionally manage my season change as I follow the next steps of my journey, despite not having a clear picture of what it will look like and how I can plan for it!

It has been significant in helping me to see things in different ways, equip and help me gain the confidence and skills for the next part of the journey as well as being able to help Niky and the team move things forward.

Thank you to all the team at Intentional Health, and to you all for the way you have impacted my journey and helped me walk through the changing season. I will very much miss working with Niky and the team, but I am forever grateful for the experience and what it has taught me.

God bless, Tonya.


We have now launched our 2018 training dates for churches who want to partner with Intentional Health. To find out more about this, please click here.

Our next season also requires us to find more Intentional Health Angels just like Tonya. These are people who can support us along our journey as we get our 10 session community programme out into communities across the UK. you can find out more about that by clicking here.

If you want to access our free resource library - including our Free webinars and worksheets, including how we can control our thoughts and feelings please sign up here.

https://www.intentionalhealth.uk/free-resource-library/

This part of the site is still a work in progress, so please let us know if you have any difficulties by emailing info@intentionalhealth.uk. And once again, please let us know how you are finding your current season of life too and please share this with anyone you think might be encouraged.

Seasons

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You may have noticed that the winter season is here! Anyone who knows me well knows I am really not a fan of the cold! But I am learning to appreciate a change in seasons.

Seasons indicate beginnings and endings and growth, seasons are ultimately healthy.

Because I don't like the cold, it can be easy for me to focus on the seasonal negatives including the coughs and colds our family seems to pass around. I could be miserable about going out in the cold and damp or moan at the fact that it is dark when I leave and get home from work (Er... confession time - that might have happened once or twice!).  I could so easily moan this season away, wishing it was summer again. And I don't know about you, but the seasons seem to come and go far quicker the older I get! have you noticed that?

Changing seasons can occur in our physical environment and also in our lives. Seasonal variations occur in our health, work, friends and circumstances. Each new season brings some challenges or some gifts and often both!

Although we don't often have much control over these changing seasons, we do have control of our thoughts and feelings, and can, therefore, be intentional in choosing which aspects we focus on.

So rather than wish my life away and easily focus on the negatives, I am now intentionally choosing to embrace and be thankful for this current season instead.

I am choosing to think about how I enjoy the warmth of cosy family roasts, crisp air with scarfs and warm jumpers, as well as the sparkly lights, cosy log burners, and extra snuggle times with the family.

A change in season brings a change in our surroundings. As I look for the positives, I find it easier to appreciate each new and different season even more.

Here at Intentional Health HQ, we are coming to the end of a season of having Tonya on the team. Tonya is an amazing member of staff that we knew we would only have for a season, and what a season it has been! Next week will be Tonya's last week with us :( and she will be sharing exactly how she believes God, through Intentional Health, has helped her grow personally in this season of her life.

As she gets ready to leave us next week, we would just like to say a huge thanks for all she has been part of and made possible! We will miss her hugely.

We don't know what the next season without her will bring for us but are confident that as she and her husband pursue their next season of life, we are choosing to focus on the blessing that Tonya has been to us over the past months. We are also excited about what blessings God will bring for the next seasons of our lives, and for us here at Intentional Health HQ.


Next week we will be launching our 2018 training dates for churches who want to partner with Intentional Health. To find out more about this, please click here.

Our next season also requires us to find new Intentional Health Partner Angels. These are people who can support us along our journey as we get our 10 session community programme out into communities across the UK. you can find out more about that by clicking here.

If you want to access our free resource library - including our Free webinars and worksheets, including how we can control our thoughts and feelings please sign up here.

https://www.intentionalhealth.uk/free-resource-library/

This part of the site is still a work in progress, so please let us know if you have any difficulties by emailing info@intentionalhealth.uk. You can also let us know how you are finding your current season of life!