It’s that time of year again, (December), where we start taking stock of the year and planning for the coming year. If you didn’t achieve your goals there will inevitably be feelings of failure, followed by a quick justification. That’s IF you are being nice to yourself.

For many, it can turn into a mini internal tirade about being undisciplined, weak, or much worse. (We tend to be harsher on ourselves than we are with others). Another reaction, one I got really good at, is numbing out. Basically you just stop – stop caring, stop trying, stop planning and just exist.

Yes, maybe you do need to give yourself a little nudge every now and then, but maybe you need to reconsider your goal setting ways and look at things a bit differently. There are a ton of articles you can read online about setting realistic expectations, reassessing, creating dream boards etc. but have you ever considered focusing on setting intentions instead?

Setting Goals vs. Setting Intentions

There is a difference. Many of us have a tendency to overreach with goals. If this wasn’t the case there wouldn’t be books, articles and a gazillion posts on pinterest about how to set realistic and attainable goals. Goals are great and necessary, but it is a skill and something you need to learn to do. When we set goals we tend to channel our inner Rick Astley and think we are ‘never gonna’, (those of you born pre 2000 will know what I’m talking about), and the lyrics go a bit like this this –
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you …
Thing is… you are gonna! You are gonna have challenges, you are gonna have ups and downs and, sometimes, you are gonna have to abort your goals and desert them. The trick is to not look at the direct issue like: the dog getting ill and draining your savings so you couldn’t go on that holiday, or the unexpected crisis at work that required longer hours and totally messed up your exercise routine.

Fact of life is that there will always be something, but how do you deal with that ‘something’ if it’s what knocks you off course or creates massive detours? Having goals are great and I’m not saying you should do away with them, but, it isn’t as simple as making a list. The building blocks of a goal are intentions. Intentions are the secret sauce.

How Does This Work in Real Life You Ask?

Since health and wellness is my focus, let’s use meals at work as an example. You want to stop buying lunch everyday because you want to eat healthier meals, save money, eat less junk food and as a bonus, reduce your environmental footprint by using less plastic. One could argue that these are both goals and intentions, you intend to do all of this and technically yes you do, but goals are results based, whereas intentions are action based.

THE GOALS:
make your own lunch every day
eat healthier
save money
use less plastic

THE INTENTIONS:
So you know what you want to achieve, the question is how do you intend on achieving them – What are your intentions? Simple you say, I’m going to get up 30 minutes earlier and make my lunch. Or, I’ll make a bigger dinner and dish up the extra for lunch the next day. Or, I will meal prep on Sundays and make my lunches for the week. One and all great strategies – BUT… What are you going to do when you only got to bed at midnight and you cannot get yourself up at 5:30am to make lunch. Or, what if you ate out with clients the night before and there is nothing to set aside for lunch the next day. Or, you spent your Sunday sorting out the burst geyser.

This is where the beauty of intentions lie. In moments where things are going wrong, goals can seem or feel like they are a world away and unattainable. The more challenges we face the more distant the goal can seem, until we eventually give up. Intentions are about the journey, they focus on the spirit of your goal. Not making your own lunches due to an unavoidable circumstance in no way undermines your intentions.

Your intentions remain and can be attained in other ways. So today you managed to take an apple and topped it up with something small from the local health store. You also managed to eat at the health store. You honored your intentions of eating healthier, using less plastic by not doing take away and saved some money by taking an apple to supplement your meal.

Progression

Another benefit of intentions is progression. When we focus less on a single goal and more on our intentions we can’t help ourselves, we progress. Each day, we reaffirm our intentions and commit to them and before we know it, we are getting through an entire week of keeping to the spirit of our intentions. Then suddenly it’s been 2 weeks, a month and dare I say; a year!

Long term consistency trumps short term intensity

– Bruce Lee

We generally set goals because something has to change. Whether that means moving to a new home or eating a healthier diet, it will inevitably boil down to giving up or doing more of something. Change is challenging and for most of us very uncomfortable, which is another reason why setting intentions can be so effective. It is a consistent effort toward a bigger cause, it is not all or nothing and torturous lists. While I love lists, I just don’t see this as helping, which is why a few years ago I changed strategy. I still have lists, but they are far more thought out, and nothing like that time I was clearing out a cupboard and found a list I made in 2005 only to realize it was the same as that years list. Talk about soul destroying.

Going Forward

Whether you are facing the year ahead or trying to make some positive changes, consider expanding on that list of goals. Take a moment to think not only what your intentions are, but how they will serve you and those around you. Change has a ripple effect and can inspire others.

If you are feeling a little stuck, join the Nutrichologist community for access to our free downloadable Setting Intentions Workbook and many other great resources.

PS: Just in case eating better lunches at work is on your list, check out the Meals@Work recipe book!

There is no real short answer to this, so if you just want to see the punchline head on to the bottom of this post and check out:

What does a Nutrichologist do then?

If you want the full history – here goes…

So you want to eat better, live in a more conscious way and adopt a healthier approach to life in general. You buy books, you listen to your friends, you try different programs, but you find it difficult to figure what you actually need to do on a day to day basis. This is where I was a few years ago. It was a classic case of ‘so much knowledge, so little wisdom’ and it did not empower me to eat and live intuitively. I was a slave to the latest book or trend I was following. At the time I knew there were business and life coaches, but the thought never occurred to me that there were also health coaches. To be perfectly honest when I first found out about it, I was a bit skeptical and battled to understand what the difference between a dietician, a nutritionist and a health coach was, but as I trained and studied the differences became more distinct and I began to see the value that each brought to the table.

Ugh! – So Many Choices

As with all things in life, there is no black and white, there is always – always – a spectrum. The type of person we might go to for help will greatly depend on where we are at in life, health and of course our personal belief system. When you catch a cold, some choose to go to a General Practitioner (GP), Homeopath or just drink their grandmothers secret family recipe. The people that choose these different forms of treatment will most likely have strong feelings for or against the others choice, but at the end of the day, it’s a personal choice.
Debating which option is the best is a futile exercise and not productive. I have met people who have had great success working through their health issues with each of these strategies either on their own or collectively. There are even times where a number of strategies have been used concurrently and worked really well, so let’s all just agree that it is an individuals prerogative. Having said that, most people are familiar with how and what each of those avenues have to offer, Granny’s secret recipe may have a bit more mystique to it, but if it works, so be it.

Again with the choices!

The field of health and nutrition is a difficult place to navigate. Again with the spectrum, there are hundreds of different theories that often contradict each other. (I have my own thoughts about the very many choices, read my blog about Dietary Omnism – read it and let me know what your thoughts). Deciding whether you want to go Paleo, Vegan, Keto, D.A.S.H, Intermittent Fasting, Whole30, Clean Eating… I think you get the idea, is confusing and it’s just insane how much is out there. Each and every diet you find will have a ton of science behind it so which one of them do you choose.

At this point you may decide you want to go to someone to help you and then the choices start again. Dietician, nutritionist, health coach, personal trainer, the internet, apps, books, clinics, salons, spa’s, retreats, friends, family, the lady from accounting… need I say more?

I’ve never heard of a Nutrichologist?

While I can’t speak for all the other people I can speak for Nutrichologist and that’s because I made it up. Wait! Before you roll your eyes and think ‘what is this quackery?’ hear me out. Telling people that you are an Eating Psychology Coach, Culinary Nutritionist and Health Coach is quite a mouthful. To shorten that mouthful, and because I can, Nutrichologist was born.

Question: What do I need a Nutrichologist for?
Short Answer: Bio Individuality

There is a commonality to Eating Psychology Coaching, Culinary Nutrition and Health Coaching in that they are all based on the individual. The world would like us all to think that we fit into averages and that there is a general one size fits all solution to most problems (read my blog about Personal Philosophy where I talk about overcoming these averages). The founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN®), Joshua Rosenthal coined a term called ‘bio individuality’ and it is simply genius!

We are all different, there are no two people on the planet that are exactly the same, which is why we have soooo many different dietary principles and plans. The trick is not only finding what works for you, but understanding why and how it works for you.

Why is that important you ask, why cant someone just tell me what to eat and if it works I’ll just do that for the rest of my life. Problem with that is there are many things that influence what, why, how and when we eat. In addition to this our lives change all the time, which means we need to adapt our routines and diets accordingly. No single diet or food or exercise for that matter, is going to be the silver bullet.

What does a Nutrichologist do then?

At Nutrichologist we will:

  • Guide
    Your journey is deeply personal and as mentioned above influenced by many factors. As a Nutrichologist we help you navigate through these many influences by way of exploration, discussion and experimentation. Using our training, experience and access to a vast amount of information we bring a balanced approach to the experience
  • Nutrimentals (Practical Nutrition)
    Information does not always translate into doing. Sharing nutritional information is a part of the Nutrichologist experience, however applying the knowledge is a fundamental part. This may include a cooking class, pantry clean out, shopping experience and many other activities. Your bio individuality will greatly influence the activities.
  • Accountability
    Accountability is an important component to change, but we are not talking boot camp style accountability here. Having someone who is keeping your accountable for your plans and goals in a way that takes your life circumstances into consideration can help make lasting and permanent changes
  • Collaboration
    Because Nutrichologist is all about finding what works for you this means working with your team. If your doctor, dietician or treatment team says you need to be following a certain diet or lifestyle regime then a Nutrichologist is there to help you find the best way to make that work. This can include helping you do meal planning that accommodates specific restrictions all the way to identifying key factors that may inhibit you making progress.

At Nutrichologist we do not:

  • Diagnose
    If anything of concern comes up during coaching sessions, you will be referred to a medical professional/s.
  • Prescribe
    Besides the obvious of not prescribing medications, at Nutrichologist there is no prescribing of supplements, diets, exercise regimes remedies etc.. (You will be referred to a registered/licensed/accredited medical professional)
  • Treat
    While health coaches or nutritionist may work with or in conjunction with medical professionals, treatment of illness is outside the scope of any coach or nutritionist

The ultimate goal is for you to

  • find your way to being confident and comfortable with your food and lifestyle choices,
  • create your unique user manual and know how to adapt without getting overwhelmed.
  • find your inner guru and learn to trust the one true specialist that knows you inside and out – YOU!