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In my early days as a young traveler, I would sit and plan. My favorite book was my atlas, and I would sit with my atlas and dream of all the journeys I would take in my lifetime. However, I quickly realized when I set off on my travels that my plans really were not serving me, and the more rigidly I tried to adhere to my "plan," the less available I was for the magic and spontaneity of life. We just never know what surprises lie around the next corner—who we're going to encounter that will change the course of our lives. I realized after a couple of years of planning that I was much better equipped for my life's journey if I set my plans aside and instead had a vision or an intention of how I would like my life to unfold. This allowed for a lot more flexibility and creativity and left me open to the natural unfolding of my life.

Resolutions are a bit like dieting. We make rules for ourselves and challenge ourselves to adhere to them—and like they way they did for my friend on the subway, they very often go out the window as quickly as they're made. "Intentions," however, help us to create a vision for how we would like to see our journey unfold. At the beginning of a new year, I like to take a look ahead to the end of the year and get a sense of where I would like to be. Not necessarily the physical location, as in my life there are factors that make that quite unpredictable. However, I look at the overall picture: my health, my physical appearance, my sense of well-being and my relationships. I look at areas of my life that I could bring into balance and devote more time and energy to.

For many people, the area of food and diet is one that could use some attention and intention. When I'm trying to set an intention in place, I will often do a little exercise. I close my eyes and create a vision of exactly where I am in my life right now, particularly in regard to my intention. For example, if it's to lose weight or get more fit, I see my body exactly how it is or how it looks to me. I try to feel it, vision it and get an overall sense of how it makes me feel to be right where I am. Then I freeze frame and switch to my "future self"—how I see myself once my vision or intention is accomplished. I often visualize it as myself walking onstage—perhaps my current self moves more slowly, is a bit more lethargic and my future self dances onstage, is lithe and flexible, trim and toned, energetic and comfortable in her body. I try to freeze frame again with that vision clearly set in my mind. This is the goal I'm striving for and a picture I will bring up in my mind when I'm needing a little encouragement.

As the year unfolds, I will be offering tips, advice and recipes that I hope will support you in achieving your health goals, whatever they may be for you. I love to hear from you, as this guides me in offering you the best support. And if I spot you out chatting to beggars on the street or walking with them arm in arm, I'll know that you've been tuning in and were as touched by my story as I was by that lovely encounter on the Manhattan subway.

I'm wishing you a year of vibrant health, nurturing relationships and abundance, and I'm setting my intention to enjoy a wonderful and fulfilling year myself.

To start us off, I'm letting have your cake and eat it too with my recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bliss Cake, a sweet treat loaded with antioxidants.

Happy New Year,

Aine


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