Many of you are looking forward to 2024 with a renewed sense of hope, optimism, and purpose. With the turn of the year, it's natural to reflect on the past and set your sights on new goals and aspirations.
Amidst these reflections, you might have noticed a shift in your perspective, a newfound desire to focus on what truly matters in life. It's a time for introspection, for considering what you want to bring into your life in the coming year.
For me, this time of year always brings a mix of excitement and contemplation. I find myself pondering how to set meaningful intentions for the new year. It's a period ripe with possibilities, yet often laden with the uncertainty of what the future holds.
As we step into this new beginning, it's important to remember that it's not just about setting goals, but about finding ways to stay true to them throughout the year. This process can be challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.
Unfortunately, if history has taught us anything, by March, even if you set goals for this January, many people’s resolutions — whether they be to hit the gym more often, save more money, meal prep, or be a more patient parent or more affectionate partner — will simply be an afterthought.
But here’s a crazy idea: This year, why not set New Year’s goals that actually come true. Keep reading for my guide to lasting New Year’s intentions.
How to Set a New Year’s Intention Worth Keeping
First, let me take you back in time…
It’s December 2017. I was on the 4-day trek — the Inca trail — to Machu Picchu. It was Day 2, one of the most difficult days of the trek. We started early that morning and climbed more than 3,000 feet to the top of “Dead Woman’s Pass” at nearly 13,900 feet. When we were on the last stretch of that day, legs aching and minds exhausted, the trail came to a point where the only way to continue was to walk through a narrow path inside giant boulders. With a drop-off on one side, and the only way forward through this slim footway I had to duck to get through. This moment out of all accentuated the arduous hike that guided travelers to the magical city in the clouds.
Our guide stopped us before passing through the narrow portal, and said, “This is the point where you leave behind what you don’t want to hold in yourselves as you complete the trek to Machu Picchu, and ask for what you want to bring into your life.” He instructed us to think of an intention, in the form of a single word, that we wanted to manifest in the new version of us, rebirthed on the other side of this massive rock.
When my turn came up, I stopped right in front of the entrance, closed my eyes, took three deep breaths, cleared my mind, and then allowed whatever word felt most significant to me — the word that most would define what I wanted to manifest in my life moving forward — gently float into my conscious mind without overthinking it.
I finished the trek, went home, and knew then how significant that moment was, because that word would define 2018 for me. I spent the whole year connecting with colleagues, patients, like-minded people across the world, and deepening existing friendships as well as making new ones. I never forgot that word “connect.” Because of the power of the intention I put behind it, it stayed with me well beyond my trip to Peru and set the tone for my normal, everyday, routine life, overriding all distractions and my busy schedule.
This was such a powerful experience that I’ve done the same thing every year since. Choosing theme words for 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and now 2024 has had a huge impact on my life. And that’s my wish for you this New Year, too!!! Let me show you how to do it (without having to climb to nearly 13,900 feet above sea level, of course, haha!).
How to Choose a Theme Word for 2024
You might be wondering, “Dr. Pedre, why can’t I just make my goal to lose 5 pounds or go to the gym 3 times a week?” You might be skeptical about what a single word will really bring to your life. Believe me, I get it. When I walked through that boulder I had no idea that “connect” would be cemented into my consciousness for years to come. But what I’ve learned the last few years is that there’s nothing more powerful than a single word to be the guiding light you come back to when you feel lost any time during the year.
Why? Because unlike an extra trip to the gym or eating more leafy greens, a single word invokes a feeling — and that’s the best type of intention in the world, because instead of being an item to check off the list that you either get done or don’t get done, it focuses on how you want to feel and who you want to be as you move through your year.
You may already have a word that’s popped into your mind. That’s how it was for me in 2017 when “connect” came to me immediately and with gusto! You might also need to do some reflecting before the right word comes to you. And that’s okay! Here are some sample words to get your thoughts flowing:
Do you have a hunch about what your word should be? If not, don’t worry. That’s where the “4 Cs” come in.
The 4 C’s for Creating Powerful Intentions
The 4 C’s will help you get clear on what you want to cultivate in 2024, including choosing your word and taking the right steps to make your intentions come true.
Don’t worry, I’ve actually created a worksheet for you to use to help you complete this task.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Cleansing is the first “C” because before you can make your New Year’s intention come true, you need to get rid of anything that is holding you back from your dreams. And the truth is, most people don’t really know!
To accomplish this, you need to spend some time and energy clearing out the noise of 2023 so that you can look forward to the year ahead. There are a lot of ways to cleanse, but I recommend starting with decluttering your space. As 2023 is now out the door, throw out things you don’t need anymore — old clothes, clutter and items you never use — and make more space for the new YOU that will emerge in 2024. You can also write down things you want to let go of from 2023.
You’ll be surprised how rummaging through your stuff can help you reflect on what’s missing in your life and what you want to focus on in this new year. Most likely, a word or two will come to mind during this step in the process. Write them down. I like to create a word cloud first to help me find the right theme word for each year. Now you’re ready to move onto step 2.
If you’re still struggling to find your theme word for 2022, it’s time to get clear. This is where you really explore the “why” behind what you want.
Is what you want to nurture in your life a personal or professional goal?
Are there specific examples you can think of where you wish you had cultivated more of that ONE THING in your life?
What does a world with more of your ONE THING look like?
This is a great opportunity to create a vision board by taking magazines and cutting out photos that bring up an emotional connection to what you want to manifest. You can also cut out and place on your vision board related words that help you hone in on your ONE WORD for 2024.
If you’re not feeling crafty, you can also write these down, use a digital vision board, or team up with a friend or partner and tell each other out loud what it is you want more of in your life in 2024 and your reasons for choosing it.
As you become clear on what you really want to manifest, look for the theme word that defines the essence of what it is you’re looking for. Once you’ve become clear on what your word is, it’s time for Step 3.
Now that you’ve made space for your theme word to appear, gotten clear on what you want more of in your life, and zeroed in on your theme word, it’s time to focus on how you’re going to commit to it.
For this step, write down your word and put it on your fridge. Then, take concrete steps to make your intention a reality. For example, if your word is “security,” set up automatic transfers to your savings account, sign up for that self-defense class, or schedule introductory appointments with different therapists.
If your word is “love,” spend the evening setting up your dating profile, set aside time daily for self-care, or sign up to finally adopt that dog you’ve always wanted.
Whatever the practical expression of your word is, take the first steps towards it now. Make it a habit of reflecting on your word on a daily basis as a way to bring it into reality and reinforce its presence in your life throughout 2024.
Last but definitely not least, it’s time to “celebrate.” You may not think this sounds very proactive, but it’s important to acknowledge every single step you take — big or small — that brings you closer to realizing your theme word. This will fortify your intention and keep you pointing towards that North Star of your goals.
For example, if your word is “courage” and you go on a first date, say hello to a stranger on the bus, or switch careers, take some time to pat yourself on the back. It doesn’t matter how small your win is, take a second or two to acknowledge that you are starting to embody your theme word.
Every now and then, look at the word on your fridge and draw connections between things you’ve done and that word. Then, celebrate yourself some more! The most important time to do this is not when you’re feeling great about yourself, but actually when you’re having a down day, feeling overwhelmed, or feeling you are not where you want to be in life. In those moments, look back, acknowledge, and give yourself a pat on the back.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was not easy. High altitude, physical exhaustion, body aches and pains, uncomfortably soaking wet in a torrential downpour… all of these could have been excuses for turning back. Sure, it may not be the most difficult trek on the planet, but it certainly taught me a lot about intention. No matter what obstacles come in the way, the way towards your intention is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Setting a theme word for the year, and then following the “4 Cs” is my secret to New Year’s resolutions that really last.
If your theme word has anything to do with HEALTH, I have great news. The 4 Cs work for any type of New Year’s goal, especially health goals. And here at Happy Gut Life we want to support those who really want to experience a transformation in their health and wellness worthy of a trek, but that you can still do from your own home in less than a month.
If you are the type of person that wants to start the new year fresh and get rid of “stomach issues” for good that have been plaguing you for months or years, in as little as 28 days without wasting valuable time or money, then we have the program to support you.
The HAPPY GUT ® Reboot: 28-Day Cleanse is not only the very program I curated to reverse my years of suffering with gut-related symptoms, but it’s the program I’ve put in the hands of thousands of patients who have seen the greatest improvement in their overall health.
This is what one of my patients, Ryan, had to say about it…
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
While Dr. Pedre’s program helped me lose weight, it did so much more! During the 28-day Program I was able to reset my poor eating habits and create new, healthy cooking habits. I also learned to identify my mood trigger foods, and most importantly, I felt empowered to become the best version of me.
With this program, you will:
- Get to the root of the matter and conquer your gut issues from the inside out
- Discover the Happy Gut ‘Blueprint’ (aka Gut C.A.R.E. Program) to build a foundation for better health in a way that is easy to follow and complete in 28 days
- Receive all the high-grade supplements you need to successfully implement the Happy Gut® REBOOT: 28-Day Cleanse
- Get the doctor-created program that will have friends and coworkers stopping you to say, “You look great! What are you doing differently?”
- Feel and look 10 years younger and end the vicious cycle of feeling bloated and tired
But before committing to any program, you need to ask yourself this one question:
What is your health worth to you?
Starting the New Year with a cleanse is the best way to revitalize your body, restore your gut, and jumpstart your health in 2024. A healthy gut can help you cultivate more joy, energy, immune wellness, healthier skin, and a balanced mood, all while transforming your body from the inside out. By starting your year off with a huge win you can celebrate as early as mid-February, there will be plenty of reasons to jump for joy when March and spring arrive.