The start of a new year is a good time to pause and reflect on both the past year and the year ahead. Despite the many hardships of the past two years, or perhaps even more so because of them, it can be helpful to reflect on the positive events and successes of the year, no matter how small they may seem. It can also be a good time to think about habits, behaviors and projects you would like to continue and take with you into the New Year. It is also an opportunity to, perhaps more importantly, think about what you want to let go of.

Many people set New Year’s resolutions, for things they resolve to continue, stop or change. Oftentimes these lists include things like lose/gain/or maintain weight, go to the gym, get more sleep, or cut down on screen time.

Intentions on the other hand, come from the heart. Intentions help your heart and mind come into alignment, and can help reconnect us to our mission, aspiration, and purpose. While different from a specific goal or resolution, intentions can help us realize our goals. For example, you may consider setting an intention to live a healthier lifestyle vs. a resolution to walk or take a chair yoga class five times a week.

While living a healthier lifestyle may include getting in some power walks or classes; it may also include weeks where you are unable to make it out for a walk five days, but perhaps you focus on getting quality sleep, eating healthy meals, or increasing the amount of water you drink.

In preparation for reflection and intention setting, take a few minutes to answer these two questions, either writing it down or just thinking about it in your mind:

  • What REALLY matters to you in your life?
  • What brings you a sense of joy and happiness?

Now, join in this brief meditation practice to help get you in the mindset to set your intentions for 2022.

2022 intention

Do your 2022 intentions and goals include making changes related to your health and well-being? VA’s Live Whole Health mobile application is a free, easy-to-use tool created for Veterans and others who are ready to take the next step in their Whole Health journey. The Live Whole Health app is available for download on iOS or Android device. The app is not meant to replace professional care for clinical or mental health conditions.

Whole Health is VA’s holistic approach to care that supports your health and well-being. Whole Health centers care around what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. With this app, you can fill out your personal health inventory, set goals, get virtual coaching, and learn more about Whole Health. Learn more in the Live Whole Health Mobile App Fact Sheet.


Alison M. Whitehead, MPH, C-IAYT, RYT-500 is the Program Lead for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.   

As you head into a new year consider bringing the Loving Kindness Meditation into your life as a regular practice.Live Whole Health #103 - Loving Kindness
#LiveWholeHealth paced breathingLive Whole Health #105: Paced breathing

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5 Comments

  1. Joe Barrett January 12, 2022 at 11:14 am

    My wife and I are navigating forward with as much collective intention as possible relative to good health and longevity.

  2. Ricardo Lugo Ramos January 6, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    When we are managing emotional intentions is very critical to learn how to identify the source of the influence of information. My experience in life is to stick to the healthy vision that harvest good emotions and justice to life. So God Help Us / In God we trust / Pursuit of Happiness / One Nation Under God.

    Humble Warrior of God
    Gulf Veteran Era
    “Warrior Committed to National Security and Global Reach”

  3. Alejandro January 6, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for your great words on Intention. This resonates much more!

    I look forward to reading your book!

  4. Leonard DeGrate January 5, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    See above

  5. Leonard DeGrate January 5, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    I am able to report that after a year or hard work; my book “The Hidden War” will be published in February 2022. My book is a synopsis of the therapy I provided veterans and active duty soldiers during my last 10 years in the work forces. My experience as a United States Army veteran servings my country with dedication and honor was also a motivating factor to help those who suffer with PTSD, Depression Anxiety and other emotional problems and how to cope is featured. The book may be purchased on Amazon by Barnes and Nobles!!! Leonard DeGrate Jr.

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