How to Set New Year’s Goals Worth Keeping: A Happy Gut Guide
December 23rd 2020
by: Vincent Pedre M.D.
As one of the most difficult years in history comes to a close, many of you are looking to 2021 with hope and optimism. Many of you are also spending the last days of December deciding on your intentions for the new year.
Unfortunately, if history has taught us anything, by March, 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 be an afterthought.

But here’s a crazy idea: This year, let’s set New Year’s goals that actually come true. Keep reading for the Happy Gut Guide to lasting New Year’s intentions.

How to Set a New Year’s Intention Worth Keeping

In December of 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 in between 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 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 took one more breath, and the word that came to me. It was “CONNECT.”
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 2018, 2019, and 2020 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 (sans having to climb to nearly 13,900 feet above sea level, of course, haha!).

How to Choose a Theme Word for 2021

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 sceptical 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 by setting this type of intention 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 the world.

Quotation

“Your theme word is like your North Star; it’s not the destination, but it’s constantly there pointing you in the right direction, especially if you’re feeling a little lost or off track.”

Dr. Pedre Signature
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:
  • Independence
  • Love
  • Freedom
  • Lightness
  • Bravery
  • Adventure
  • Security
  • Health
  • Transformation
  • Joy
  • Playfulness
  • Connection
  • Honesty
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 You Won’t Break

The 4 C’s will help you get clear on what you want to cultivate in 2021, including choosing your word and taking the right steps to make your intentions come true. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Cleanse

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 2020 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 2020 comes to an end, throw out trash, old clothes and items you never use, and make more space for the new YOU that will emerge in 2021. 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 next year. Most likely, a word or two will come to mind during this step in the process. Write them down and move onto step 2.

2. Clarify

If you’re still struggling to find your theme word for 2021, it’s time to get clear. This is where you really explore the “why” behind what you want. Ask yourself: 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 some 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 2021. 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 2021 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.

3. Commit

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 course, 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. Simply reflecting on your word on a daily basis is a way to bring it into reality.

4. Celebrate

Last but definitely not least is “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 pointed towards that North Star of your goals. For example, if your word is “bravery” 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 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 just 28 days.

If you are the type of no-nonsense person that wants to get rid of “stomach issues” for good 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 of their overall health.

Starting the New Year with a cleanse is the best way to revitalize your body, restore your gut, and jumpstart your health in 2021. A healthy gut can help you cultivate more joy, energy, immune resilience, healthier skin and 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 February 1st, there will be plenty of reasons to celebrate.

4 Comments

  1. Robert Bratsberg

    Fantastic idea! I’m using the 4 Cs to find my 2021 theme word right now!

    Reply
    • Vincent Pedre M.D.

      Awesome! Please let us know what you came up with, and whether it was easy to do so using the 4 C’s.

      Reply
  2. Nzingha Masani-Manuel

    I thank you for this helpful health information for a healing in Nzingha gut!!

    Reply

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