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Five Ways to Nurture Your New Year’s Intentions For Sustainable Change

Five Ways to Nurture Your New Year’s Intentions For Sustainable Change

By Thrive Sacramento’s Registered Dietitian Supervisor Kailey Cunningham, MS, RDN, CD


Many set resolutions to create change in the new year. However, due to their restrictive, all-or-nothing nature, resolutions are typically unattainable and can be detrimental to one’s mental health. Intentions, on the other hand, can be a healthier way to nurture lasting change, as they allow for an intuitive, flexible, and non-linear approach. 

Learn more about the benefits of setting intentions.


Many people struggle with the gentle nature of intentions, as they are accustomed to creating rigid expectations for themselves. Simple shifts in perspective can make sustaining intentions more natural — no matter what time of year. Here’s how:

1. Honor your intention with supporting plans. 

Oftentimes, a person identifies their intention but doesn’t create a plan to follow through. The cultivation of change does require supporting actions, however, so decide how you want to honor your intention and incorporate these efforts into your agenda. For example, if you intend to nourish yourself with adequate food, make plans to grocery shop, prepare meals, and pack lunches. 

2. Set small and adjustable goals.

Commonly, people set broad and unrealistic goals when attempting to adhere to their intention. These goals can blind individuals to their initial purpose, cause them to focus solely on their objective, and forget the actions necessary to actually achieve their desired growth. Instead of making overwhelming goals, take small, slow steps toward progress. View your goals as experiments so that if they stop making sense to you, you can adjust them accordingly.

3. View challenges as opportunities for self-exploration.

Overcoming challenges is an inevitable element of fostering growth. Use obstacles, struggles, and mistakes as ways to obtain information about what does and doesn’t serve you. In other words, instead of viewing speed bumps as blockades and unexpected outcomes as failures, reframe them as lessons that provide valuable insight into how to progress.

4. Embrace self-compassion.

Human behaviors are influenced by an array of complex thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. While practicing your intentions, acknowledge the nuances of the human experience. Be kind and patient with yourself as you set out on the courageous journey of cultivating change.

5. Prioritize your own path.

By staying focused on your intention rather than comparing yourself to others, you are more likely to celebrate your own successes, however incremental. As a result, you’ll remain encouraged and motivated to continue implementing your desired change.


Thrive wants to help you grow into your most balanced, confident, and joyful self. If you’d prefer to have professional guidance as you aspire to implement self-betterment changes in the new year, our team of mental and physical health experts would be honored to walk with you on your journey. Reach out to us to learn more about our therapeutic services.

About the Author

Thrive Sacramento’s Registered Dietitian Supervisor Kailey Cunningham, MS, RDN, CD

Kailey Cunningham, MS, RDN, CD, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who obtained a Master’s of Dietetics degree from the University of Kentucky after completing both her undergraduate studies in dietetics and accredited dietetic internship at the same university.

She has been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist since February of 2013 and has been working in the eating disorder field since 2015. Kailey has experience treating clients at many levels of care, from partial hospitalization programming to outpatient, with a variety of diagnoses including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, ARFID and OSFED.

She began working at The Emily Program in Lacey, Washington for three years where she acted as the full-time programming dietitian. While in this position, she worked directly with a lead therapist to develop an adolescent treatment track implementing elements of Family-Based Treatment and gaining invaluable experience working with adolescents and their parents. She then worked at Center for Discovery in Tacoma, Washington while building her nutrition counseling private practice. She began her successful practice in April of 2018 and moved it with her from Olympia, Washington to Rocklin, California in October 2020. Kailey is excited to now be a part of the Sacramento Thrive Wellness team providing support for adult and adolescent clients in intensive outpatient and outpatient levels of care.

Kailey’s primary motivator and true passion is supporting others on their journey to a more peaceful and balanced relationship with food and their bodies. Through individualized nutrition counseling and education, she helps those struggling with eating disorder behaviors, body image issues, food aversion and health anxieties find what is right for them while leaving diet culture behind.