Here’s to a Happier, Healthier New Year

marissa-vicario-resizeAbout the author: A certified health and wellness coach, Marissa Vicario (left) is the founder of Tribeca-based Marissa’s Well-being and Health (MWAH!)She works with clients one-on-one and in groups to help them set and achieve goals for a happier healthier more balanced life.

A few years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution never to make another New Year’s resolution—and it’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept. I suspect I’m not alone in distrusting resolutions; still, every year, we vow to better ourselves for the coming year, as if last year we weren’t good enough.

It’s said that 97 percent of New Year’s resolutions are unsuccessful. And that’s not because we are lazy, unmotivated, or even masochists. But resolving in a blanket way to change behaviors that have likely become habitual somewhat dooms us to failure.

While resolutions themselves may be troublesome, the desire for self-improvement certainly isn’t. The key is to give yourself a fair chance at achieving your goals by crowding out those old, unhealthy habits with newer, healthier ones. So this year, I’m proposing you set a simple intention to be your best self just for today, and then support that intention with longer-term, achievable goals.

Patricia Moreno, founder of IntenSati Life, a revolutionary workout movement that fuses aerobics, martial arts, dance, yoga, and strength conditioning with spoken affirmations, sees New Year’s resolutions as a “powerful commitment to becoming who you really want to be.” She advises her students to stop judging themselves and giving energy to a past they want to change. Instead, commit to life-enhancing changes for the future with this affirmation: “I accept the present, I intend the future, I am now becoming who I really want to be.”

The most popular New Year’s resolutions revolve around health and wellness—such as losing weight, getting fit, quitting smoking and reducing stress. By setting intentions instead of declaring resolutions, you can in fact accomplish all of this successfully in one year with small lifestyle changes. Here’s how:

• Work on small, daily right actions instead of blanket resolutions.
Set small, achievable goals aligned with a bigger desire.
• Reward yourself at reasonable intervals and milestones.
• Get support from friends, family, and a health and wellness coach who will hold you accountable for your goals.
• Journal about your journey to stay focused and centered on the intention: What’s working, what’s not, how do you feel today, what are you thankful for, what have you done well.

With an intention to eat more greens and whole grains and drink more water, you automatically crowd out processed foods and in turn, lose weight. In my opinion, this is a better weight loss plan than any diet. The Whole Foods Market Tribeca carries a wide variety of fresh, organic greens like kale, collards, and spinach, and whole grains from brown rice to quinoa and millet are available in bulk or packaged. Preparation suggestions and recipe forums are available at If you’re new to cooking or feel uneasy in the kitchen, a health and wellness coach can offer quick and easy ways to prepare these foods.


An IntenSati class

If you resolve to get fit, you may make it to the gym consistently for a month or so before falling off the wagon. Instead, set an intention to move your body in a way that works for you to ensure consistency. The possibilities are endless but some examples include running, dancing, walking your dog, yoga, or pilates. One of my personal favorites is the IntenSati class at Equinox gyms. This group fitness class resembles a moving meditation combining elements of a high intensity aerobic workout with yoga movements and life coaching. Think kicks, jumps, squats and more set to upbeat music while chanting empowering affirmations in unison with the rest of the class. Not only do you leave the class energized, having had an exhilarating workout, over time you do get fit, as with any exercise plan, and begin to live a life you love in a body you love with new appreciation for your own inner strength and beauty. In Tribeca, class is offered to members and non-members (for a fee) Mondays at 9:30 a.m. at the Tribeca Equinox. Visit to RSVP for a class and for information on other intenSati events.

Smokers who wish to quit can perhaps replace one afternoon smoke break per day with a walk around the block, plan a weekend getaway to the mountains, or try meditation. Diamond Way Buddhist Center offers a variety of events from lectures and retreats to guided and individual meditation practices (55-59 Chrystie;

Around the holidays, we become so busy doing for others, we forget to do for ourselves. Set aside time to get a relaxing manicure and pedicure, soak in a hot tub, sip a soothing cup of tea in a quiet café with your favorite magazine, or indulge in a massage. At Kula Yoga Project’s new treatment space you can find a variety of bodywork options like therapeutic and Thai massage as well as herbs and acupuncture (28 Warren;

Day by day, replacing unhealthy habits with healthier lifestyle choices creates long-lasting changes that promote a better sense of overall balance and well-being. Challenge yourself to set an intention to be your best in 2010 and find yourself reaching your goals and making this your best year ever.

Marissa can be contacted at or via her website,


1 Comment

  1. Wonderful Article! I couldn’t agree more about IntenSati classes taught by Patricia. I’m glad I was able to introduce you to this so that you could spread the word!