So often at the beginning of a New Year we get all wrapped up in ‘resolutions‘. We resolve to eat less sugar, to lose weight, to be ‘healthier’, to get on the yoga mat or to the gym more often. To stop smoking, to clean up your speech… They all sound noble and good, but resolutions just don’t work!
Do you remember what you resolved to do last year? How has is gone for you?
The Fallacy of Willpower
Resolutions don’t work because they are generally about stopping doing something! We focus on what were’ NOT to do and so wind up being attracted to doing just that thing. Willpower can only take us so far!
When clients or students ask me about ‘diet books’ I recommend, this is generally the one I reach for first.
The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein seeks to undo the ‘war against nature’, such as using willpower to overcome ‘bad’ habits. Instead, Eisenstein focuses on activities and attitudes which bring us most into alignment with ourselves. That is to say, that rather than saying ‘sugar is bad, I will not eat sugar’, I look into it deeper.
For me, making my diet more about what I DO eat and enjoy works so much better than focusing on what I don’t eat!, So I am creating a habit to reach for as many healthy whole foods that I love, essentially feeling great from the inside and no longer relying on sugar to make me feel good in a shallow way.
I create a healthy habit and this takes the power away from my unhealthy habit.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that good intentions are an essential first step to making positive, lasting change. But intentions alone don’t achieve the change that you want and deserve!
The ‘How To’ steps are where your intention gets wings!
By making your goals:
1) Clear (with motivation)
4) Making steps with deadlines (or at least checking in points)
your goal is always within sight!
This is how I work with clients in Holistic Nutrition, and it is so rewarding to mark progress, measure how you are progressing by your own standards and to make little rewards along the way.
An example from my practice goes like this:
– ” My goal is to feel healthier and have more energy.”
–“Ok, good start. How will being healthier and having more energy affect your life?”
– “Well, I’ll have enough energy to do well in my physical job and then come home and play with the kids and relax with my partner before bed. Oh and to feel great in the jeans I bought 5 years ago.”
–“And when you can play with your kids, do well at work, have time with your partner and feel good in your clothes, imagine how that will affect your life…”
-“Wow! I will have fuller relationships with the people I love and feel like I am really contributing to the work I am engaged in. Feeling comfortable in my clothes will really boost my confidence too.”
And so these things become the motivation which underlies having more energy. (Fuller relationships and meaningful work, increased self confidence.)
–“And what’s your timeline?”
-” Well, fall is coming and the kids will be back in a routine, so by the end of the first semester, I’d like to start realizing my goal by then.”
We assess, based on the client’s individual needs and schedule that making a meal-plan with flexible and quick healthy meals, and especially healthy snacks to take to workare the steps that they need to take to tat realizing this goal.
We make a plan for them to learn the skills needed, like taking cooking classes, getting phone and email support between sessions if any question arise and allowing for one ‘flex day’ where they can take a break from cooking.
–” Perfect, we’ll check in few times, say bi-weekly until then” (or journal of that is how you prefer to check in)
Write the goal somewhere you’ll see it regularly. Write the steps in your day-planner or set up reminders for yourself with motivation along the way. We set up a system of ‘treats’. For most people, getting positive encouragement is the treat, for others, booking a massage or getting yourself a little something for reward works well.
Also- always remember that setting your goal too high will always let you down, and setting it too easy will never motivate you!
Aim to achieve 100% of your goal. AND if you are completing 70% of it, you are doing great! This sounds odd indeed, but since I learned this advice, I have benefited many-fold. I know that I am on the right track and that I always have room to grow.