I have had several synchronicities in the last 24 hours that affirm I am on the right path even though I am not setting New Year’s resolutions.
Foodie RN and I got to spend New Year’s Eve together. We actually got to spend an uninterrupted 36+ hours together. It was amazing. We ate dinner at a new-to-us restaurant in Indianapolis when we first got in town. We had homemade eggs and bacon for breakfast the next morning, then went to yoga while our husbands went a new-to-them brewery downtown. After yoga we had gluten-free, dairy-free pizza from a local fav, then planned our evening meal and acquired our New Year’s Eve libations. Foodie RN drinks Proseco and I stuck with hard cider (the drier the better). We spent the rest of the evening playing euchre, visiting with a few other friends who made guest appearances, and watching the ball drop.
In the midst of our NYE festivities we also got to record an upcoming episode of Real Foodie Friends podcast, which will air on January 18, 2016. I may be partial, but I am pretty sure it is our best one yet. We talk about the new year, why Kristi likes to set New Year’s resolutions and why I do not.
During the podcast I listed my core desired feelings as described by Danielle LaPorte in the Desire Map. These will guide me in making decisions, setting goals and determining what is most important to me on a daily basis. These are purpose, connection, freedom and assertiveness.
As soon as I logged into Instagram this morning I saw posts from Mark Hyman, MD and Danielle LaPorte that were in direct alignment with these core desired feelings. I am clearly on the right path to feeling, serving and living better with these core desired feelings rather than the achieving associated with setting resolutions.
Foodie RN and I both follow the works of Danielle LaPorte and Gretchen Rubin. Because of Gretchen Rubin I understand it is likely my questioner tendency that prevents me from setting New Year’s resolutions. January 1st feels like an arbitrary number. If I discover a need for change, then I embark on that journey at the time of awareness. I also do not think very highly of setting resolutions that are focused on outcomes. To me, these lack purpose and just set me up for failure.
The purist in me wants to bring it to your attention that a resolution is not the same thing as an outcome. My friend Merriam-Webster defines resolution as “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.: the act of resolving something: an answer or solution to something.” She defines an outcome as, “something that happens as a result of an activity or process.” So the Grateful Guts translation is that a resolution is the behavior change strategy created to achieve a specific outcome.
Usually a behavior change strategy has a broad reach, so if you are setting a resolution, then do you still measure your success on a single outcome? Consider that you want to lose weight (outcome). You decide to stop drinking soda (resolution to changing your behavior that creates the problem of consuming too many sugary calories). You might notice you feel less bloated and have less heartburn, because there is less air in your belly from the carbonation and less acid from additives. You might also notice more consistent energy throughout the day, because you are not on a blood sugar roller coaster with high energy immediately after the soda and a crash an hour or two later. You might actually sleep better, because you have less heartburn and less caffeine, which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Better sleep also results in more consistent energy throughout the day, improved moods and (gasp) improved weight management (foreshadowing for another blog post on the association between sleep and weight management).
What happens if you had all of those positive outcomes, but still do not lose weight? Did you fail? NO! You successfully met your resolution because you stopped drinking soda. You improved your health, but did not lose weight…big deal. Try something else. Better yet, come talk to me or another functional health practitioner who can help you determine where to focus your efforts and continue improving your health to get the targeted results you are desire.
My aversion to resolutions that are outcome oriented is the reason why I rarely post before and after photos. The shape of your body is less important than the way it feels and your level of health. There is so much information that cannot be portrayed in a one dimensional photo.
Let me share a story if I may. My sister lives with hypothyroidism and Meneire’s disease. She struggles with weight management, feeling cold and tired, losing her hair, covering up acne, regulating her menstrual cycle and managing vertigo that can be very debilitating. At the beginning of 2015 we did an elimination and re-introduction program focusing on nutrition. Her initial goal was to lose weight. While I spent a considerable amount of time discussing that the weight is another symptom of her health status rather than cause of her states of dis-ease, it took her own personal experience to shift her perspective on how healthy feels and what it means to her. Throughout the 6 weeks of the program she did not lose weight, but she discovered gluten exacerbates her symptoms. In the last year since changing her diet alone, her energy has improved, her hair stopped falling out, her skin does not breakout, her menstrual cycles are regular and her vertigo episodes are less frequent and less severe. She now has purpose in maintaining a gluten free lifestyle, rather than following a short-term diet for weight loss. And now she is also connected to her body in ways that help her make decisions about how she feeds it and manages the symptoms related to her dis-eases.
While I do not set New Year’s resolutions I do believe in creating goals for changing my behaviors to achieve my core desired feelings. This is different than resolutions, because the core desired feelings guide my actions. I am free to change and adjust my goals and strategies based on how they align with my core desired feelings.
Danielle LaPorte in The Desire Map also discusses letting go of outcomes. I love this. I can create behavior change strategies to achieve a specific feeling, but I do not have expectations about the outcome. I want to achieve financial freedom. Many would think of this as getting rich. If I also held this belief, then I would fail this year if I did not acquire an abundance of wealth. So the approach I am taking is to first to stop fearing finances. One of my behavior change strategies is to listen to 1 podcast each week on personal finances in order to get more educated and shift my perspective about money. In three months I may be ready to take different action. My behavior change strategy will likely change. I can change goals and strategies as I grow and develop in relation to this topic. I am not held to an unrealistic expectation.
The same is also true for innumerable health-related core desired feelings. Look at my sister. After learning about her gluten intolerance she shifted her perspective away from losing weight and towards achieving improved health. She succeeded in 2015. Hopefully I can get her to check in with me again for a 2016 update.
Foodie RN and I will do a follow up podcast on her resolutions and my progress towards achieving core desired feelings in three months. We both think it will be a much different conversation.
For now I am done writing about New Year’s and I am ready to start living in it. No quick tips for this post. Figure out what works for you, and then set some strategies to support change.