Tag Archives: resolutions

Do or do not, there is no try

You know how it goes, during the festive season everything is different. You don’t set your alarm. You eat what you want. You socialise. You have no schedule. It’s the end of the year so it’s too late to aim for anything in your life. All you can do is look back at what is already gone. Then the clock ticks over after midnight and a whole year starts. And with it comes a whole heap of expectations and goals. What you will eat. What exercise you will do. How you will sort your life out.

You look to the future and the task can seem enormous. How on earth will I stick to all of this?

Yet, in reality, you can only ever do one thing at a time. And that one thing is whatever you are doing right now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Just today. Just right now. And because you don’t have a time machine, there are no do overs. So what you are doing right now is the best that you can do. Ever.

So this year, how about trying something slightly different. Do this each day

  1. Bring your thoughts back from the big, life-changing goals.
  2. Put the book back on the shelf with the story of your past, that has already been written and can’t be changed.
  3. Look at right now. Look at the blank page in front of you.
  4. What one thing are you going to achieve today? What will you write on today’s page?
  5. At the end of the day, look back on what you wrote. Did you achieve it?
    • If you did, cross it out.
    • If you didn’t, write down what you learnt from today that will help you with tomorrow
  6. Write down one positive thing that happened in your day (you may need to look at something that felt negative and turn it around)
  7. Repeat each day from step 3.

Oh look…a shiny thing

kaboompics.com_Blue jar on the tray

When a cat sees a shiny thing it is instantly distracted. It will chase after the shiny thing and not notice anything else.

Starting today, the first day of a new year, I want you to try and see the shiny things in every day.

At the end of every day (especially the bad days) write down one good thing about the day and put it in a jar or a tin. They are there if you look for them.

At the end of the year, open the jar and read through all the things you have written. 

The Tortoise and the Hare

Slow and steady wins the race.

That’s what we’ve always been told and the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare reinforces that.

Why do we need a whole bunch of moral-based stories to tell us the blindingly obvious?

Because it goes against our innate nature to pass over something that gives us instant gratification in favour of a bigger long term benefit.

When studying the decision making process in The Decisive moment Lehrer came across a study where people were offered a sum of money right now or sum of money 3 times bigger in 3 weeks time. Most took the money right now.

Because that’s what we need. Something right now.

When we are setting New Years Resolutions we tend to set them for things we are going to start in January, rather than what we want to have achieved by the end of the year.

When we are desperate to lose weight we want to see instant results from whatever approach we use and will often err towards that in the form of extreme diets in favour of slower steadier permanent weight loss.

Given the choice to pay £5 a week for years or £150 as a once off up front – most people will choose £5 a week.

Banks now show interest on savings monthly rather than an annual statement like you used to get. Current accounts allow you to generate interest because it’s easier to accept “saving” money you can get your hands on right now than money that might be locked away for a few months.

Our brain needs to see/feel/understand/hear results of anything we set out to do to believe it is possible.

To keep going without immediate results? That takes determination and belief.

It is possible to beat your brain. To beat your innate tendency towards instant gratification but you need to consciously take action.

Try these steps.

1. Think of the future you as a hologram or image. By future I mean at least 1 year ahead of now.

2. Close your eyes and notice everything about that person. If you were a fly on the wall what would you notice about them? Where are they? What is around them? How do they look? What are they wearing?

3. Think about the skills and capabilities you have that make that you in the future possible e.g. Strength, determination, creativity, technical skills.

4. If there was a colour or even an object that represented the person in the future what might it be? Some people might say a tiger, or a rock or just red or yellow or a cube or anything. Whatever comes to mind first.

So this is your goal. The person you want to become. You can think of it like a beacon if you like – something to point your conscious and subconscious mind at as the person you want to become.

And now, when you think about the things you need to do to get there it doesn’t matter if you start them tomorrow or in 6 months time because that goal is far enough in the future that instant gratification doesn’t count for anything.

Each single action, each single step,  that takes you towards the person you want to become is success.

So what are you going to do next?

And if you need my help because something is getting in the way of that person you know you can be just email dawn@thinkitchangeit.com and we’ll see what we can do together.

What do you think of the new Weight Watchers adverts?

I was sitting at my computer doing some work this morning while everyone else in the house slept. I was listening to the radio and a Weight Watchers advert came on. The advert involved a woman talking about the difference losing weight through Weight Watchers had made to her life and she said that it had allowed her to become closer to her daughter.

I did a double take. Really? In what way does losing weight using a restricted diet allow you to become closer to someone? Are we all supposed to feel so bad about ourselves that losing weight allows us to connect to our kids?

I was surprised that they would choose that as a message to promote their product. I was talking about it on Twitter and this comment from a friend made me smile

only reason should be because less fat means you can get your arms further around her when you hug

I know many people resolve to lose weight in a new year especially after the over-indulgence at Christmas. And I know that all the diet companies go all out on their marketing to capitalise on that. But really? do they have to promote this image between being good enough and being overweight? They are as bad as the people who use size zero models for clothes as far as I am concerned.

The way to be closer to your kids is to lead by example.

In this house we don’t talk about appearances, weight, clothes size etc. My daughter is 5 and has a natural healthy relationship with food as all kids do until adults try and influence them. I may not be 100% happy with my size yet but that has not bearing on who I am as a person. I teach my daughter not to judge based on appearance. In fact I spend a lot of time teaching her not to judge at all and to understand we are all different and we all have our stuff.

She has started referring to people as having a fat belly – clearly people at school are using that language. I tell her not to refer to people based on how they look. So she asked “Mummy, what does fat mean?”

“It means different things to different people” I explained “some people might get upset by the word fat and you wouldn’t want to upset someone would you?”

“No” she replies

“So because it might upset someone and you never know it’s better not to ever call anyone fat isn’t it?” I say

My daughter knows I help people for a leaving and says she wants to do that when she grows up. She knows to be kind and to be careful not to upset people.

I try, as much as possible, to lead by example.

In day to day practice we don’t talk about content of food by the labels or nutritional content but instead talk about growing food and treat food. If she’s hungry or it’s mealtime she needs to eat growing food. If she’s eaten enough growing food then it’s ok to have some treat food.

A while back I was driving back from Aviemore and hadn’t planned for lunch. This was bad of me because my daughter needs a wheat free diet so it is not easy to grab something. All I had was chocolates so when daughter complained of being hungry I offered her them “They won’t stop me being hungry” she said. It made me smile because that’s exactly what I wanted her to learn.

We also praise her for knowing when she’s had enough. Kids listen to their bodies. They eat when they are hungry and don’t when they are not. It is adult that enforce rules about when you should eat and how much etc. When my daughter has eaten enough and chooses to leave food because she’s full we tell her “well done you”. And she knows, of course, that unless she’s eaten enough growing food she won’t get treat food.

How we look does not define who we are. Changing how you look may make you feel better in yourself but it also may not. It is unethical, in my opinion, to market a diet by saying it will improve your self esteem.