New Year Resolutions

"The greatest habit we must break is the habit of being ourselves." - Joe Dispensary.

Saw this quote online and it really rang true. I have the privilege of having a job where I help people get healthy and change their lifestyle. I have seen many succeed and I have seen many fail. The thing is, I can tell you what a healthy life style is. I can discuss the science behind cognitive behavioral therapy and prescribe for you a therapeutic regimen to change bad behavior. Hell, I can even prescribe meds or do a surgery that make it easier to change. I can map out a perfect diet and exercise plan. But I can tell you this, unless you understand deeply that you are more than who you think you are, you will fail. 

As I have started looking for the real answer to change, when you sift through the diets and therapies, when you look at those that truly succeed, you will find that they have a cataclysmic realization that they are more than they thought they were.  I hear everyday things like “I can’t go to sleep until . . .” Or “I don’t like vegetables and . . .” Or “ I hate exercising because . . . “ These aren’t just excuses. These are admissions of of a self bias. A notion that you are this certain person you have known all your life, who has these particular limitations. This self concept may have been born of psychological trauma, family ritual, societal norms, etc.. Regardless, you come to think of this you as this irrefutable and unchangeable you. You can subject this you to momentary torture for a goal to be met, but this you will never love exercising or never love vegetables. 

Forget all the diets and goals and realize this: you are so much more than you think you are. When I sit with an obese patient that has suffered all of their life I can imagine their new potential self sitting next to them. A “them” they could never have ever imagined could exist. It is my job to make them meet. To understand they need to “quit the habit of themselves “ and realize that they are so much stronger and so much more malleable than they could ever imagine. When they can get out of the box that they have created to describe themselves then anything becomes possible. Then they will realize that impossible is a dare worth taking.

I think we often go overboard on our resolutions  and let them rule us, until we break them and feel horrible. Go easy on yourself. Set SMART goals, and try to change behavior, not climb Mount Everest.

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