The Health Download with Dr. D: New Year's Edition
Hello beautiful people! So we have made it to a new year!
Are you already feeling the New Year pressure? What have you noticed in the first couple of weeks?
I will tell you what I have seen.
Social media posts about “New Year's resolutions”. (Oh boy! Here we go again...)
Articles talking about 16 ways to start your weight loss journey in the new year. (Do any of these ways actually work?)
Talk shows discussing Celebrity X’s weight maintenance routine and how you can learn it for the new year. (No shade to celebrities but why is a celebrity my guiding light? I am my own guiding light. Thank you very much!)
Countless ads from gyms across the country about starting the year off right. (I know marketing works! Not gonna fool me)
But we know the deal. We know the anecdotes and we know the stats. Most New Year's resolutions don’t seem to make it past the beginning of the new year!
Too much information at one time is exactly that….Too Much. Is any of that information even going to help? Are you really gaining the insights and tools you need to gain the skills to live well?
Homies, the truth is that it is not about will power but skill power, which is a radically different, thoughtful and effective approach to living well that we will talk more about that in future posts.
So I think getting your mind in the right place is really your first step. It is important to ground yourself in some solid principles that make just a whole lotta sense. I am going to talk about 2 key principles that I think are worth gold.
The first is to know your WHY
Why have you decided to make healthier choices in this year? You gotta Break. It. Down.
So let’s try it!
Why have you decided to make healthier choices in this year?
I want to live a healthier life.
Because I can see the impact that being unhealthy is having on my life.
Why is this important?
Because the impact is really affecting me. I don’t feel great. All types of issues are rising up. I’m getting concerned messages from my doctor about my health risk and I just want more for myself.
Why do you want more for yourself?
Because I believe in being able to live a life of my own design. That’s the BPL way!
Why does this matter so much for you?
Because I have seen first hand how health affects life experiences. I have seen first hand how chronic disease can create so much pain, suffering and death. I have seen this in my own family and it is both frustrating and saddening to know that it doesn’t have to happen this way. It is also empowering to know that I can actually do something about it!
Why is this important?
Because I don’t want to just live. I want to live well!
So your why is POWER. When you link your choices to the real reason, your WHY, it can make the inherent challenge of changing your habits so much more than how it is presented in our culture, which crowns fad diets and fitness gimmicks as king. Instead of a burden, a chore, an impossibility or a climb up Mount Everest, it can become a beautiful journey. Everytime you feel an urge to fall back into old unhelpful behaviors, just pull out your WHY and it changes everything, bringing you back in full control of living a life of your design.
The second is to focus on small habits, little bitty baby steps. Like everything else in the world, habits are a science. Remember that the origins of modern science itself was an attempt to explain phenomena observed in real life and so there are patterns that we can observe and from which we can learn. What we know about habits is that they are built by one main principle. That principle is consistency. Consistency is a superpower. I kidd you not. What happens to a baby from birth to year 1? They predictably learn to walk. Learning to walk as a baby is not a rarity, it is the norm. We are not surprised that they learn to walk, we are just amazed. We are amazed by that SUPERPOWER right there, in that very moment. Babies have given us some clues to this SUPERPOWER. One, they start small. They make tiny movements, until they get better, until it gets easier, until they are more confident. Two, they don’t stop or beat themselves up if they make a mistake. They just keep trying. It’s like they don’t even care that they “messed up” or failed when they fall. They may sometimes feel cautious or scared but they eventually move on from that and keep going. They just keep getting back on it. In the words of Cardi B, “Knock me down 9 times but I get up 10!”. We might need a little more baby and Cardi B wisdom. Three, they enjoy the process. They stand up, then fall down and then they laugh! It’s a process, not perfection and that’s a perspective that is seriously needed in our society that cultures us to believe that you go from beginner to perfect overnight, thanks to social media curation that highlights all the wins and no losses.
So as you begin this new year and think about your health, contemplate these concepts. First find your WHY and then start the journey, one little step at a time!