Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Resolving to Rewire for the New Year

I've never been much for New Year's Resolutions. My reasons are not unique; like many have written before me I feel they just set you up for disappointment. They are band-aids, not treatments, as are most of our supposed solutions to health problems and world problems alike.

I do think, however, that there is one conceptual resolution worth making that, if you are successful, will enable you to keep all of your more specific resolutions (perhaps without even trying): resolve to re-wire your brain.

Easier said than done, certainly, but also easier to train your brain once than to harass yourself each and every time you should work out but don't, eat the cookies, or choose the pasta instead of the chicken.

  1. Replace "should" with "would" or "could"
I stumbled across this suggestion in this blog post today.  The author suggests that we "shift from a condemning command to a hopeful possibility" to lighten up our lives and facilitate good choices. "I would like to go to the gym today" or "I could eat some more vegetables" rather than "I should do those things." When we say "should", then making the healthy choice seems like some sort of punishment, while not making the healthy choice causes guilt and self loathing. Remove the judgmental connotation and turn the healthy choice into something positive that you are doing for yourself rather than a punishment.

     2. Change your relationship with food

This is something I've written about before, and probably the biggest non-physical change that I have experienced since beginning CrossFit. In short, I started seeing food as fuel instead of the thing that was making me fat. Guilt, regret, and shame do nothing but make you unhappy. When I see food as necessary and beneficial fuel, it's easier to make good choices because I know how crummy my body will feel in the next day's workout (and all day, really)  if I don't.

     3. Practice good choices (and they'll get easier)

So I just went to find the link to a previous post where I discussed a thing I'd read about how you can re-wire your brain and change habits through repetition....Apparently I wrote a whole post about new year's resolutions last year entitled Practice Stuff You Suck At....which really should have been "Practice stuff at which you suck, I think, but nevermind). Anyway if you'd like some elaboration follow the link so I'm not any more redundant than I already have been!

Happy New Year!

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