The end of the year seems to be the time that we reflect on the events of the year, and we begin to think what the new year will bring us. At this time last year, the final edits of my gout book were in and I was patiently waiting for its release in February. Over the past year, over 2700 copies have been sold with so many positive reviews of the book posted on Amazon. I am very proud of my accomplishment, and of course looking forward to another writing opportunity in 2020.
It’s also the time of the year that we get bombarded with marketing ads and social media blurbs that promise you a “new you” in the upcoming year if you follow their program. Ahem…an added note to not compare yourself to the well-fit, muscle-defined actors on the Peloton ads!
I somehow end up relating my blogs to Bill Murray films (in truth, I have only seen three of them). One film, What About Bob, finds a neurotic, multi-phobic patient by the name of Bob under the care of an egocentric psychiatrist, Dr Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss). Dr Marvin has no idea what awaits him when he pulls his own, best selling novel, “Baby Steps,” off of the bookshelf and gives it to Bob. The book’s premise is about setting small, reasonable goals to achieve bigger ones. He uses the example of Bob just focusing on getting out of the room versus getting out of the building. Once he gets out of the building, Bob then employs the baby steps technique to coax himself to get on a bus….well, you can see where this is going.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year's resolutions is said to be about 80 percent with a complete drop-off by mid-February. Lose the resolution mentality, folks. Instead, follow Dr Marvin’s lead and set short-term, action-based goals such as walking 15 minutes a day, starting at 2x/week; taking the stairs at work; choosing grilled or baked foods instead of fried when dining out, or using 1% milk instead of 2%. These specific-based goals work best to ensure that you succeed in the long run.
In another classic Bill Murray flick, Groundhog Day, Murray plays Phil, a grumpy TV weatherman who is not thrilled to be covering his latest assignment of the annual Ground Hog day festivities in Punxsutawney, PA. He ends up in a bit of a time loop, reliving the same day over and over until he fully understands the dynamics of the day. I feel like people start out real strong at the beginning of the year, but then they fall out of the rhythm pretty fast. Perhaps the opportunity to relive each day as Phil does allows one to hone and perfect their preferred lifestyle approaches; changes may stick easier that way, in the end. And, perhaps Nike’s ad should say, “Do it until you get it right?”
Any way you look at it, the best way to implement change is via a realistic approach. Jumpstarting with extreme methods such as calorie deprivation or (suddenly) exercising everyday is simply not going to work in the longterm. Don't set yourself up for failure by burdening yourself with unrealistic expectations. My personal goal is to incorporate two meals a week that consist only of plant-based foods. I eat pretty healthy for the most part, but I seem to lack variety. So, it’s time to dust off some cookbooks (old school me still loves the feel of a bound book!) and try some new recipes.
So as I tap on my keyboard for last time in 2019, clad in my favorite red, tartan flannel pants, I bid you all a safe, cozy, happy and healthy start to 2020!