Give Me The Fish (GMTF): Making lasting change is frick’n hard. It’s why New Year’s resolution almost always fails, it’s why we are fatter than we would like to be and it’s why we don’t look like Hercules, or are near as cool and collected as James Bond is under pressure. These are things many of us have tried to be over the years but failed. There is a way to get to where we want to be but to do that we have to stop treating this the same way Western Medicine treats disease.
We have to tackle the cause of the problem and not the symptom. If you want to make lasting change you need to know “The Why” before you can change “The What”.
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“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin
Here is my public service announcement: Benjamin Franklin was wrong and not because he was a pimp and the Greeks were onto something.
I just quoted probably one of the most famous planning quotes of all time, rah-rah, plan your whole life.
I actually think that quote isn’t entirely true.
While it’s true that having no plan is a terrible idea, the problem is, we naturally already plan out most of our lives. We have spent our entire life learning how to do things the way that we do things every day.
The way you grocery shop is likely taken by watching how your parents shop. The way you date is what you have learned by having a million and one bad dates, along with friends giving awful advice and feedback from that one friend that you have of the opposite sex.
All of these life lessons are more than just lessons, they are habits. Habits are nothing but engrained plans that we follow over and over and over again.
So, it’s almost impossible for us to fail to plan.
The truth is, that our habits (our plans) may or may not be good ones and they may or may not apply in all situations.
This is where the Greeks come in.
“Character is Destiny” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher
The Greeks believed that we all had a destiny that was pre-ordained by the Gods. You would hike up to your oracle, hear your destiny, and then regardless of what you did, you were going to fulfill that destiny.
The catch was that the destiny was so convoluted that you probably weren’t going to fulfill it in what seemed like the obvious course.
They would say you were going to die by fire. So, you would then spend your whole life trying to avoid fire and flammable things.
A few years later you are living in the middle of nowhere on a hunting trip and you accidentally get shot by a buddy and you die.
And, it turns out you died by fire because the gun that shot you, was “fired”.
Ok, ok, so I made this example up, but you get my point.
This is our habits.
The habits that have been taught by our parents, friends, and society around us.
Habits determine our destiny.
As Heraclitus said, our character, which is taught and built, determines what we do. Our character is just a foundation of habits built on habits.
We are bound to follow what we are taught and these habits are what lessons gave us.
If we are taught to always eat a certain way, we will always eat a certain way.
If you are taught it’s ok to be fat, then you will believe it’s okay to be fat.
Even if you radically change your diet, eventually it will become so burdensome and taxing you will revert back to what you were trained.
Back to the same plan that your parents followed, your friends do, or what you imitated growing up. Like walking down the aisle of the grocery store and throwing what looks good into the cart, if they ate like that and shopped like that, so will you.
Don’t believe me, try going on keto.
You will likely complain and moan and hate it. Meanwhile, you have Eskimos that live that way their entire lives that I’m sure would feel the same way if they decided to try being vegan.
As the military knows, in times of stress, we always revert back to our training.
For you, eating how you were taught is your training and the same is the case for the Eskimos.
The diet isn’t the problem, you are. You are preventing yourself from making lasting change.
How Do We Make Lasting Change?
If we want to make lasting change, we first have to understand what the cause of our bad habits is in the first place.
If we are talking about nutrition, start with looking at how your parents eat, how your friend eats, and how you enjoy eating.
Once you figure that out, you then can make a plan for how to fix it. This you do through a nutrition plan that doesn’t override the way you want to eat but complements it.
That might be as simple as removing one food item at a time. For others, it might be something in their environment that triggers the bad habits, so they need to disrupt that environmental cue. For some of us, it’s realizing that we eat a certain way because it emotionally makes us feel nostalgic and that we don’t really care for the bad food in the first place.
Then to make that lasting change stick, we pound it in, over and over and over again until one day, it’s not a change, it’s who you are.
Regardless of what it is, once you understand “the why” you do something, you can then make a controlled, consistent, and plausible plan that can affect “the what” you do.
It’s knowing the source of the problem that lets us start tackling the cause and not the symptom.
Remember, if we don’t understand the why we can’t control the what.
Until Next Time,