Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed. – Thich Nhat Hanh
At the beginning of each year, people make resolutions on how they will change their life “for the better.” But they end up making the same resolutions year after year because, after about a week, they return to their old habits. I believe that a big reason people fail to keep their resolutions is because they have not taken the time to identify what researchers call their baseline. They are not really aware of their patterns of behavior. For example, they may know they need to lose weight but they haven’t examined why, really why, they gained the weight first place. They may think the reason is one thing when it may be something else completely.
During the Golden Age of Hollywood, studios hired coaches and tutors to help actors and actresses learn the skills they needed to become glamorous. Makeup artists and costume designers would carefully examine an actress’ features to decide what to play up and diminish. Stars studied elocution–which is why they all seem to have the Transatlantic accent that sounds like a cross between a British and American accent. They were taught how to move and walk and so on and so forth. But before they could learn how to do these things, the coaches and tutors had to do a complete assessment to become aware of their current habits, behaviors, and capabilities.
And that is what we are going to do. We are going to become aware.
Instead of making resolutions on how to be more glamorous, I’m going to spend January focusing on awareness of how I function in the world. No judging allowed. I’m just becoming aware of my current behaviors–my baseline– and then comparing them to how I want to be. Once I have this information, I can create an action plan.
This week, I’m focusing on my eating habits. I’m not worrying about calories, per se. I’m more interested in what I’m eating and why. Including the how much part also helps me get a baseline awareness of my eating habits. There is much research that suggests that just writing down what you eat leads to healthier choices and/or weight loss because it leads to awareness (there’s that word again…funny how that works…).
If you care to join me to establish your baseline eating habits, just write down what you are eating, how much, when, where, and why. You might also want to include a hunger scale to determine if you are really hungry for food or if it is something else. You can go digital with a free app like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt!, or SparkPeople. I prefer old school paper pencil so I’m using the Fitbook Fitness and Nutrition Journal since I plan to keep tracking my activity and eating for the long term. You can even use just a notebook or sheets of paper. Whatever will work for you–there is no right or wrong, there is no judgment. I don’t want you to get caught up in the planning and making sure your journal is perfect.
Have you journaled your eating to help you become aware? What did you find out?
Collage image credit: Art nouveau postcard courtesy of TotallyMystified on Flickr.com
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