Here's my idea:
I'm going to come over and record you, film you on my phone,
doing whatever the thing is that you do
that, when you really think about it,
you actually don't want to do.
I'll spend the evening with you, as you
polish off a bottle of wine or
eat 3 slices of cake or
vape yourself silly--
whatever it is that you do.
It doesn't have to be a compulsion, but it could be.
I'll record your face as the alcohol starts to create blotches and swelling and lines
and your posture
and just exactly what it looks like as you "lose"
(relinquish? give up?)
Or I'll record you eating your fourth apple fritter,
as your face crumbles because your belly burns.
This is where my mind went this morning.
Where's the Grace in that?
On the one hand,
our brains are designed to make decisions
For Our Own Good.
When I was 17, on a Saturday morning, I yelled at my boss
because he didn't understand that I was hung over,
which was my very, very, very good reason for not working as hard as usual.
There's a part of the brain - orbitofrontal cortex,
it's like the bottom lip of the front of the brain,
sitting right above the eye sockets,
that's in charge of decisions.
When I ask you a question, and you answer,
that's a decision.
When there's a change of plans and you go along with it,
that's a decision.
When someone asks you on a date,
or to marry them,
and you answer,
that's a decision.
Three years ago, I started making decisions
of what I was going to eat that day.
Maybe it sounds tedious to you.
Writing with a pen, BLDS, every day...
It sounded simple to me. I trusted the process.
I made a decision about my food every day.
Over half of the days in the last 3 years
I did NOT follow my eating plan.
And the plan was NOT to eat boiled chicken and steamed broccoli at dinners,
or salads at every lunch.
I planned pints of non-dairy ice cream when I noticed
my body hates dairy.
I planned peanut M&Ms, until I decided I didn't like the explosive gas.
I didn't really understand it
but I was exercising my orbital cortex.
Like lifting teeny little weights.
Building the muscle of making decisions--
and half the time, following through with what I decided.
That's how you change behaviors.
If your goal is to declutter you closet, you could hire B Organized Today
to come and wipe it all out with you
in a few hours,
or you could spend a little time each day,
making a decision
and following through.
What's amazing in this process of deciding what you want,
is that it carries over into other areas of your life.
Because wherever you go,
you bring that bottom lip of the brain with you.
For over a thousand days,
over a thousand sheets of paper,
(you can use digital - I like pens)
I have genuinely changed my brain.
I have been making decisions, crazy-big ones,
and itty bitty ones,
all that time.
Have you experienced the "Morning After,"
where you did something the night before and
reeeeeaaally didn't want to,
if you thought about it?
You didn't rob a bank.
But you kind of know what you want (ideally)
but you did the opposite?
Nobody got hurt, you weren't arrested (this time)
and, honestly, you did have a good time.
The Extra two slices of pie at Thanksgiving.
You planned one drink and had five.
You decided you didn't want to date anyone with ______,
but you went out with him anyway.
We ALL do this.
It is perfectly, biologically, systematically impossible to
be a perfectionist
at following your goals.
We can exercise our bottom lips
to be a little tougher, a little stronger.
This week, I was reminded of my whys for not having
dairy, sugar, gluten and alcohol.
(Is your limbic brain freaking out right now?)
It is quite a list.
If you think about it, none of these four ingredients
are in the foods we give a newborn.
As the baby grows, we give them quite a bit of gluten, a little sugar,
a lot of dairy.
In our modern food landscape
not having these four things might sound
the opposite of freedom
Those are some interesting thoughts,
but are they true?
Is it actually ridiculous to not eat gluten?
Is it actually boring to eat low sugar?
There's a word: LOW.
(Or Lowe, if you're me.)
Because I have been a little compulsive about
the girl in the front row of class
raising her Hermione hand
and getting all A's (until she started drinking,)
LOW is the word.