With 2013 right around the corner, on January 1 or soon thereafter, there’s going to be a lot of people either starting a low-carb diet for the very first time, or they will be returning after regaining part or all of their prior weight loss. Unfortunately, most of those people won’t stick around for very long.
They’ll probably drift away by Valentine’s Day because New Year’s Resolutions are harder to keep than they realized.
Want to know why?
The truth is, sticking to a diet plan – any diet plan – won’t work very well (including a low-carb diet) if it’s your latest attempt at self-improvement. That’s right. Trying to self improve doesn’t work. It’s negative and painful, and we always try to avoid discomfort. That’s programmed into us. We are literally programmed to seek after pleasure and avoid all forms of pain.
Don’t believe me? WATCH yourself sometime. WATCH your family interact with each other. WATCH your friends, and WATCH people you don’t know. Just plop yourself down on a bench at the mall or eavesdrop on the couple over at the next table the next time you go out to dinner. LISTEN to the people you work with when they talk. LISTEN and just WATCH people.
You’ll learn more about our initial infant and childhood programming and conditioning that controls our everyday behavior and reactions than you ever wanted know.
Most New Year’s Resolutions Focus on What We Don’t Like About Ourselves
In fact, I’m willing to bet that – for most of us – that’s why we’re on a low-carb diet. Because there’s something about ourself that we don’t like.
Regardless of the general low-carb mantra that says, “It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle,” and regardless of the general low-carb mantra that insists that following a low-carb diet is about regaining health, few of us truly believe that. It’s taken me literally years to wrap my brain around that Truth. We aren’t doing low carb to improve our health. We’re doing low carb to fix something we don’t like. We’re doing low carb because we want to fix something about ourselves that we believe is wrong.
Am I right?
Common New Year’s Resolutions
There’s far more resolutions than I could ever list in a single blog post, but these are just a few:
- weight loss through dieting
- buying a gym membership, or a set of weights
- plans to quit smoking
- trying to lessen stress or control anger
- commit to be more organized
- try to make more money
- plan to get out of debt
All of them are negative things that we don’t like about ourselves, things that maybe other people have mentioned that we should fix about ourselves. Could that be why only 8 percent of those who ever make a New Year’s Resolution are able to keep them? Could that be why less than half of the American population even bother with setting annual goals?
We are programmed to break them. We are programmed to fight against anything that causes restriction, discomfort, insecurity, fear, and pain.
So What’s the Secret? Seeking After Pleasure?
I suppose that we could travel to the other side of the pendulum and seek after things that are pleasurable. We could seek after things that make us happy. If we decide to do that, those goals and resolutions would be much easier to keep:
- spend more time with family, rather than on yourself
- take a class at your local community college
- read a book you’ve been wanting to read
- plan an exciting vacation or weekend
- start a new hobby or business venture
- take the kids to the park regularly
- go to a movie once a month with your spouse
Depending on our inner beliefs and attitudes, we would be far less likely to break those types of resolutions than we would were they to cause us discomfort. But unless we remain extremely aware, our negative programming (the suggestions in our lives that we have accepted without experimenting with them for ourselves) could raise its ugly head and ruin it all.
The Secret of the Middle Path
Extremes are never helpful. Think about a child whose parents give him or her everything they desire. What happens? They turn into a tyrant, a bully, a selfish adult who doesn’t know how to tolerate even a speck of discomfort. That’s because a lack of opposition in our lives can be just as destructive as too much.
We need an opposing force. We need something working against us in order to polish away the roughness. We need life to be just the way it is. So perhaps the whole business of setting goals and resolutions is what’s wrong with the process, because a goal is always attached to an ideal. And ideals always provide disappointment and frustration when things don’t turn out the way that we hoped.
Now, that is the real reason why people leave a low-carb diet, isn’t it?
You start off in January with a ton of excitement, hoping that you can finally correct what is wrong with yourself, but something goes wrong. A few weeks down the road, you discover that the diet doesn’t work as well as it did for others. Your weight loss is moving along at a crawl, or maybe there is no weight loss at all. Maybe, you’ve even gained a few pounds.
So we start to think of ourselves as a failure. We are disappointed because our ideal didn’t bear fruit. Sometimes, we feel angry and deceived. Sometimes, we feel like it’s our fault. And sometimes, we begin to encounter even stronger forces of opposition because when we’re different or when something doesn’t work for us that worked for someone else, it makes them feel uncomfortable.
The Key Lies Within Our Subconscious Minds
THE KEY to making New Year’s Resolutions is to first recognize that discomfort is going to surface in our lives from time to time. We need to accept that discomfort for what it is, and move on. Put your focus somewhere else. Because the Truth is, the discomfort doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we stop fighting life and begin asking, “What is life trying to teach me?”
“What does life want me to know?”
What am I doing that is causing me to forget who and what I am? What am I doing that is causing me to make carbohydrates so important in my life?
What we believe is True when coupled with strong emotion is what will come true. That’s how powerful our subconscious mind is.
So the secret to setting New Year’s Resolutions that you can keep isn’t found in fighting against our subconscious minds. It isn’t found in setting up unrealistic goals. It isn’t found within the various plans for self-improvement or even diets that make us all sorts of wild promises that may or may not happen.