Friday, February 12, 2016

Good Intentions and Resolutions

I realize that it's mid-February. A lot of people have already made and broken their New Year's resolutions. I've already broken one of mine too. My goal is to completely read one book a month. I didn't get through a whole book in the month of January. Life happens. A child of mine was hospitalized with RSV and pneumonia and while that should have made it seem like I would have had a lot of downtime to read, I was honestly just sleeping while I was not sitting up and nursing him around the clock in the hospital. I am certainly giving myself grace for something that was totally out of my control. 

I do better with big ideas in life. Finding one overarching theme and applying it to the practical things that I have to do everyday. I have goals under my theme, but for the most part I view my theme as a guidance for the decisions I make throughout my year. 

My theme this year?

I sometimes struggle with the motivation to do things. I know everyone struggles to find the motivation to do something. For some, it may be struggling to find the motivation to exercise. For others, it may be struggling to find the motivation to save money. I've found that in a lot of mom circles, we like to get pats on the back for our struggles. Affirmation that we are not alone. It goes beyond that sometimes and we receive affirmation for things that we really should be working to change. Receiving affirmation for poor eating habits is not helping you. It's actually hurting your body and health long term. The talking about knowing you need to eat healthier items with friends might provide you with accountability if you're serious about changing your eating habits, but it also might be a way to feel better about your lack of action that has been replaced by good intentions. 

I typically eat a low glycemic index diet. After I had gestational diabetes while I was pregnant with Maddux that was totally diet controlled, I decided I actually liked the way I felt when I wasn't eating sugar. Having gestational diabetes also increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes 10 years down the road. That would mean that there was a chance that I could have Type 2 diabetes at 35. 35 years old! Can you imagine being that young and diagnosed with something so potentially life-consuming? I couldn't, so I made some changes. Fast forward to present day. I ate low glycemic index through my pregnancy with Marshall as well, sometimes straying based on what I could keep down without vomiting. I had Marshall (VBAC!) and I firmly believe that a low glycemic index diet is what helped me be successful in accomplishing that goal. However, since I had him, Maggie's birthday happened. Christmas happened. New Year's happened. Now Valentine's Day is upon us. I had gone from eating very little to no sugar to eating at least 2-3 sweet things a day. That may not seem like a lot for some, but when you don't eat sugar regularly, it's a lot! I noticed one day in particular that I felt moody, grumpy, and shaky. And that was after eating lunch! I decided then that I needed to get back to my low glycemic index diet. However, supper time rolled around and there was a sweet treat and so I ate it. And then felt grumpy and told myself that I really needed to get back to the low glycemic index thing. But the next morning, my husband brought donuts. So I ate them. And felt moody and grumpy. And told myself that I really needed to get back to the low glycemic index thing. And then weeks had passed. I had even bought myself all the food I usually eat and cook with while eating low glycemic index. And I would eat that, but then still eat sweets. I would then talk about how I really needed to stop eating these sweet treats. They really weren't good for me and I didn't like the way I felt after I ate them. On and on this went until one day, frustrated by a lack of action by someone in my life, I texted to my husband, Good intentions are no better than doing nothing.

I realized that good intentions were what I had been living on. As long as I had good intentions, I excused myself from acting. They were there in the back of my mind, affirming my lack of action by making excuse for my behavior. "Well, I didn't intend to eat any more sweet treats, but my husband brought donuts home, so I just HAD to eat them. I already bought all the healthy stuff I usually eat, so I'm not going to worry about one donut." Doing this once in a while is really no big deal. I'm not so rigid in my life that I cannot enjoy a well-timed donut. It's making this a habit that causes problems. 

The habit of good intentions with no action in my life causes me to stall out. 

I don't ever really DO anything in my life because I don't have to. I've had the high of good intentions and plans, so I don't have to seek the high of actually completing a task. This seems to be a trend for me. I do get things done, but only after hours of planning. Planning for me can be the "good intentions" phase. Actually, I need to be proactive in finding ways to complete the tasks on my to-do list. I need to sit down and figure out what I need to do and what tools or people I need to accomplish my goal. But then, I need to actually DO the things on my goals list. My intentions are to offer to babysit for a mom who needs a morning alone? I need to ask her what day she needs a few hours to herself and then I need to actually clear my schedule and tell her, "I'm free to watch your kids." 

Doesn't that seem silly? Of course we have to act on our goals. But good intentions are so much easier than action. That's probably why people stop making New Year's resolutions. The resolutions are long on good intentions and short on action. Thinking about what I might gain from completeing the task vs. what might happen if I don't complete the task is a good exercise for me in making sure I'm working towards goals. I certainly don't have this perfectly figured out, but I'm taking proactive steps to make sure I am actually doing the things I intend to do. Let's be sure to put our good intentions to work!

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