Taking Action to Honor Intention by Dr. Judi Hollis

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Everyone makes the New Year’s Resolution about weight loss. What’s a better action to take?

January is a dangerous time for Over-eaters. Actually, when isn’t? January is the month when nearly everyone makes some kind of New Year’s resolution about eating less, exercising more, and generally working toward better health and fitness. Over-eaters in Recovery can do the same, as long as we remember we are human and fallible. We benefit from announcing an intention to maintain gentle discipline and, no matter what, get back on track when we falter. The only action that counts is getting back on the beam, and staying on the path that’s true for you. If you fall away from your gentle inner discipline, draw yourself back with a welcoming smile. It will feel like your healthier-self has been quietly awaiting your return.

It is important to carefully plot the commitments you’d like to make, and definitely steer clear of weight-loss goals. Your body may not be able to deliver the promises your head wants to keep. Instead of making promises and setting goals, it is best to offer up intentions. The best intentions are gradual behavior changes that can be reasonably accomplished. Announce your intentions to move towards health and wellness, while acknowledging that life sometimes intrudes. For example, as much as you may want to meditate for twenty minutes twice a day, it may not be realistic for your lifestyle. Rather than scrapping the meditation objective, find a routine that is workable. Maybe only once a week can work. Maybe back and knee issues don’t allow extended sitting. So, maybe meditating while focused on your breathing moving through yoga poses is the best meditation for you.

If you find yourself in a situation where the food you had intended to eat is unavailable, then decide to eat what is available in a mindful, meditative manner. In that way, you are still telling your inner self that you are on the beam even if your path has become a bit bumpy. Maybe you intend to make at least one weekly Twelve-Step meeting, but unavoidable events draw you away. Extensive self-talk is needed here to keep reassuring your innermost self that you are still on track even with slight deviations.

No matter what behavior you’d like to change, make your intentions reasonable. A yogi once advised me, “It is better to commit to practice only once a month and actually DO IT than to commit to daily practice and not accomplish it.” We don’t want to set up any failure scenarios.

Every single action you take honoring your intention counts. It is a message to your body and soul that you are on a different path. Don’t worry about quantity. Just do something. Everything counts. If you manage to walk around the block, that counts. Actually, just lacing up the shoes counts. Pushing your plate away when feeling just slightly sated is an action that honors your intention. It counts. Sitting quietly listening and chewing while others at your table may be talking with mouths full, is a message to your inner being. It all counts. Every one of these actions announce to your inner-self that you are on a slightly different course, and still balanced on the beam.

In summation, your best Action Plan is to:

1. Make No Promises.
2. Be Realistic.
3. Know that Everything Counts.