Good morning, y’all! Welcome to The Work Of Becoming podcast, and today I want to talk about rebelling against the plan. So, story time.
As many of you know, I have set a goal for myself to eat 2,023 servings of plants in the year 2023. That is my big outcome goal for the year. It breaks down to about six servings a day, so it really just is about me keeping track of what I’m eating and making sure I get those plants in which is just an overall health thing for me. But as part of my pursuit of that goal, one of the things that really works well for me is tracking my food ahead of time.
So, I personally choose to track my food. You don’t have to track your food. For some people it can feel really strict, and it can lead to disordered eating. For me, it’s actually very, very helpful. I find it very, very empowering, and so, I do it because I like to do it. When I track my food, what’s really helpful is putting it all in my food tracker a day ahead of time. And so, I chose that habit because if I plan out my six servings of vegetables or six servings of plants every day, then I know the next day what the heck I’m gonna do. I don’t encounter as many obstacles. I’m not procrastinating those plants for later on. It’s just a much better situation.
And so, the night before the first day of the year, I was like, “Okay, I’m gonna track my food for tomorrow.” I open MyFitnessPal, I get it all in there, I go to bed, I wake up the next morning, and I look at my breakfast plan, and immediately I’m like, “No, don’t want that,” and my rebellious brain comes out. My rebellious brain, she’s around. She’s there. She’s part of me. That’s okay, and I know that all of you probably have had moments, especially when you’re planning something for the first time. I see this a lot with clients with time blocking because we work a lot with clients on time management, organization, time blocking, and what clients will do is they’ll time block their calendar, and then they’ll get to that first block the next morning (whatever they’re supposed to do at, like, 9:00 AM or whatever), and immediately they’re like, “I don’t want to do this. I can’t do this now. I have to do something else,” and so, their rebellious brain comes out. I want to just explain that a little bit.
So, our brains are creatures of routines. They like following patterns because when we follow patterns that we’ve had previously it reduces the energy that we have to spend on thinking. It allows us to use a different type of thinking which conserves energy and conserving energy keeps us alive, and that’s what our brain, ultimately, is there for is to help us stay alive, okay? And so, this is important to know because when you’re in a pattern or when you’ve been doing something a certain way, your brain doesn’t like to deviate from that way.
And so, I see a lot of people who say to me, “Oh, well I can’t plan because immediately I resist that plan,” and what I want to point out to you is that it could possibly be not that you’re resisting the plan but because planning is different from what you’ve previously been doing (not planning), the difference is actually what causes that sense of rebellion. So, it’s not that your brain is incapable of following a plan.
In my case, in this story, it’s not that my brain was incapable of (or I somehow have a personality that doesn’t work with) planning my food ahead of time, that’s not it at all. It’s that, for the past couple of months, I haven’t been planning my food ahead of time. And so, switching my protocol to one where I choose whatever I want to eat for breakfast to one where I already have that decision made, that transition is going to be difficult for my brain.
I tell you this because now, as I’m recording this, we are three or four days into the new year, and already this morning when I got up — it’s actually January third, so I’ve been doing this for four days now, essentially — I already was having way less difficulty. I got up. I looked at my breakfast. I’m like, “Okay. Eggs, bacon, fruit. Solid.” I made it. I ate it. It was fine. I had almost no resistance. Yesterday, I had a little bit of resistance. The day before, I had major resistance. That resistance has gone away as I got more and more used to this way of doing things. But anytime you start planning more diligently than you did before, anytime you switch a habit, anytime you try to pick up something new, your rebellious brain is going to come out, and if we blame the thing you’re trying to do rather than the overall circumstance of your brain just resisting new things, then we might not end up doing the thing that actually might be a really, really powerful habit for us.
So, think about that. Let me know how that might shift your thinking or if it’s really helpful for you. Otherwise, I will see you in the next episode. I always say that! I don’t see you. I will talk to you in the next episode.