January 9, 2020

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian, certified health coach, diabetes care and education specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they discuss why most New Year’s resolutions fail and how to succeed where others haven’t.

“Not one workout is going to make you fit, and not one bad meal is going to make you unhealthy. Do you know what I mean?… It’s about a lifestyle change, making better decisions most of the time, and finding what you need to improve upon.” – Grace Derocha

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • The biggest reason New Year’s resolutions fail
  • The most commonly set goals
  • Adopting an attitude of gratitude
  • Changing your approach with SMARTE
  • The importance of a support system

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica: This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, episode 45. Happy New Year. Coming up we discuss New Year’s resolutions and why they may not always pan out. You think? How many years have you been alive, right? Sometimes it just doesn’t work the way you want it to.

Chuck Gaidica: Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can all improve our health and well-being through small healthy habits that you can start right now. I mean, right now as part of, ooh, maybe your New Year’s resolution. I’m your host Chuck Gaidica. Every other week we sit down with a certified health expert from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and we dive into topics that cover nutrition, and fitness, and so much more, so many of these things that fall under that umbrella of “I’m going to have a new outlook for 2020.” Maybe that’s you. So this episode, you guessed it, we’re discussing yearly traditions. Making a New Year’s resolution. With me today is a Registered Dietician and health coach, Grace Derocha. Happy New Year to you.

Grace Derocha: Happy New Year, 2020.

Chuck Gaidica: It flew. Since the last time we got together in December, I mean, it really has just [whoosh 00:01:01] gone by like that, right?

Grace Derocha: Way too fast.

Chuck Gaidica: Grace is registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, certified health coach and, obviously, somebody who works with people all the time. We think of this click into a new year as the perfect time to start … Here comes a phrase I know you don’t like, “new year, new me.” Come on, look, do I look new and improved?

Grace Derocha: Don’t get me started on it. I don’t like that.

Chuck Gaidica: No?

Grace Derocha: What I think is … You’re probably not that bad to begin with so why do you have to be new?

Chuck Gaidica: Well, thanks for sticking up for me, but isn’t this a perfect time really for this clean slate, like, it’s clicked, the calendar changed. I have to get rid of old paper calendars if I got one free from my insurance guy. Everything is shifting, why not this be the perfect time to make a new slate?

Grace Derocha: Because why couldn’t every day be a new slate?

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.

Grace Derocha: Or why every moment that you want to have a better attitude about something could be a new slate? Trust me, I get it, I get that it is a time of tradition, or people thinking, “I can set a New Year’s resolution and stick to it and make all these wonderful changes.” I usually say this with diets, but like if a diet worked then why are you trying a new one every year?

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, or every other week?

Grace Derocha: Yeah. Maybe it’s not just diet, but whatever your New Year’s resolution is we know they fail within six weeks of the New Year.

Chuck Gaidica: There is something to be said for … Even with positive psychology applied, because I know you use that in dealing with your clients and patients, right?

Grace Derocha: Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica: You’ve got to really charge into maybe a lifestyle change. This idea that we are going to reinvent ourselves, some of us at times in our lives, seasons, need reinvention. You know, you’ve lost your job, your kids have grown up and left the house. I mean, there are these times when you really can look and take stock in who you are and say, “You know, I am going to make a change.”

Grace Derocha: Absolutely. I think there is something about those moments. Those are moments of growth and resilience, but like just that phrase “new you,” you’re not changing who you are completely.

Chuck Gaidica: Right.

Grace Derocha: You’re still Chuck at the core. You’re just … It’s more like a revolution, or evolution, of who you are because there’s growth, and process, and things that are happening, and there might be change, but you’re not new. It’s not like … This is a terrible analogy, but it’s not like when the refrigerator breaks you literally buy a new refrigerator and then there’s a new refrigerator. You’re still who you are. I think maybe highlighting some of the great things that you have already and then, also, maybe looking at things that are not as great or something that you do want to improve upon and think of it as an improvement as opposed to, … Maybe it’s a fresh coat of paint, maybe it’s the icing, and not a whole entire new cake, or a whole entire new wall.

Chuck Gaidica: That’s a really good point because if you get too down on yourself that to your core there’s something wrong, instead of just saying it’s the icing on the cake, it’s not really the cake.

Grace Derocha: Well, and we all know there are some people maybe that it’s the core, not so great.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, but that’s a different episode, right?

Grace Derocha: Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: We’re talking about us. So, if you’re good at the core and you don’t really have to work on that, and even if you do, this idea of self-awareness and understanding your qualities, how would you suggest we get in contact with those? Journaling? Like literally write them down so we can look at them and say, “Yeah, I’m pretty good at that. I’m pretty good at that?”

Grace Derocha: Yeah. So, this is what I … This depends on the person I’m working with, but sometimes I will tell them, “What is like, … Where is like the dreams, and the goals, and like craziness like ‘I want to be the next famous actor,’ whatever?” So really crazy dreams, things that you really want to strive for that might be out of this world, and then coming into the middle that might be more realistic and more aligned with like what your life looks like and where you really want it to be, and then things that you’re doing to get there, and then things that you need to change to help you get there. So, it’s not always all bad things. It’s kind of strengths, and some weaknesses, and then opportunities that you can help kind of change it up a bit.

Chuck Gaidica: Well there are even tests for that, right? I mean, you can go online and take a Gallup Strengths Finder Test to determine your top five strengths for about 20 bucks. I mean, I have no skin in the game. I don’t get paid to say this, but I’ve done it. It is an interesting bit of self-awareness to know how you’re wired, because it also helps you understand how other people see you, or where your strength can actually help or hurt …

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: …other people.

Grace Derocha: Well, and I think it’s super interesting in this day and age, too, with social media and everyone weighing in on what everyone else looks like, …

Chuck Gaidica: Right.

Grace Derocha: … or what they’re wearing, or how they are, or what you posted that may have been so great, but maybe you’re at home and it’s not as great as you’re putting out there. You know, and having that check-in moment where you can really make real changes and have real growth in this process that allows you to do really great things.

Chuck Gaidica: So let’s just say if you’re one of those people that actually takes the time to make your list of things that you’re doing too much, and you put on there, “I’m a little too snarky,” because you’re that person online who’s going after people.

Grace Derocha: I think he’s talking about me.

Chuck Gaidica: No, no, I’m not, but that is a thing you can refine. You can actually see some of the bad, not just the good places to improve, but you can say, “You know, I’d love by 2021 to have a line through that one.”

Grace Derocha: Right, or maybe look at it and say, “I’m snarky. What does that mean? Does that mean maybe I use my voice even if it shakes, and if I do is there a way that I can refine the language that I use so it could be more positive?” Do you know what I mean? Being snarky, or being brave to say something, are two different things but come from the same kind of animal.

Chuck Gaidica: I think what’s also interesting about what you’re saying, there’s a bit of time that we’ve got to invest in ourselves, and a lot of us in a busy world …

Grace Derocha: Yes.

Chuck Gaidica: … don’t really think about taking the time. “What do you mean I’m going to sit down, Grace Derocha, I’m going to sit down and I’m just going to write a little list of things that I could tweak on the frosting here for 2020?” Some of us are moving so fast that I don’t know that we give ourselves enough credit, and give ourselves enough time, to invest in us while we’re investing in your case, kids, husband, work, driving here and there. You know what I mean?

Grace Derocha: It’s so funny. I just was talking about this with a couple friends, and my husband, because sometimes we get, were so … We just came off the holidays, and it was so busy, and there’s so much planning, and you want to try to squeeze in all the fun while the kids were on break, and doing all these things and making all these plans. Sometimes you forget to like exhale, right? You forget to breathe, and being busy sometimes is also a thing that people think they’re supposed to be, or do, all the time. Maybe the thank you to ourselves is actually taking the moment of self-reflection …

Chuck Gaidica: Right.

Grace Derocha: … and exhaling and really looking at that.

Chuck Gaidica: You don’t have to lose your identity, the core, when you’re looking to refine either. I mean, this isn’t like we’ve got to … I understand the weight loss goals, and the things that we call New Year’s resolutions that are pretty typical, or pretty usual, but when you’re looking at refining yourself you don’t have to blow up the model and start over.

Grace Derocha: Right. I think it could be really simple things. I know we’ve talked about this a little bit, like living in gratitude and being grateful, because while you’re journaling, and writing, and doing some of these things maybe taking a moment to actually be thankful for the things that you do have.

Chuck Gaidica: I’ve talked about this in other episodes. So, I’ve got a Smartwatch, right? My watch will tell me breathe, and and when to stand, and other things.

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: I think it would be great if it every in a while said, “What are you thankful for?” I mean, out of the blue, literally, because sometimes you absolutely forget, even in the midst of a crummy day what you are thankful, you’re thankful for your family.

Grace Derocha: Hey, tech people, are you listening?

Chuck Gaidica: Okay, yeah.

Grace Derocha: That’s a great … You gave them our idea.

Chuck Gaidica: Okay, ixnay on the thankfulness-nay.

Grace Derocha: Or like what do you love? What do you love today?

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.

Grace Derocha: Maybe it could be yourself for once.

Chuck Gaidica: Well you remember, you’re not old enough, but I know you’ve heard the name. If you go back and Google, everybody who’s 12 who’s listening, Stuart Smalley, it’s basically Al Franken who was part of Saturday Night Live …

Grace Derocha: I do remember.

Chuck Gaidica: … who then went on to be a U.S. Senator, right?

Grace Derocha: Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: Well, when he was a writer on SNL, they let him on the air every once in a while, and he had this bit called Stuart Smalley. He’d come out in this Mr. Rogers-like sweater with this really weird looking blonde hair wig, and he would look in a mirror and he would say, “I’m good enough, …

Grace Derocha: I’m good enough.

Chuck Gaidica: … smart enough, …

Grace Derocha: I’m smart enough, …

Chuck Gaidica: … and doggonit …

Grace Derocha: and doggonit people like me.

Chuck Gaidica: … people like me. It was this affirmation, and it was kind of comical because his character was kind of goofy, but I think that there aren’t enough times in our day where we take the time to even think that, you stop in the mirror and you look, not in a false humility way, not in an arrogant way but, “You know what I’m okay. I am okay.”

Grace Derocha: High five.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, across the big long-

Grace Derocha: It’s funny, because my … Some of my friends have taught my kids this and so it makes me have to do it, but affirmations. Kahlea is really … My daughter’s really good at it. She’ll give you yours, too.

Chuck Gaidica: Is that right?

Grace Derocha: Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: So, we also know something about ourselves if we’re going to be really brutally honest and self-aware, and let me give you an analogy. So, when Susan, my wife, said “yes,” I proposed to her with an IOU, by the way, nearly 40 years ago. She said “yes.” Then, I had to go get the ring. When, you go to the jewelry store and you ask about diamonds it’s like a foreign language. But here’s what’s interesting to me, and I think there’s an analogy here. I’m buying whatever I can afford, and it’s a little tiny diamond, in the day, and I’m looking at it and I’m thinking, under a microscope, “Well it’s not really crystal clear, bright white diamond because I can’t afford that.” By the way, there are these things called flaws and inclusions but I guess I’ll still buy it because it’s the only one I can afford, and it’s got a little cracked ice in the corner, and yet I buy that diamond and have it mounted and I give it to her and she thinks it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened. My point is …

Grace Derocha: He’s trying to make me cry.

Chuck Gaidica: Well, there are diamonds in the rough. Even diamonds have flaws and sometimes we lose track of this idea that we are all flawed. We just are.

Grace Derocha: Perfectly imperfect.

Chuck Gaidica: Isn’t that okay to be that way?

Grace Derocha: Absolutely. I feel like, again, in this day and age of people putting their highlight reels out there that we forget those things.

Chuck Gaidica: You mean like going on Facebook and making it look like everything’s perfect? Is that what you mean?

Grace Derocha: I think people are trying to get more real and, obviously, like everyone has their own social media and they can run it however they want to.

Chuck Gaidica: Right.

Grace Derocha: Just knowing that no one’s perfect, whatever that even means. I don’t know what that means.

Chuck Gaidica: Let’s just say, even though we know we have flaws and can admit those, even if it is just to ourselves, we can still improve on those spaces or those things about us?

Grace Derocha: Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica: I mean, if we always run late and people know it we can come on time. I’m just saying.

Grace Derocha: I did it today.

Chuck Gaidica: Did you? I didn’t notice.

Grace Derocha: For once.

Chuck Gaidica: Oh, I thought you meant you were running late. No, I’m sorry, I just trashed that whole idea. You are on time and I just, “Yeah, well it’s a new thing to us.” So, let’s talk about this idea that maybe there is nothing wrong with you at all. Maybe this is society, social media, work, family because, you know, there are a lot of weird things that happen. I mean we just came through the holiday season …

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: … so maybe we’re getting things imposed on us that imply that there’s something wrong.

Grace Derocha: Yes. It’s funny because there seems to be a thing where if you look a certain way, or you’re a certain size, that you’re automatically happier and more successful. I definitely see that on things like Instagram that’s very visually driven, that there’s a correlation there. There’s a correlation there in people’s minds too.

Chuck Gaidica: Right, right.

Grace Derocha: That is not how it is. That’s not how it has to be. I think really getting to know who you are, and what drives you, and what makes you better … I saw this somewhere. They were talking about how we’re living growing things so we’re changing, and that’s okay.

Chuck Gaidica: It is okay. Change is good.

Grace Derocha: As a living and growing thing there’s things you need, right? You need to eat, you need to sleep, you need your water. I feel like I’m talking about a plant, too, for some reason.

Chuck Gaidica: No, but it’s analogous. I understand what you’re saying. I think in today’s world you know what’s missing, and I don’t just mean because of loud mouth people who get online, or get-

Grace Derocha: Snarkies.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, snarkies. That does come under what I’m about to say. I think in America, and maybe the world, we’ve lost this notion of redemption, because if you’re allowed to change, and grow, everything you’re saying, which I buy into, somewhere along the way you may have stepped in a big puddle in your life. Maybe it was a big pile you stepped in, …

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: … and you now have no opportunity anymore to say, “I’m sorry.” Even if you said, “I’m sorry,” 20 years later we’re at what point … Got to love people who run for public office and throw their hat in the arena, because somewhere back there you did maybe, I don’t mean the dastardly things …

Grace Derocha: Right, right, right.

Chuck Gaidica: … that you should go to jail for, but I mean somewhere along the way when you were 18, or something, you did something stupid.

Grace Derocha: Maybe you hurt someone.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, do we not have an opportunity in life any more to redeem ourselves and really say, and mean it, “I’m sorry, and I’ve grown.”

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: Somehow we’re going past that.

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: So we are allowed to grow and change?

Grace Derocha: Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica: Does that mean we should also embrace this notion of who we are, this idea of self-acceptance, where we are in the moment, and still understand …

Grace Derocha: Oh, yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: … that moving forward. When you see people who are trying to change their diet, and I know you deal with it a little differently, it’s just the way your soul is wired, but when you deal with people like that are you trying to help them with nudging a little bit on the mental health side of things …

Grace Derocha: Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: … and the positive …

Grace Derocha: Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica: … affirmation?

Grace Derocha: Yeah. I mean, my other degree is in Psychology for that reason, because they go hand in hand so much. So, it definitely … So, there’s so many things, there’s self-acceptance, there’s self-love. There’s growth, and growth doesn’t have to be extreme change. In 2020, I’m saying bye to new year, new me. Maybe we, … We have to think of a better phrase.

Chuck Gaidica: I agree with you. I think it alliterates well and so oftentimes we get stuck with stuff just like that. The name Baby Boomers, I am one, but there’s no other phrase that stuck. Go figure it out.

Grace Derocha: Right, right, right.

Chuck Gaidica: There is none, and don’t you dare call me a senior. So, I’m just saying there are certain phrases that are always going to get stuck. Let’s talk about New Year’s resolution. Let’s just say we are making one, …

Grace Derocha: Right, right, right.

Chuck Gaidica: … whether we like the idea or not. The odds are they’re going to fail.

Grace Derocha: So, 55% of New Year’s resolutions are usually health related, and 80% of them fail by the sixth week into this year.

Chuck Gaidica: So we’re almost there right now when this podcast is actually launching, we’re just about at the fail point on average, right?

Grace Derocha: Yeah. So, by the time we hit February, somewhere in February, whatever that New Year’s resolution … Since over half of them are health related, so the most common ones that we saw from last year in Michigan were to exercise more, diet to lose weight, specifically, save money, get a new job, and eat healthier in general. So, those actually aren’t terrible things to strive for.

Chuck Gaidica: Right.

Grace Derocha: I think what happens is then to get to that, or to make that resolution real and to work, people get extreme with the way they do things.

Chuck Gaidica: That I’ve got to lose 20 pounds by February 15th, you know, and I just started Christmas. Right?

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: So there is that, but I think to your point that you started this conversation with, and continued the thread, if you do fail guess what? March 1st can be just as great a beginning …

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: … to start losing weight as February 1 or January.

Grace Derocha: Absolutely. Any day, any moment, maybe you had a terrible breakfast and maybe at lunch you do better. I say this, too, “Not one workout is going to make you fit, and not one bad meal is going to make you unhealthy.” Do you know what I mean? We talk about this often, it’s about a lifestyle change, making better decisions most of the time, and finding kind of what you need to improve upon. Maybe that’s your New Year’s resolution. Maybe you have too much sodium. We talked about that with Kristian last month, so maybe you’re going to just focus on reducing that because you know that your blood pressure’s creeping up, you know that high blood pressure runs in your family, and you want to be better in that respect.

Chuck Gaidica: So, I think that there’s also something that we tend to gloss over, many of us. I know I have in the past and I try now, I think I’ve gotten a lot better at it so I have refined it, is consistency. I came to learn that if I’m going to go on a diet, which I was told by my buddy, the doctor, “It’s a lifestyle change,” so I have adopted new vernacular. If I stay consistent with something, and in general my … If you look at the stock market you hope that the line is going up but sometimes it’s going up and down, up and down, but as long as the inclination is up, it’s okay. So I’m thinking of my life this way now. It’s okay if there are ups and downs, but as long as the trajectory is generally up. Same thing for weight loss, same thing for …

Grace Derocha: Healthy eating.

Chuck Gaidica: … healthy eating.

Grace Derocha: Exercise, all those things.

Chuck Gaidica: Right.

Grace Derocha: That’s funny. I wasn’t going to tell you this but, no one steal my idea, I always said if I ever wrote a book, …

Chuck Gaidica: Yes, why don’t you?

Grace Derocha: New Year new me, maybe I will.

Chuck Gaidica: Okay.

Grace Derocha: The first three chapters would literally be called consistency because that is the key into making anything happen, right?

Chuck Gaidica: Right. Learning how to play the piano, learning how to … You start jogging and you can only go two blocks and year from now if you’re doing okay and your knees are fine you’ll be up to a mile and a half, two miles.

Grace Derocha: Oh, save money. If you’re consistent, you will save money. If you eat healthier you will be healthier. If you exercise … If you go to sleep at a good time every night you will feel more rested and probably less stressed. So, there you go. The first three chapters of my book are all called consistency.

Chuck Gaidica: Way to give it away, Grace. So, do you see in your family … You don’t have to name names, or in your circle of friends, people who are always stuck, they seem like inaction is their middle name? They just … They talk about it, they talk a good game. They may listen to this podcast and say, “You know, there were a couple, three things that I could really …” They never do it. They never do it.

Grace Derocha: I see this with almost everyone I know.

Chuck Gaidica: What do you do? What do you say to them?

Grace Derocha: I ask them why, what is their why? At the end of the day with like if it’s weight loss, or if it’s to be healthier, why do you want to? I will tell you like back in the day, my why was probably more aesthetic, like what I looked like when I was young. Now that I’m older, now that I’m older, I think about wanting to be there for my kids, wanting to make sure I’m there to see them graduate from college, and get married, and play with my grandkids. So, those are extremely different. It may sound the same like, “I want to be healthier to be there for my grandchildren,” versus “I want to be healthier to fit in a size two.” That feels really different, especially now that I’m in my forties.

Chuck Gaidica: There’s another side to that why question. When you say to someone who’s trying to lose, who says out loud, “I’d like to lose weight,” I’m just giving an example, and you say why? Then there’s also another part of that question which could be why not? Why wouldn’t you?

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: I think that digs down deep into the place where sometimes people don’t really either want to share, or they’re embarrassed to share, because for some people, and I’ve met people like this and they would say, “I don’t want to lose weight because actually I kind of hide behind it. If I shed that other person I am becoming a new person and that’s scary.”

Grace Derocha: Well, yeah, the depths of that conversation is literally heavy, …

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.

Grace Derocha: … because a lot of people won’t admit that right away.

Chuck Gaidica: I know.

Grace Derocha: I had a patient way back when and she was very overweight. She was obese, and she was diabetic, and she would come to see me and she would barely talk to me. So, we would have our one-on-one session and she would barely talk to me. It was like pulling teeth and I was like, “Oh man.” I just wanted her just to talk. When she would come into … We would have class sessions, too, and she would come into the classroom, also very more observant. She would be taking notes, and I could tell she was listening, she was listening to the other people. Then, … I would say … I would try to make people participate. Then, as time went on she started to a little bit more.

Grace Derocha: Then, at the end she told me that … She handed me an invitation to her 80th birthday party, and I didn’t even know she liked me, but she had lost a lot of weight. Her blood sugars improved. One of the things that I finally got her to talk about was her why in a positive way. She said her grandkids love to dance and she wanted to be able to dance with them at her 80th birthday.

Chuck Gaidica: Wow.

Grace Derocha: So, fast forward. I still talk to her. She’s great. But she, when we started to meet and she started to talk, she said, “Part of me was scared that if I actually did what you said and I didn’t need my cane, or my walker, and I did get to dance at my 80th birthday party what that would actually mean.” I’ll cry right now just thinking about it. I was like, “That’s huge.”

Chuck Gaidica: I think that’s heavy for a lot of people, and you’re right, they don’t … It takes a minute to have a relationship that you build authentically for somebody to really share. Some people overshare. We know those people. But I mean, for most people it is a little difficult to actually dig that deep to admit to almost a perfect stranger, “This is really my baggage and this is why I can’t do what you’re asking me.” It makes perfect sense I should go exercise, but I can’t do it.”

Grace Derocha: Right. We found ways for her to like exercise. She would dance sitting down for awhile until we got there. She was very interesting as a patient for me, because I hadn’t had many that would actually say that out loud. I knew it because I observed it, but she actually was able to say that she was scared to live healthier and what that would actually mean, and how her friends and people would judge her and her family.

Chuck Gaidica: So, if you fast forward now have you been able to look in the rear view mirror and see how she did? I mean she obviously-

Grace Derocha: Oh, yeah, she’s great.

Chuck Gaidica: So proof is in the pudding. It actually worked out. There is another little angle to this idea of having unrealistic or unattainable goals. So I’m self-aware enough to know that if I told you, Grace, consistency in me becoming a ballet world-class ballet dancer in 30 days …

Grace Derocha: Baryshnikov, Jr?

Chuck Gaidica: … it will never happen. It will never … I’ve taken dance lessons. Susan made me go. It’s never going to happen. I can get by at a wedding. I can do the sprinkler, but it’s never going to happen. Now, for me to go back and learn, relearn, how to fly an airplane and get current I can do it in a minute.

Grace Derocha: Right.

Chuck Gaidica: It sounds more extraordinary, but it’s not. I know I could never be a dancer. That’s important to have that kind of self-knowledge, too, is it not? I’m telling you I can’t.

Grace Derocha: It’s actually such a very valid point that you bring up. I am not going to become Jennifer Aniston tomorrow.

Chuck Gaidica: No, oh well, yeah.

Grace Derocha: It’s just not happening. You know what I mean?

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, okay, so you’re self-aware enough to know you may not become a superstar. I’m not going to become a beach body guy. It’s just not going to happen. But, that’s okay. You know that.

Grace Derocha: Yes. Living your best life, and being your best self, not someone else’s version of you.

Chuck Gaidica: If you take on too many of these things at one time … We’ve seen people who the New Year’s resolution it’s plural.

Grace Derocha: Right?

Chuck Gaidica: It’s got an S at the end. I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to quit smoking, I’m going to get taller. I mean it’s all, you know, …

Grace Derocha: Oh, man, …

Chuck Gaidica: … and we get-

Grace Derocha: … I want that one.

Chuck Gaidica: It’s January one and it’s too much stuff, you’ve overburdened the system.

Grace Derocha: Yeah. If you are going to set some kind of resolution, or a lifestyle change, or whatever revolution of yourself, you have to be SMARTE about it. So, you have to set your goals in a SMARTE way. Obviously, I’m coming at you with an acronym now. So SMARTE …

Chuck Gaidica: I know.

Grace Derocha: … is making sure your goal is specific. So, whatever that is, and I said goal as in one, make sure that it’s measurable. You know, kind of like we have talked about before, when you go to the doctor and you get your blood drawn, you know where your baseline is and then you know how to measure that.

Chuck Gaidica: Sure.

Grace Derocha: That’s why I think sometimes something like weight is very measurable, so it’s used often for a New Year’s resolution, that it’s attainable, approachable, and adjustable. So that doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect every single day.

Chuck Gaidica: But I’m not going to become an astronaut. I mean, it’s not attainable.

Grace Derocha: Are your sure?

Chuck Gaidica: No, I don’t, no, I don’t think.

Grace Derocha: Yeah, absolutely, I’m not going to get taller. Make it realistic. There it is. So no astronauts, Chuck and I are not becoming astronauts tomorrow. Timely. So set some kind of timeframe for yourself. Oh, what I wanted to say with the us is have a support system in place, too. So, a specific goal but you have support along with you. I’m spelling SMARTE all backwards now. So then the E is my favorite. Make it something that’s enjoyable or exciting. So, maybe it is save money to go on a trip that you can plan for, or maybe it is exercise more, but maybe it’s exercise that you like to do. I don’t run, I would rather dance. So, maybe I would make my exercise goal something to do with dancing as opposed to running.

Chuck Gaidica: So, you could become a world class dancer.

Grace Derocha: No.

Chuck Gaidica: Maybe you are, I don’t know.

Grace Derocha: Don’t tell anyone.

Chuck Gaidica: No? So, this idea of a support team, flesh that out a little bit because I think that’s really important.

Grace Derocha: Yeah. So if you are … We’ll go with the save money one just to mix it up a little, or quit smoking. If someone’s trying to quit smoking but then all their friends, or their family, smoke, or they’re not supportive of them quitting it’s going to be really hard to do so. I’ve seen it happen with patients. I’ve seen it happen with family members. If your significant other is smoking it’s going to be hard for you to quit smoking. So, making sure that everyone’s on board at the same time to be supportive, and maybe they’re not ready to quit but maybe they just don’t smoke in front of you.

Chuck Gaidica: Maybe you find a table of people that you’ll gather with who are into the New Year resolution of exercise …

Grace Derocha: Right?

Chuck Gaidica: … and you all start biking together. Awesome.

Grace Derocha: Absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica: You know, it’s amazing to me when I look back at the history of even world-class politicians, nobody starts to think of this idea, “I’m going to run for President,” without sitting down with their little kitchen cabinet. It could include their spouse, it can include an advisor. They’re smart. If you’re going through life you may have a stockbroker and adviser, you may have a life insurance guy, somebody is going to help counsel you. Why not in this idea of attainable goals?

Grace Derocha: Absolutely. Oftentimes when you have that support it’s not just a support system but then taking a step further and joining a club, and belonging to something, where everyone has the same kind of goals there it drives you to want to do better. It makes you accountable because now you have to meet your buddies to go biking.

Chuck Gaidica: Who makes you accountable in your life? Like who would actually tell you? Your husband would?

Grace Derocha: Oh, yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: So, he would tell you you’ve gone off the reservation on your diet.

Grace Derocha: Yeah, or like saving money. Oh, Amazon Prime, you got me this holiday. Tom will be like, “What are you doing?” Or my mom will be like, “Is that a new purse? I thought you guys were saving money because you want to go to Disney,” or whatever it might be.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, yeah.

Grace Derocha: I mean, everyone in my … My sister, even though she lives in Denver, she would be like, “I saw your picture on Instagram. Was that a new skirt?” Busted.

Chuck Gaidica: But why aren’t you allowed to do that, especially in this idea as what we framed here, this idea of positive psychology? You feel better, you look better.

Grace Derocha: You can, but if my goal was to save money because we are going, …

Chuck Gaidica: Oh yeah.

Grace Derocha: … on a trip to Disney, I probably need someone to be like, pump the brakes on that.

Chuck Gaidica: So the idea of encourage us about setbacks. We know they’re coming. It’s like change. It’s always going to happen. There will always be a setback. It storms, I couldn’t jog today. I went to a weekend birthday party for my 80-year-old friend, she and I even ate cake together. It was okay, right? But setbacks are going to happen.

Grace Derocha: Yeah, and so a couple of things. One, since you know they’re going to happen try to plan for them. So, when you’re setting that smart goal maybe it’s you’re going to walk with your friend at the track even when it’s cold outside on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday right after work. But then that Wednesday you get a call from school and you had to grab the kids. So, have things in place so maybe then later that day you have a dance party with the kids instead. Have backup plans to help you with your plan so that you still get that activity in. If you know you’re going to a party make sure that you do have a healthy lunch, and a healthy breakfast because you know dinner is going to be a little bit more.

Chuck Gaidica: Well I think that’s all good stuff. If we wrap this up, New Year’s resolutions in general, what do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Should we not really make them, or do you think they’re helpful to some extent.

Grace Derocha: So, I would say if I’m being my not judgy, snarky self, that if they work for you, and if you can own it in a positive way that allows you to make improvements on yourself and allow you to grow, or maybe your New Year’s resolution is not to have a New Year’s resolution.

Chuck Gaidica: That’s crazy talk. That’s chapter 4. That’s the anti-New Year’s resolution chapter.

Grace Derocha: So, I think knowing that you can set them if you want to, you don’t have to, but if you are be smart about it. Use your SMARTE acronym, specific, supportive, measurable, approachable, adjustable …

Chuck Gaidica: Attainable, something you can actually do.

Grace Derocha: … attainable, realistic, timely, and enjoyable and exciting.

Chuck Gaidica: Bringing joy. We should do a whole segment on joy, one podcast, because bringing joy into your life, there are a lot of people who also try to avoid that. They don’t want to be happy. I don’t get it, but allowing joy to permeate your soul right through your skin.

Grace Derocha: My sister’s name is Joy.

Chuck Gaidica: Well there you go. It’s part of your family.

Grace Derocha: Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: Well good to see you. I feel better for the New Year already.

Grace Derocha: Happy New Year.

Chuck Gaidica: Happy New Year to you.

Grace Derocha: It’s a new decade, 2020 is going to be great.

Chuck Gaidica: So, don’t forget, as Grace says, “You do not have to set a New Year’s resolution,” but use that SMARTE acronym and maybe that’ll help get you through the start of the New Year anyway.

Chuck Gaidica: We’re glad you’re with us listening to a Healthier Michigan podcast. It’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show check us out online, ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can leave reviews, or ratings, on Apple Podcast and Stitcher. You can always get new episodes, previous episodes, on your Smartphone or tablet, and be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. I guess we can just say it again, it’s still early enough in the year. Happy New Year. Have a blessed 2020. I’m Chuck Gaidica.