New Year’s Resolutions: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Good Intention

Passing out invites to our annual Thanksgiving Coffee last week, I stopped by Sue and Scott’s house.  Scott has been losing weight recently and we were chatting about his successes when Susan burst into the room waving a couple cards in front of my face.  “We’re doing it!  We’re doing it!” she babbled and bubbled.  (Sidenote:  Susan is a delightfully excitable person!)

It took a couple minutes to figure out what she was talking about:  Turns out those “cards” were the Commit Cards and Simple Prescription for Good Eating Cards that I had given them at a class–three years ago!  But instead of just pitching them, Susan had put them to use:  On her Commit Card she wrote down her deepest eating desire:  “To do everyday good eating, with Scott.”  Then she mounted the Commit Card on the refrigerator, next to the Simple Prescription for Good Eating Card, which defined “everyday good eating” by way of four simple guidelines.

There those cards stayed, posted on Susan’s refrigerator for three years.  The ones she waved in front of my face were yellowed and faded from kitchen steam, splattered with food and tattered, but they did their job:  Sue and Scott have been successfully following the South Beach Diet for three months.

More importantly, they aren’t just slugging and sacrificing their way through a pain-in-the-neck-diet for a few weeks.  They have made the lifestyle transformations and mind shifts that will make healthier eating a routine and continuing part of their lives.

And better yet, Sue is looking ahead to life after South Beach.Because she doesn’t want to return to her old ways, she is asking me the right questions now, about how to get set up for making good meals without the structure of the diet to rely on.  She’s wondering what to stock in her pantry and how to organize it for easy access.  She knows that planning ahead is critical and wants to begin getting into the habit.  She knows that she and Scott will want a little more variety at the dinner table, which means new recipes that still meet the South Beach guidelines.

Celebrating all the good news, Sue and I had to stop and marvel at the amazing way good intentions work.  Sue and Scott have sputtered, started and stopped over the years, and to be honest, I wondered whether they could really pull this together.

What I didn’t know was how Susan had kept those cards pasted to the frig.  How she had kindled her good eating intentions and kept them strong.  How she had just kept putting one foot in front of the other, steadfastedly making small changes that were all but invisible to the outside eye.

And that’s how big changes are made:  For what seems like forever, you stumble along in the twilight with just the small flame of good intention to guide you.  Then, all of a sudden, it begins getting lighter and you realize that the little flame and all the little steps have taken you halfway up the mountain.  From that point you can look back to see just how much progress you’ve made.

That’s when you realize that the hardest part of the journey–the getting started part–is behind you.  You’re far enough along that there’s no danger of slipping back, and even though the way ahead is long, it’s manageable and the benefits of going forward are clear.

Thanks Sue and Scott for the lesson on never doubting the power of good intention and putting one foot in front of the other.  Oh ye of little faith!

Want copies of the Commit Card and Simple Prescription for Good Eating that helped Sue and Scott?  Cut and paste this paragraph into an email to me.  I’ll be happy to pass them along, just in time for New Year’s Resolutions.


One Response

  1. your articles are interesting and so useful for me. Thank you for sharing great information.


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