Two and a half years ago, I wrote a post in the form of an allegory. The allegory helped me explore a small epiphany I'd had about my efforts to make changes regarding my health and diet. The epiphany was that worrying about WHY I am the way I am is wasted time and wasted effort, time and effort better spent in figuring out ways to set things up for better success. My motto to express this, which first appeared in that post, was "Personal change is more about strategy than psychology."
Adopting this attitude was tremendously freeing, and it's also helped me make some good changes. Rather than worrying about why I dislike taking my medications and supplements, I've achieved very good consistency by keeping my various pill sorters where I'm going to see them at the time of day that I need to remember them. My bedtime pills, for example, live on a small cabinet in my bathroom. I'm a middle-aged man: I always end my day in the bathroom.
A thought I had last night, though, wonders if I need to dip back into the psychology part, though perhaps not in the same way.
Relevant diversion #1: Several months ago, it became important to me to make a change in how tidy I keep my apartment. I had rarely worried much about it. My apartment certainly wasn't reality-TV messy, but it certainly wasn't HGTV clean, either. Making these changes required DOZENS of little changes in strategy regarding what stuff I kept, where I keep it, and how and when I maintain it. To some extent, this process is still ongoing, but I am rarely more than an hour away from feeling ready for visitors.
In my mind, this process has been a triumph of the strategy-not-psychology process. But I began the process by experimenting with the intention-setting concept. "I intend to live in a clean apartment" is what I told myself, and I told myself that often. Even after the cleanup was largely complete, I had to repeat my intention often as I got used to the new ways of doing things, including how it -felt- to have a clean apartment.
My realization last night was that while most of my clean-up consisted of strategizing (and elbow grease, of course), my setting of my intention and riding out the weird unfamiliarity of the tidiness had been a deliberate change in how I view who I am.
Relevant diversion #2: I've been a night owl my entire life. In recent weeks, however, my body has wanted to go to sleep quite early. I've experimented a bit with cooperating, but keep running into a reluctance. Going to bed early, I find myself saying, is just not who I am.
Not who I am? Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! Do I need to change how I view who I am? To pick a word I've heard, to I need to 'reframe' how I view myself in regard to my sleep pattern?
Could I, should I, accomplish the same thing in regards to my physical health? Is how I see myself in itself a barrier to overcome in becoming healthier? Could some reframing in this area make eating and exercising as I wish I did less of a struggle?
Back to the psychology, drat it. But not in a navel-gazing way. In an effective way.