Last year, I took a week off from my Bay Area-based job to enjoy a week at Mountain Trek. I won’t deny the first few days were difficult—sugar is my vice—but mid-way through the program I noticed a fundamental change within—a change so monumental I decided to leave my job and start creating written content for the retreat. To kick off my role as Mountain Trek’s Content Creator, here is my first interview with Kirkland Shave, Program Director.
From cutting out ketchup to reading a book monthly, I’ve made my fair share of New Year’s resolutions. And with that, I’ve had my fair share of non-successes. Mid-way through my year of no ketchup, I convinced myself I could have a little dollop every Sunday, then weekends-only, and, soon enough, the sweet, salty, tomatoey sauce made its way into every. single. meal. The year I vowed to read more, read more I did—of Instagram and Facebook.
Concerned for what the onset of 2019 brings–what should I resolve to do differently this year, tangibly, spiritually, you name it, and how can I actually, finally triumph?–I reached out to Kirk to learn the ins and outs of successful goal-making.
Thanks for talking New Year’s resolutions, Kirk. Let’s start with yours.
Here’s the twist: I don’t make them. Over the years, I’ve learned the changes that stick for me come from allowing enough time for daily introspection—for noticing imbalances and truly feeling, in my deeper self, where I need to create harmony.
I wouldn’t know where to even begin with the harmonizing. What do you suggest?
Pick something manageable. For me, I choose an action I can routinely integrate in a very real way, be it with friends and family or at work. If I don’t find a way to meld my goals with my routine, I end up self-sabotaging, giving up, and feeling defeated. Or like a failure. Neither of which are productive.
What are you currently working on?
Not allowing for 12 hours of non-ingestion between my last intake at night and my first meal the following day. Today’s intermittent fasting fad isn’t my motivation; doing a natural, daily fast is.
What sparked your desire to fast for 12 hours during the night?
I’m currently traveling through rice farming villages in South East Asia, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how everything follows the sun. Research shows that digestion while we sleep interrupts autophagy, the body’s opportunity to not utilize energy (from food), instead going into a recycle—repair period. Ideally done for 12ish hours, this time of non-digestion naturally boosts cell health and longevity.
Late-night cookies, pre-bed ice cream, you name it, I’m a post-dinner snacker. How do you combat the urge to eat right before turning in for the night?
I set my alarm to remind me to brush and floss at 7PM. Once my teeth are clean, I think twice about looking for a snack. Am I always successful? No; I’m human. That said, by brushing my teeth right after dinner three times per week, I’m slowly but surely forming a habit. After a few months, I’ll add a day. As they say, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard.”
What 3 things does it take to help fulfill the lifelong pilgrimage of health and vitality in the wake of curve balls?
- Incremental change—make actionable micro-resolutions you can subtly develop into habits
Using Mountain Trek’s 5 pillars of health—destress, detox, sleep, fitness, nutrition—how can I help myself feel revitalized?
I recommend not trying to tackle them all at once; pick one pillar and make one micro-resolution. For example, if you’d like to work on sleep, you could make a micro-resolution to be in bed (and asleep!) by 10PM three times per week, and not wake until 6AM, earliest. If you’d like to work on fitness, you could resolve to take the stairs whenever you have the option of using an elevator or escalator at least twice per week. Start small and the results will be bigger.
Thanks, Kirk, for the insight. I was going to go cold turkey on sugar again this year, after only making it a couple of weeks last year, but now I’ll rethink my intention. I need to find a way to make eating less sugar something I can bake into my routine more successfully. Going cold turkey on it doesn’t work in the long run.
To set yourself up for some serious mental, physical and emotional success in 2019, read more about why your resolutions are doomed, and how 2019 is all about the micro-resolution. For brownie points, log your micro-resolution for this year in our Micro-Resolution Tracker. Hold yourself accountable, and get after it.