Liv addresses the problem with New Year’s Resolutions, how we source our self-worth, and the reason this is even more important for Millennials than ever.

New Year’s resolutions are a prevalent component of our lives. There’s a sense of hope and promise that the new year will bring with it fresh opportunity and a new lease on life. There’s an energy that says, “Things can be different this time!”

Yet, most of us don’t keep our resolutions. We fall into old habits and feel like victims of another year gone bad. We look in the mirror and feel the guilt and shame of failure. Even if you’re one of the few who sticks to their resolution, the sense of accomplishment can be fleeting and lackluster.

Listen to this episode to hear Liv’s case for ditching resolutions and adopting intentions. We’ll also get into how to build sustainable self-worth and why moving from external validation to internal permission is crucial for Millennials and future generations.

Read Full Transcript

00:23 Hello and welcome to Self-Aware Millennial, the podcast for people seeking a joyously authentic life. My name is Libby Patton and I'm the host of the show. Thank you so much for tuning in to the very first episode of 2019. I want to talk about the concept of resolutions, whether you think resolutions are good or not. I want to talk about them because they're really pervasive in our society and if you are setting resolutions, I just want to add some context to that based on my own experience and my observations of the world and some things that I know and have read and I want to route that conversation about resolutions in the context of self worth and where you are sourcing your self worth and even more Meta than that. I want that to be rooted in the construct that millennials are experiencing adult hood and because it's completely different than the construct of our parents, our grandparents or anybody else.

01:28 And when I say millennial, I know I talked about this a little bit and did a more prescribed definition back in season one. Maybe the first episode I don't remember about what constitutes a millennial and I don't want to frame this discussion as this applies only to millennials because what I'm going to say I think is one of those timeless pieces of things that I'm not the first person to have said it and it applies to many, many, many different generations and I want to stay rooted in this construct of what millennials are facing because it is so unique from previous generations and if you're unsure if you're a millennial or if this applies to your life, I care less about the year you were born in and if that makes you technically a millennial, because the way that we do generations is not scientific. There's no mathematical equation, there's no algorithm, there's no parameters under which we've created this construct of millennial.

02:25 It just kind of vaguely describes this group of people who grew up in this technology boom where all of a sudden Wifi is a thing. Cell phones are a thing. Everybody has them. We all have access to social media. We all have access to streaming services. It's really talking about this group of people whose lives were changed in the construct of how they grew up was completely different because of this technology that shifted, how we interact with each other, how we do our jobs. I mean, we're at a point right now where literally Internet is no longer a privilege. It's not this special thing that only a few rich people have. We all actually need it in our country to survive. We've set it up so that if you do not have access to the Internet, it's going to be really tough for you to find any kind of prosperity, much less get through your day to day.

03:19 So that's kind of the umbrella. When I say millennial that I'm referring to is just if you grew up and were significantly affected by this boom of technology, just call yourself a millennial. It doesn't really matter if you identify with it. You're a millennial. So on that note, this also applies to everybody else who's currently living in this construct of technology. And I'm setting all of this up because I have a lot of passionate about this topic and I'm. I'm feeling a very specific kind of way about all of this right now and so sometimes when I feel impassioned about something, I can go a little bit off tangent and I just want you to know that it's all coherent. It we'll all circle back and if it feels like I'm going down a rabbit hole, just know that that rabbit hole is designed to create more nuance and context to this conversation of self worth, your resolutions and where you're sourcing that self worth.

04:16 I would like to start the discussion by reading some excerpts. I pulled out of a Buzzfeed article that was shared with me and a group of people at large. Uh, someone that I work with shared an article about millennials and burnout. And I thought it was so on the nose. I, in a good way. I don't mean that in the two on the nose. I mean it was perfect and I resonated with a lot of it. It's a really long article and it's totally worth the time to read if you're a millennial, if you're the parent of a millennial, if you work with millennials and you do not understand them, I think this article is really great. It's written by a to use. I'm Eliza slash singers, term an elder millennial. So she's born in the eighties. This woman who wrote the article, which means part of her childhood was similar to the way her parents were raised.

05:11 And then another part of it was significantly different. So she's, uh, about a decade older than me. All that to say everything she wrote resonated with me a lot. So I'm just gonna kind of read through the excerpts that were, I think really spot on and this is going to be the foundation of the conversation that I want to be having. And she's talking about how millennials get tagged with not being able to do very simple tasks, uh, registering to vote, sending mail in the mail, like literally a letter addressing letters, boiling water, doing laundry, all of these kind of basic things that seem really simple that millennials have kind of quote unquote looked stupid or inadequate at. And why is it that there are tons of millennials out there doing amazing, wonderful, successful things, starting businesses, building their own income outside of corporations, creating all these apps and then selling them.

06:11 I'm doing all of this great nonprofit work. All of these cool initiatives. I know a lot of millennials that just volunteer their time, even though they're barely scraping by. There's millennials out there doing all these really great big, huge things. And then when it comes to the small day to day things, there's a lot of anxiety built into that. I taught, I've talked about anxiety a lot on the show and it's because it's just plaguing. It's plaguing young, younger generations. And, and at this point, US millennials, we're, we're no longer babies, we're no longer children. The youngest of offices is around 22 and that means we're kind of, we're the adults now. I mean there's obviously people older than us and we can't be considered, you know, teens or kids anymore, so this isn't an affliction of our age. It's kind just something our generation is dealing with.

07:04 And so she kind of breaks all this down. Uh, and I'm gonna go ahead and just start reading this first paragraph that really caught my eye. She says, I never thought the system was equitable. I knew it was winnable for only a small few. I just believed I could continue to optimize myself to become one of them. And it's taken me years to understand the true ramifications of that mindset. I'd worked hard in college, but as an old millennial, the expectations for Labor, we're tempered. We liked to say we worked hard, played hard, and there were clear boundaries around each of those activities. Grad school then is where I learned to work like a millennial, which is to say all the time, my new watch word was, everything that's good is bad. Everything that's bad is good. Things that should have felt good, leisure, not working, felt bad because I felt guilty for not working.

07:55 Things that should have felt bad working all the time felt good because I was doing what I thought I should and needed to be doing in order to succeed. I just about wept when I read that paragraph because it sums up the entirety of how I felt about myself and what I need to be doing, what I should be doing. All this should energy. It summed it up so cleanly. I mean literally everything that's good is bad. Everything that's bad is good. I can't tell you how tough it is for me to be doing nothing and feel okay about that. It's a constant, constant, constant battle and that's because my self worth has been derived from achievements. It's been derived from doing, doing, doing, doing, doing all the time. So that's one important thing I want you to keep in the back of your mind as we start talking about self worth and resolutions because oftentimes resolutions turn into things we need to achieve.

09:01 So just keep that in the back of your mind. Next, I kind of want to read what she was talking about with student loan debt and things like that because one topic that I'm really wrestling with myself personally and that I want to start talking about publicly is my relationship with money and how I walked into adulthood right off the bat with a crushing amount of debt and that that was considered normal and required and it really felt like there was no other way to do it, which I think is a problem, but I. I know a lot of you out there are also struggling with this, so here's what she had to say about that. When we talk about millennial student debt, we're not just talking about the payments that keep millennials from participating in American institutions like home home ownership or purchasing diamonds.

09:51 It's also about the psychological toll of realizing that something you've been told and came to believe yourself would be worth it. Worth the loan's worth the labor worth all that self optimization isn't. One thing that makes that realization sting even more is watching others live their seemingly cool, passionate, worthwhile lives online. We all know what we see on facebook or instagram isn't real, but that doesn't mean we don't judge ourselves against it. I find that millennials are far less jealous of objects or belongings on social media than the holistic experiences represented there. The sort of thing that prompts people to comment, I want your life that enviable mix of leisure and travel, the accumulation of pets and children, the landscapes inhabited and the food consumed seems not just desirable, but balanced, satisfied and unafflicted by burnout and no work itself is rarely pictured. It's always there.

10:45 Periodically. It's photographed as a space that's fun or Zany and always rewarding or gratifying, but most of the time the thing you're getting away from you worked hard enough to enjoy life. The social media feed and instagram in particular is that's evidence of the fruits of hard, rewarding labor and the Labor itself, the photos and videos that induce the most jealousy are those that suggest a perfect equilibrium. Work hard, play hard has been reached, but of course for most of us it hasn't. Posting on social media after all is a means of narrativizing our own lives. What we're telling ourselves our lives are like, and when we don't feel the satisfaction that we've been told we should receive from a good job that's fulfilling, balanced with the personal life, that's equally so the best way to convince yourself, you're feeling it is to illustrate it for others.

11:35 It's not a temporary affliction. It's the millennial condition, it's our base temperature, it's our background music. It's the way things are. It's our lives. Yet the more work we do, the more efficient we've proven ourselves to be. The worse our job's become. Lower pay, worst benefits, less job security. Our efficiency hasn't blocked. Wage stagnation. Our steadfastness hasn't made us more valuable. If anything, our commitment to work, no matter how exploitative has simply encouraged and facilitated our exploitation. We put up with companies treating us poorly because we don't see any other option. We don't quit. We internalize that we're not striving hard enough and we get a second gig. People Patching together a retail job with unpredictable scheduling while driving Uber and arranging childcare. Half burnout startup workers with fancy catered lunches, free laundry service, and 70 minute commutes have burnout. Academics teaching for adjunct classes and surviving on food stamps will trying to publish research in one last attempt at snagging a tenure track job, half burnout, freelance graphic artists operating at their own schedule without healthcare or paid time off has burnout.

12:46 The modern millennial, for the most part, use adulthood as a series of actions as opposed to a state of be an article and elite daily explains adulting, therefore becomes a verb to adult is to complete your to do list, but everything goes on the list and the list never ends. I mean, I literally have chills up and down my arms and my neck and my scalp because the list never ends. I just feel this spiraling sensation which I associate with the beginnings of anxiety. It literally never ends. It's never enough. It's never good enough. You're never gonna get there. You're never going to reach the end and it's because we're playing in a system that doesn't work anymore. It. It drives me insane when I look at the problems we have and the solutions we've come up with because almost none of the solutions look at reinventing the system.

13:37 They all look at plugging the holes up or pulling people out of the system, which doesn't work because we're all here and we all deserve to be a part of it. The problem isn't that millennials are lazy or entitled or we don't work hard. It's literally the opposite thing were completely burned out since the time we were kids. Everything has been about optimizing our time, optimizing our output, achieving, achieving, achieving. I have so many distinct memories as a kid of just thinking, if I stop moving, I'm doing something wrong. I can't tell you how I did all the things I did all through high school and all through college. When I look back at how busy I was, how many things I had going on, I have absolutely no idea how I kept that up because if I try to do that now, you know, 10 years later, if I tried to do all of those activities now, there's no way I could.

14:34 I don't have the energy. I don't know how you cram that many things into the day and sleep and I have to imagine I really wasn't sleeping. If they had sleep monitors like they do today on all our smart watches and shit. I bet you I was getting two and a half hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, but I couldn't have fathomed at that time if you would look me in the face and told me it was okay to take a break. If you'd look at the face and said, you are worth something and valuable if you don't do this thing. If you don't have the accolades, if you don't build up your resume, if you don't do everything possible to make yourself look employable, you're still worth something. I probably would have laughed at you and told you. He called you a dumb ass adult.

15:14 I would have said, you're fucking stupid. You're just talking shit. You don't know what my life is like. And you know, it's funny. I think in my generation for maybe one of the first times ever, we actually could look our parents in the face and say, you have no idea what you're talking about. You have no idea what it's like to be me and I'm not discounting the experiences of Gen xers and baby boomers as kids. They had their own set of obstacles and problems and the world that millennials grew up in is just so different. It's so different. Our self worth is sourced from external validation far more than any other generation. Prior to this, we have structured playtime. We have structured extracurriculars. Even recess became structured. One of the things that she actually mentioned in this article that I just thought was really profound was that risk assessment was at one point in time, something you only did in a corporate environment.

16:18 It was only something you considered as a systematic approach to business and our parents brought it home. They wanted risk assessment on the playground in the classroom, in your extracurriculars and your sports, and it's not just something that got applied to physical risk assessment. It was also financial and I mean I can't. That whole lie that you hear that's like a trope about your permanent record and always being concerned about things going on your permanent record. I can't tell you how fucking mad I was when I got to college and I realized nothing I had done up through eighth grade mattered even a little bit. I could have done anything to be a kid from from zero grade to eighth grade and none of it mattered. I can't tell you how angry I was when I realized what she says here, the psychological toll of realizing something you've been told and came to believe yourself would be worth it and it isn't.

17:19 I was so angry as a young adult, I'm actually really proud of myself for getting through it the way that I did because I certainly could have been far more destructive. All that to say I'm now looking out with some reflection. I have some years under my belt. You know, I'm still, I'm still young, still in my twenties and I've, I've lived enough to have enough perspective to look at people, you know, two, three, four, five, six, seven years behind me and just see the torrential windfall of just shit coming their way and I don't mean shit like bad things or bad opportunity or, or anything like that. If anything, we probably have more opportunity now than we did before. And also we have more emotional, personal obstacles to overcome because our self worth is rooted in tasks. It's rooted in doing things a certain way to achieve a very specific instagram profile.

18:19 I mean if you, if you go off of, you know, live your best life hashtags, it's full of people working on the beach and self care and drinking their fit tea and doing 700 squats a day and having like the perfect round ass and flawless skin because they're drinking all the water they need during the day and did A. I mean if you look at it, it looks like our generation is living on vacation all the time and the reality is where the most depressed. We're killing ourselves more. Well, you know what? Actually the generation behind us is killing themselves more than we're killing ourselves, but all the young people are fucking often themselves. It's, it's a. it's a frequent cluster and when I sit down and I really reflect on it and I feel it, it's this external validation shit. It's we were taught to perform like monkeys and a fucking circus and it's driving us crazy because we're not.

19:11 Monkeys were individual people and we have our own hopes and dreams. We have our own sense of wellbeing. We have our own path to success. Anyone who's done any self reflection or self awareness work and or has coached that can tell you there is no one right way to get to the finish line. There's no one right way to live your life. There's the way that's best for you. And so all of these formulaic things that get thrown in our face, I mean we grew up believing if you work really hard, if you get good grades, if you go to a good school, if you get your degree, the world will open like a fucking rose in the morning after a really dark night and the sun will be out for days and they'll be rainbows and butterflies and pots of gold fucking everywhere. Yours for the taking.

20:11 Well, here we are on the other side of that many years after the other side of that and we're still in debt. We still hate ourselves. We're still anxious and we're lying about it online. It's disgusting and I want to change it. I want to be a part of changing that. I want to be a part of everybody being willing to get real and look in the mirror and go, hey, this is screwed up. We tried it this way. It doesn't work. Let's do something different. Let's be different. Let's stop making ourselves wrong for the formula not working. It's okay if it didn't work for you, it didn't work for me. I can't tell you how big of a failure I felt that I never got a job in my field and now when I look back and I think about what my life would have been like if I had, I'm so grateful, I would have been absolutely miserable in any kind of institutionalized anything.

21:01 I would have been so crushed and broken. If my life was sitting in a cube, analyzing data or whatever I was going to be doing with an environmental degree, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I can't now being where I am now. The idea of having a boss is kind of laughable to me. I literally mentioned this to my partner. I was like, you know, it might be easier if I just get a job, blah, blah, blah, and he just looked at me and he said, yeah, it might be easier for awhile and then in six months, eight months, a year will be sitting right here having the same exact conversation about how you're not happy doing what you're doing, about how you're miserable about how you want to do something else. And he's right. I, I would be, it would be absolutely crazy for me to say, well, other people can do it, so I should do it.

21:52 I would be an awful employee. I would disengage within six months when it was very clear I wasn't having the impact I wanted to have, you know, blah, blah blah. Now for other people, they go there and they thrive in that environment. That structure is good for them and that's great. That's valid. That is okay. Whatever your path is, if it's serving you, then it's serving others and that's what we need to be focused on. How can you serve yourself? My best friend used this saying a lot a few months ago when we were on a retreat. You can't pour from an empty cup. You're really freaking can't. So let's talk about what you fill your cup with because the water is your self worth and if you're waiting for somebody else to fill your cup up, you're going to be fucking thirsty for days. Just thirsty all the time.

22:39 Thirsty. And I specifically want to talk about the external validation because to me that to me, that's the cause of a lot of the self loathing and self sabotage, the not enoughness that feels like it's really prevalent. It's trying to fill your cup from every body else's cup. You got to go to the source and turn your own. Tap on. To do that, you have to build self awareness, which is what this whole podcast is about, and you. You got to start moving the externalities that you need to get validated into your internal permission. So this move is really from external validation to internal permission and internal permission really is just at its bare bones freedom. It's freedom to do what you want to do, the way you want to do it, and be who you are. Now that's a process. It's not like you can abandon all of your real world where responsibilities and just do whatever you want without consequence.

23:47 There's always consequences to everything, be they good or bad, and if you know where you want to go, if you know you want to go from this trap and prison of waiting for everybody else to tell you, you're good, you're done. It's enough. If you want to go back from that never ending loop to freedom to true, true freedom, then you know which way you need to go. You know the direction you're headed and you can slowly start, you know, undoing the shackles and start walking that way and even if you never quite hit full freedom or whatever you imagine that to be, every step you take toward that is going to feel better and freer than the last step. Maybe you only take five steps in five years. It is better than you having sat in the prison and added more and more weight to yourself.

24:38 So much better. All that to say, I have higher hopes than five steps in five years. I, I hold the possibility that you can get all the way to the freedom should you choose to. And also if you don't, it's okay. And again, freedom to me is very different for every single person. Freedom isn't going to be a one size fits all. It's going to be what feels free and important to you. So now that we know my contention for self worth is that it should be internally sourced and not come from external validation. Let's talk about your resolutions because if you made them, I'm wondering if it looks like a task list. If it's like, I would like to lose 50 pounds, that's a task list. Goals and goals and tasks are great. I'm not admonishing those. I, I feed off of those. I love them.

25:27 I am a huge list maker myself and it's good to be aware that your whole life shouldn't be listable. If you can put everything on a God damn list, you probably not living a very robust, well rounded life. How can you capitalize on the new year sense of renewal, of being able to start again without necessarily boxing yourself into this kind of task lists sort of mentality and how can you recognize that you don't need to wait for new years to tap into that. How do you recognize that you can do this at any time during the year and if for whatever reason you're quote unquote New Year's resolutions, don't work out that you don't need to be afraid of experimenting, that it's totally okay and honestly encouraged for you to just reset and take that as a learning opportunity and set a new intention. I want to share what I do.

26:21 I gave up the resolution thing four years ago because I became hyper aware of my, I want to call it list and sanity. I want to say four years ago is about when I became very, very hyper aware that I rooted all of my self worth and whether the day was productive, good or bad, on the number of tasks I got through with very little regard for the quality of the task, where the task was leading me, was it leading me somewhere that I really want it to be. I was really just mindlessly ticking things off because that's what I had been trained to do. You know Dan's puppet dance like that's what I got taught to do. I was primed to do it all through school. That was actually another thing in that buzzfeed article that I read to you earlier that she mentions is school nowadays, all the institutions that you go through as a kid up until adulthood are basically just priming you to work.

27:21 They don't prime you for anything else. There's nothing else about life in them. It's just about work. And so how are you supposed to see life as anything other than constantly working. There's no other socialization or orientation. We just all think life is working and you have a family and a house and uh, all these things and that's what supposed to satisfy you. Well, I don't think that's enough for most people. And if it is enough for you, that's really great and awesome that this formula does work in your favor for those of us that it doesn't work for. We haven't been necessarily shown how to creatively check out other avenues. What those other opportunities are, how to take advantage of them, how to find other people who are in our lane. And so when you think about this in the sense of resolution, your resolutions are going to follow that same construct.

28:19 You're going to keep doing what you were trained to do. And so four years ago I just, I remember sitting down and feeling really heavy about the concept of evolution or evolution that is a heavy topic, but the concept of resolutions just felt bloated and ugly and like it didn't fit anymore. It's like a sweater that shrunk down to a toddler size and I'm trying to fit it over my adult size head and it's just not working. And so I sat with that for a little bit and I remembered this was kind of the first year that I had been introduced to the idea of intentions. Like what's your why? And rooting everything in that. And so that's where I came up with the whole know thy self mission, which if you've seen photos of me or you know me, I have it tattooed on my chest.

29:10 And that's the year that I did it. I looked at myself, you know, not literally but myself retrospectively introspectively. And I realized I didn't know me very well. I knew the things I'd done. I could have written down my behaviors, but I didn't know what I wanted, why I was here, who I wanted to be, how I wanted to feel, what I felt. Even in that moment, I just knew I never felt enough. My life never felt enough and was in what felt like a hamster wheel of just never ending. Seeking something. I didn't even know what I was seeking. And so when I, when I considered setting an intention for my year instead of a resolution, which I'll explain the difference in a second, everything just kind of felt like it settled inside of me. I didn't have that hyperventilating anxiety kind of feeling. It was more of like a, Oh, I think I can do that.

30:11 That feels, that feels good to me. I can commit to knowing myself this year and whatever things I do to achieve that are negotiable. They're flexible, they're not stagnant, and they get to be determined by me and only me. No one else can say if I achieved know thyself but me. And that was really empowering because it was that flip, it was that flipped from external validation to internal permission. I switched, I switched my trajectory from sitting in this prison of doing all the things I thought I should do because of what I thought my life was supposed to look like, to freedom, the freedom of doing what I wanted to do because that's what felt right to me. And I have never looked back. I've never sat another resolution and I refuse to. I never. Well, I always just sent an intention, which really for me ends up being just like a theme of how I want to approach the year.

31:09 It has more to do with my perspective and energy than it does a task list and as long as I am aligning myself to that and what I want, I feel great about that. And if that means three months into the year, I pivot that intention and I say, okay, this specifically isn't working for me, so I'm gonna kind of shift it this way, then that's great. I'm still living within my authenticity. I'm still doing the thing that I set out to do, so for me, the difference between an intention and a resolution has everything to do with one who's deciding what's important and to whether it's a task or a perspective and energy resolutions tend to be really prescriptive. They tend to be overly specific and they tend to have a pass fail. Either you did it or you didn't do it. There's really no gray area.

32:07 There's no room for human error there. Really just rigid and inflexible when you set an intention for your year or a moment or a project. There's a lot of flexibility in that. There's a self sourcing of inertia and importance and priority, so for example, this year my intention is to be seen. I've done a really good job of being behind the scenes and doing grunt work my whole life. I know I have the chops to do the work. I just need to actually stand up in front of people and say, Hey, here's what I've been doing and if you're interested, climb on board. I haven't done that part. I haven't been good at that part because I haven't felt good enough to do that part, and so this year my intention is to be seen now. If I had gone at that from a resolution perspective, I might've said, oh, my resolution for this year is to get 4,000 new subscribers to my podcast.

33:11 That's extremely prescriptive and very helpful in the sense that I have a goal to aim for. I have a measure of impact and success, but here's the thing, if I don't hit that, if I don't make that happen, which by the way is not in my control. I'm asking 4,000 people to opt into my stuff. That's theirs to control. They decide, all I can do is put my message out and hope people resonate with it enough to put their email and click submit. If I don't reach that, my whole years of failure, I'm a failure. I didn't do it. Now with my intention to be seen. One of the ways I wanted to be seen might be I want to increase my subscriber list. Okay, what's my first kind of goal? What's my first step? To get there. All right, I want to recruit a thousand people.

34:00 Okay. Once I do that, okay, maybe I want. Maybe I want to go big this time. I want 4,000 more people who I did that. There's so much more experiment and flexibility in that and even if I only get, even if I only get a fraction of what I'm looking for, if my intention was to be seen and I was seen by more people, I did it, I fucking did it and I don't have to feel like a failure and I'm internally sourcing that sense of accomplishment. It didn't come to me from someone else. I didn't read a how to on how many subscribers should I have? I just decided I wanted to be seen in. One of the ways I might do that is by upping my subscriber list. Another way I might do that is by doing speaking engagements at three events. Another way I might do that is by publishing a book.

34:44 I might start vlogging, I might blah, blah, blah. I have so many options and so many things to play with and so much room to experiment that it actually becomes fun. It becomes a unique challenge to me and it gives me an opportunity to see what's going to fit for me. I am not a natural salesperson. I am not a natural marketer and so for me to give myself these super prescriptive resolutions is to kind of set myself up for failure because I don't actually even know what I'm capable of. For me, it felt better to set an intention and then individual challenges for myself where I can kind of measure where I'm at, measure my progress, knocking down on myself for it, but go, oh, okay. I am now aware that when I go to networking events and I get 20 different contacts, I hear back from three.

35:36 That's good to know. Maybe I can. Maybe I can ask them for feedback on why they did or did not respond to my request. Blah, blah blah. There's just so much more space to fucking figure it out instead of having to get it right all at one time and it also helps me stay connected to my why. Like I'm sure many of you have said, you know, resolutions or goals to lose x number of pounds, right? I can't tell you how many times I've lost weight and as many times as I've lost it, I've put it back on and I, I believe for me it's because it's not really deeply connected to a why that actually matters to me. It's connected to a why that comes from what I think people, other people think I should be doing, and of course it's not occurring to me in that way.

36:24 I'm rationalizing it as something I really want and it is true. I want to be healthy. I want to be fit. I want to feel good in my clothes. I want to look in the mirror and feel hot when I'm having sex. I want to feel good about myself. All of those things are true and if I set a goal of I want to lose 20 pounds and then I lose the 20 pounds, what the fuck is next? What was my why? Why was I losing 20 pounds? Was it for all those things I just said or was it because I hate scrolling through instagram and feeling like I'm a fat ass? Was it because my three best friends have, you know, a four pack of abs and I feel like I need that to just hang out with them and be cool. What's my why?

37:04 Well, when you think about intentions, and I'm going to pause right here just to backtrack a little bit. I've been talking about intentions and I probably should have addressed the difference between that and motivation because I think motivation is more attached to resolutions then in then why is attached to intentions. That wasn't a very clean explanation. So I'm just going to backtrack and start from the beginning. Okay. So motivation is the thing that catalyzes your action. It is less about continual energy to move you forward and more about an inciting incident experience or feeling. And actually if you go look up the definition of motivation versus intention in law, I think the way that they've described it is actually really, really great. And I don't want to talk about the legal ease of it here. One, because I am not a lawyer by any means into.

37:59 Because often motivation and intention are talked about in murder. And I don't want to talk about murder right now. So if you think about motivation as an inciting incident. So let's say I did, I went to go put on my favorite pair of jeans and I couldn't button them. That might be the moment I feel motivated to do something about my weight. That might be where I decide, oh, I need to lose 20 pounds. I was motivated to lose 20 pounds because my pants don't fit well. What happens with my pants do fit great. I did it. Now what? I go back to doing what I was doing before and then four months down the line, my pants don't fit again. And then I go, Oh shit, I better lose 20 pounds and then he'll lose 20 pounds. And then I pack it back on and the cycle continues, continues, continues, and this can be true for anything.

38:49 Another thing that I have continually set resolutions for is my money and my spending habits and getting my budget together and getting out of debt. And that has been a cyclical never ending task lists of failures as well. It's not connected to a y. it's not connected to a sustainable source of energy. It's all based on outside arbitrary stuff. The difference with an intention is, as I've been saying, the energy behind it so I can be motivated to lose weight because my pants don't fit, but what's going to have the staying power is my intention to never feel that way. I felt again, okay, so I might feel shame or guilt or disappointment or frustration. And in that moment if I say my intention is to not feel this way about myself, my intention is to feel like I care about myself, that I take care of myself.

39:49 It's easier to connect your intention to a y, a deeper why beyond the I want to lose 20 pounds from my pants fit again. If my why is I want to lose 20 pounds because I want to feel good about myself because I want to live a healthier lifestyle because I want to feel in control of my body and because I want to feel like I give a damn about myself so that I can give a damn about other people that's going to have more staying power. That's going to keep you in a better, more sustainable frame of mind than your one off. I want to lose 20 pounds, so my pants button and then now that they button, I have nothing to eat this way for so fuck it. I'm feeling like that wasn't the best explanation and so I'm going to. I'm going to continue unpacking this throughout the rest of the year.

40:43 This whole external validation to internal permission, why it's important to be aware of your intentions and your deeper why and how to maybe set better goals or expectations or standards for yourself. And by better I don't mean right, I mean better as in what serves you specifically. What goals and expectations and standards can you set for yourself that feels free and fun and experimental so that way when it gets hard because it will get hard, change is always, always, always hard and it's always hardest. Right before the good part comes, you know they say it's always darkest before the dawn. It's true. It's always darkest right before you stepped through the threshold and you get to the other side, so when it gets really fucking hard and you're like, goddammit, I don't know if I can do it. Can I step through this? Can I do it?

41:40 You'll be anchored in that intention, in that deeper why instead of this arbitrary external thing that really doesn't mean anything to you or that you haven't translated to mean something to you and alternately if you have an intention related to. I'm just going to keep with the metaphor because I think it's a very common one. If you have an intention related to your health and part of your health is your weight, not only will you be able to, you know, maintain the changes for a much longer period of time, if not forever. You may even discover that you actually never cared about it at all, ever. Even with your intention and your deeper why you may go, you know what? I really don't care about these 20 pounds at all and then you can move on. You can do something else with your life and your time and your energy and your resources.

42:30 Whatever your thing is, whatever you're trying to do to make yourself feel a certain way, which just so you know, all human behavior is driven by how you want to feel. We all do and act and make decisions based on how we hope it will make us feel. Whatever you're doing to make yourself feel a certain way can be more intentional, more on purpose, more customized to you and more aligned to what you want your life to be, and if you haven't even sat down and imagined what you want your life to be, maybe that's your intention for this year, is to figure out what you even want. We don't get that time knowing is going to give you that time, your employer, your professors, your family. No one's going to sit you down and a special corner and give you a week to think about what you really want.

43:28 So take that time, take it for yourself. No one's going to give it to you, so go take it. Here's your permission if you needed it, and also stop looking for permission. Give it to your damn. So she said, struggling with that her very self that is absolutely going to be part of the conversation this year, this whole permission thing. We're all waiting for permission. A lot of us were helicopter parented. I wasn't in a lot of ways and then in some ways I totally was and we're all kind of waiting for the adult to tell us that it's okay and that we can move forward and that what we did was well done. We are the adults now. Like I was saying, we're. We're 22, that's the youngest of us. We are the adults and we need to set a better example for the generation behind us then has been set for us when it comes to self awareness, mental and emotional health, we need to do better.

44:24 We cannot keep letting these kids hate themselves so young that they think the best thing to do is shoot a school or killed themselves. We can do better than that. We absolutely can and I know we have a lot of uphill battles to fight, but if you fill your cup, if you figure out how to take that external validation and fuck it, we can do it. We can make it happen. Put your oxygen mask on. All right, because we got a lot of other people to put oxygen masks on. That's my call for the year. That's what I want the intention of this show to be. I want us all to be filling our cup so we can just be pouring endlessly. The world needs that. It really needs that and what we're doing now isn't working, so jump on my bandwagon and let's do something different.

45:09 Okay, and we're going to do stuff and it's not gonna work and that's going to be all right. It'll be fun. We can laugh about it and then we can move on and try something else that will work. That's it. That's all I'm going to talk about today. We're getting on the long end of the episode. Here's the too long didn't read of it. External validation will always fail you in the long run, so please work on internally sourcing your validation. It's not easy. You're going to have to dismantle a lot of things. You're going to have to dig into your past. You're going to have to do some stuff. All that to say you don't have to do it. Twenty four slash seven. There's no prescriptive task list. Do an at your own pace. Do it in the way in which feels best to you.

45:51 Just do it one baby step and maybe you can start by killing your resolution and setting an intention instead, if that feels important to you, if resolutions and intentions feel stupid to you, entirely, great. Send this to your friend who does do them and you see them trapping themselves in a prison of failure. Thank you so much for listening. I'm so excited about this year. I already have almost half a dozen interviews slated. We're going to start talking about some topics that I think are not talked about specifically. I want to start talking about pleasure and allowing yourself that pleasure, and that's going to be in all areas of life. The most obvious one is going to be sex, so we're going to start talking about that a lot because don't even get me started if you thought my rants about New Year's resolutions and external validation was ridiculous. Just wait until you hear my one about our discourse around sex.

46:45 Anyway, that's going to be interesting. We're going to start having conversations about money because there's just a lot to unpack there. There's a lot to unpack there. We're gonna. Start talking about money. We'll probably talk about politics, not specific and I'm not going to get divisive or on a side of things, but I do want to start talking about that discourse because it's important and relevant and a lot of other stuff. I'm excited. We're gonna get. We're gonna get real. I'm not going to do. I don't want to do a bullshit podcasts. I don't want to talk about stuff that doesn't matter. I want to talk about stuff that's really tough to talk about that needs to get talked about that some people are talking about, but most of us aren't talking about. So that's gonna be this year. I hope you are excited and thrilled like me. In the meantime, remember,

47:30 I love you and I like you.

Show Notes

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