Advertising is screaming at us: New year, new you. New, new, new. Everything will be better when it’s new. The old you was probably great, but it’s harder to sell things to people who honestly believe that.
The most common January undertaking in that quest is dietary—shifting the actual molecules that fuel everything we do. Most of us will fail to meaningfully change, and then feel only more inadequate in that failure. We fail because absurd goals can never be maintained, and because sometimes our own bodies (partly the way we were born, but mostly the way we’ve trained them to demand constant supplies of simple carbohydrates and insulin) make it almost impossible not to fail—to live without feeling deprived and hungry and joyless.
Maybe most importantly, many people fail when they don’t truly believe in what they’re doing. The gratification of sugar is immediate, and the idea of a paralyzing stroke decades hence is remote. It seems there are more important things to worry about right now.
One solution might be to think beyond yourself. I’m reminded of that because this week the good people at Bon Appetit magazine tweeted a story under the headline “Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Going Paleo.” (Tell me I’m making mistakes, and I will click every time.) The “Paleo” approach to eating is, in brief, using evolutionary history to inform consumption. Some mistakes described in the article differed from what I think are the most important to consider—for Paleo or most any diet.