Okay, well what about Bob?
What About Bob - it’s a movie that came out in 1991. If you were busy being born anytime around then, just nod and pretend you understand me. (if you read this blog regularly, that’s just good advice just generally speaking). So, this psychiatrist named Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfus) writes a hugely successful book called “Baby Steps”. One of his patients - Bill Murray as Bob - follows the steps in his book so obsessively (and follows Dr. Marvin himself so obsessively)…that it eventually drives the psychiatrist over the edge.
The book in this movie was based on a real-life book with a much more boring name, but the theory behind “baby steps” is that if you break down a goal (resolution?) into tiny little baby steps…you have a better chance of success.
One of the examples in the book is a lady who wanted to cut out sugar in her coffee. She “baby-stepped” it by putting one grain less of sugar each day, until she reached her goal. I tried to explain this concept to my sister, who was also trying to cut out sugar. Of her life, not just her coffee, but, baby steps...
Her: One grain less?
Me: Yes, and then she realized that as long as she took tiny little steps…
Her: A grain is not a step. A grain is almost microscopic. How do you even see one grain?
Me: I don’t know. As I was saying. If she thought in terms of baby steps, she could accomplish anyth--
Her: It would take her all morning to pick out one grain!! Did she have a job? How is that realistic? She would have to set her alarm an hour earlier just to get picking out the one teeny grain…
Me: Pretty sure you’re missing the point here.
So for this post, I’m applying this idea to what my good friend Google told me are the “Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions That Most Commonly Get Broken”. Of course Google knows. Google itself wanted to drop a few pounds (Kardashian trivia) but then Kim decided to post a picture of her new baby and that was it. I feel ya, Google. Been there.
Here is Google’s list, with my own helpful ideas on how to Baby Step successfully towards them. Because I’m a psychiatrist and everyone should listen to me.
Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions That Most Commonly Get Broken:
1. Lose weight and get fit
Baby steps…eat 4 "fun-size" Butterfingers instead of 6. Then actually get up to throw the wrapper out.
2. Quit Smoking
Baby steps…switch out smoked ham for cooked ham in your sandwich. Now you will not get cancer. (a second opinion might be a good idea here)
3. Eat Healthier
Baby steps…purchase some brightly coloured vegetables and line them up so you see them when you open the fridge. They are pretty and will trick you into thinking you are a person with brightly coloured vegetables in your fridge. (look! There they are!)
4. Learn something new
Baby steps…go to Google news and just read as many one-sentence headlines as you can. Bonus: if you memorize one and say it to everyone you meet, they will think you are smart. Be sure to have an exit strategy in case they ask you to elaborate.
5. Save money
Baby steps…purchase a coin roller plastic sleeve thingy for quarters (which I’m sure has a proper name but I defy you to find anyone who knows it…) and fill it up. Then use that to buy your Starbucks coffees. I am almost positive that Starbucks employees love and readily accept this.
6. Spend more time with family
Baby steps…disconnect the wifi for 7 minutes in your house. Everyone will show up within 30 seconds, argue for 5 and then you will have a full 2 minutes for meaningful connection. Two minutes adds up…in one week that is 14 extra minutes of family time. How am I not a Family Therapist?
7. Travel to new places
Baby steps…did you know most houses have attics? New! (and close!) (plus, the bonus of finally meeting that raccoon family you’ve heard so much about)
8. Be less stressed
Baby steps…purchase ear-plugs. Wear them at strategic moments. During that first 5 minutes of no wifi (regular family). At night (raccoon family). When you hand the barista your quarter sleeve (Starbucks family).
Baby steps…imagine yourself in a crowd of kids wearing a neon yellow T-shirt while you hand something out that is making them go wild. Hold this image in your head for 2 to 3 minutes. Fill out a form. Just any form. Form-filling is very satisfying and probably leads to volunteering.
10. Drink Less
Baby steps…drink less today. This morning. Try and hold off till noon. When noon arrives, push for 2pm but don’t overdo it. Drinking at work is frowned upon anyway (but don’t make this the reason. Picture your liver) (don’t picture your liver very long, it’s disconcerting and even healthy livers look kind of gross, frankly)
Resolutions are just a fancy way of saying “goal”. We all need goals. Without vision, the people perish…someone famous once said. I think it was the Bible, it uses the word “perish” a lot. Just remember to keep the goal simple. Picture a baby taking its first steps. Now picture yourself running around like a chicken without a head. Now picture a chicken without a head. Now make it a goal to stop picturing things I tell you to picture, have I taught you nothing? (exactly).
If (and when) all else fails, watch What About Bob on Netflix. Or open your front door to see if he’s standing there waving. He could be. One never knows…