S2E37 Resolutions Season 2 Finale

Oops, Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete forgot to say good-bye and all of a sudden, they found themselves in a short hiatus. In this season 2 closer, the co-hosts discuss the need for a break, setting boundaries, all within the context of a new year and the resolutions that people make as the world enters a new year. Learn about intention versus resolution, and both Dr. Rubin and Dr. Pete share some of their committed intentions for the new year. You will not want to miss this episode, especially if you are seeking peace in the new year.




Nikki: So, Pete we made a little oopsie.


Pete: Oopsie 


Nikki: So, hi we obviously haven't released any episodes in a few weeks because Pete and I are humans and we got too busy, and we left everyone hanging. So, hello Pete and hello everyone. We're sorry.


Pete: Well, I'm not sorry. I missed you and I missed everybody.


Nikki: Yes, same.


Pete: No, you would be the person. I'm not apathetic. I just say I’m not sorry.


Nikki: That's fair. Pete's right. That's right. That's my stuff. So, I'm sorry. We're back and we are here to do our season two finale and we're going to be talking about resolutions which, obviously everybody talks about in the New Year. Happy New Year everyone. Though, it's also relevant Pete and I are thinking about our own professional aims and structure as it relates to this podcast. So maybe, we'll start there as kind of a jumping off point. How does that sound to you?


Pete: Yes, because this is something that I think it irks us, you and I.


Nikki: What does?


Pete: Well, the resolution? [Crosstalk1:41] why do we have to wait for a day to do that? Why do the gyms get busy in January only? You know, all this stuff. And so, I think that's part of behaviours that we're going break down a little bit.  Let's just say season two was fun I think, but the oopsie maybe we can explain that a little bit for our listeners. Nikki and I, when December kind of hit we swamped, we were both super busy. Nikki was really good and boundaried with some time off, which was wonderful. I also took some time off, and so as a result that left us with very limited time to record and so we just said, all right, we're just going take a hiatus. And I guess that's the good thing about not getting paid to do this?


Nikki: Totally. No, immediate consequences, but we do enjoy podcasting.


Pete: We do.


Nikki: And, of course, we enjoy sharing information with everybody. Though it was information for us, like we need to restructure things a little bit. And so, we're going to talk about why we don't like the word resolution, more in detail in a moment, but I guess kind of a resolution we have for the podcasts and aim for the near future is going forward with that for season three. We're going to have to go down to bi-weekly releases because of our schedules. Now this isn't forever, potentially because, [crosstalk 03:02] we don't know the future as we said infinite times on this podcast.


Pete: Well, I’m from the Eastern perspective, nothing is forever. That's impermanence, which we've talked a lot about and so we started off with a weekly cadence, then we went to a bi weekly cadence and then…


Nikki: Recording.


Pete: Listeners I let you into a little bit of a secret sometimes Dr. Rubin and I can record a couple episodes at a time, but not many.


Nikki: Or sometimes in a lot of the allotted time we give ourselves, we end up just talking on the phone and chatting about things unrelated to this podcast, and then we say, oh no! we have a patient scheduled, we got to get our podcast reporting going right now.


Pete: Because, Dr. Rubin often schedules in between patients. I don't always because I feel like I don't have any patients anymore. I do, but in any case. So, for our listeners, as we approach season three, we're thinking about this in a healthy way, in a boundaried way. In a using information way, whereby we are going to release new episodes beginning in 2022 every other week. Is it a Wednesday still?


Nikki: Yes, we release on Wednesdays. Who knows, maybe we’ll change that too at some point.


Pete: Well, somewhere we read an article that said every Wednesday at 2am. 


Nikki: We did.


Pete: Just so you know, that's where that comes from, we're not really sure. And for our producers out there one day, maybe you'll help us figure out what day and when we're supposed to release.


Nikki: Yes.  And I like what Pete just shared, which is, we're making decisions based on information, and I think that's a nice segway into talking about this concept of resolutions because, I would say the intention behind resolutions is a helpful one, right? It's like, I have information that something in my life isn't the way that I want it to be.


Pete: Give an example. 


Nikki: Oh, you know, when people say, I want to be healthier, I want to exercise more, I want to set better boundaries at work or whatever the thing is, right. And so, there's nothing wrong about that. And in fact, things like the New Year, birthdays, anniversaries are opportunities to reflect about making a change and maybe use that as a way to make a change. But in my opinion, the problem with this concept of New Year's resolutions is that they're too rigid. It's saying like, it has to change on January 1st. And so, what I say to people is look, these are just markers in time. Who you are on December 30 versus January 3rd is not quantifiably different.


Pete: Because what is time?


Nikki: Correct. 


Pete: Well, that's the Eastern. It's not Zen, well it is.


Nikki: Is it?


Pete: Well, it’s there, certain Cowan’s will talk about the time. I mean, time is a construct that we've created. I mean, that's why we can’t…


Nikki: Well, yes and no.  I was going to say we could also go into what is time from a quantum physics perspective. Time is a thing, but it's not as rigidly defined as we make it.


Pete: It’s not like December 31st 11:59 is significantly different from January 1st 12:01am. 


Nikki: Correct. Exactly.


Pete: Well, I'm not smart enough to, and I should not even say this, and my frontal lobe did not just hijack me, but there was just a new launch of a new spaceship into outer space, I think from NASA.  But the idea is, it’s going to be the furthest one to extend beyond our universe and so that's really where time could get trippy.


Nikki: Well, yes. This is like a whole other episode. But we need a guess [Crosstalk 7:05] because there's atomic clocks.


Pete: There was something I was reading that was saying, as it gets there, it's going to take 28 days just for an image to get back. [crosstalk 07:16]. Thank you.


Nikki: This is out of our scope.


Pete: This is why resolutions don’t make sense. Because on January 1st, it's not like anything has substantively changed from the day before.


Nikki: Yes, that's right. Well, I am sure there are people listening saying well, then am I never supposed to have an aim or objective? What do you say to people that come in with resolutions for therapy? 


Pete: Do it today. Why would you [Crosstalk 7:28] just go for it. 


Nikki: Just do it.


Pete: It’s the Albert Ellis in me, rational, emotive behavioural therapy, where the emotion doesn't change that behaviour. If you want to make a change, commit to it, and okay, that's not easy, I get it. None of my suits fit two weeks ago, well one fit, but it was a little snug you know, these days you could be snug, it's in.  But I mindfully laugh at myself in that where I’m like, okay, this is when someone would say, oh, I need to commit to a diet, or I need to commit to going to the tailor. And I'm like, no, this is going to be a gradual change, where I'm now going to just take back some of this. So mindfully, I say to a client, when they come in saying well, I have this resolution and I say you're living then for tomorrow and from an Eastern perspective, that's not guaranteed. And so, in this moment, if this is something you want to do, you can do this now. Now, you can also wait till January 1st, you can. What I find is the biggest issue is that, as you said it's rigid and it sets us up for failure because there's no context or support around it. 


Nikki: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.


Pete: So, for me as an academic, I read a lot, but I read a lot for work. It's not often that I go oh I have a day off let me grab a book for pleasure. And I've also just grew up in a house that was not very like book oriented, it was very sport oriented as one might imagine. And so for me, I'm not going to all of a sudden say, you know what, this year I'm going to read a book a month for pleasure, because there's nothing to support that.


Nikki: Well, and who knows if that's going to be workable for you five months from now like that. I really want to come back to what you said a moment ago. I really liked this piece about, if you do that you're living for tomorrow, I'm going steal that. Yes, thank you. I'm going to steal that because, yes, it's like losing. I think what you're sort of getting at is that the resolution impedes our ability to contact our agency in this moment. And so, you're saying, you can choose to wait till January 1st, that's okay. You might say, in this moment, I'm not ready, okay, no big deal. You don't have to do it in this moment. Though there's nothing magical about January 1st. 


Pete: Wait, there isn't? 


Nikki: There isn’t, Oh I hate to break it to you.


Pete: Why do I spend like three times the amount on my dinner?


Nikki: Well, capitalism, another episode. But it's also something external. And so, the word that, I've already kind of given it away here, I've said it a couple of times so far. But the word I really like to use and really connect with personally, is setting an intention, which I take from my mindfulness practice in yoga practice. And what I like about intention is that there's direction in it, there's an aim, though there's none of that harsh edge to it. There's no concreteness, often when I like ask patients what is it elicit for you when you say intention versus resolution? Almost always people will say it's softer or there's more space around it. I’m like yeah, because it's just like in mindfulness we don't say I'm committing to staying in the moment, that's not possible. You're not going to do that. 


Pete: It’s impossible


Nikki: No, it's impossible. But you set an intention to come back to the moment.


Pete: I like what you're highlighting there because, sorry to interrupt, it reminds me of relational frame theory which we've touched upon because I think intention verse resolution, you know, and listeners, just practice yourself.  In your mind, say that word to yourself and notice what happens to your biological responses because my guess is resolution is more rigid. Is that from the Latin resolve?


Nikki: Out of my scope. I don’t know, I didn't study Latin.


Pete:  But to resolve feels finite. You know, versus intention it does feel more fluid where my intention is this and that, could also change.


Nikki: Yes, and there's no failure involved in not being focused on the intention, it's just an anchor point. So, again, I use meditation as an analogy for everything, there's no judgement. It's like, you get lost in your thoughts, okay, you're lost in your thoughts. That's what happened, and then you're choosing to come back, that's the intention and so you're not failing if you're not focusing on the breath. And I think the same goes for any behaviour we want to change, it's like that paradox that exists, that if we want something to change, we have to radically accept that we're going to make mistakes. We're going to do things that are unworkable, we're going to get off track and make room for that actually helps create more space to then reroute. And I think that's the thing that we have a hard time understanding as humans, again, resolution is, I say this all the time, it's linear.  We want just a clean, neat answer, and there isn't one. 


Pete: So, I have a big question for you. 


Nikki: Yes, What's the question? 


Pete: What is your New Year's resolution? 


Nikki: I knew that was coming. I don't even know why I asked.


Pete: So predictable. Well, are you assessing any intention?


Nikki: Yes, I was going to say so I don't have any New Year's resolutions, do you?


Pete: I am committing an intention towards well-being.


Nikki: But that’s different. You don't have any resolutions?


Pete: Hello, we would be hypocrites if we actually had one.


Nikki: I know. I want to say in my life I have had them like long ago I let go off that strategy.


Pete: My biggest intention is well-being. So, I'll share, I went on one of my time off in December when we oopsied was I did a little weekend retreat, which was really nice and I missed it. And the foundation of this retreat was Ayurveda medicine, which is a really historic medicine practiced in India. And it reset me to commit to well-being, so I've been doing it since then, which was the beginning of December. One thing I added as a behaviour, which might be too much information, but it's not, they do tongue scraping. Have you ever heard of it?


Nikki: Yes, I have. 


Pete: I have heard of it, but I wasn't sure of it, and I have no idea if it's working. But I will say that in this time where everyone's getting sick, because we're also recording still during a time when everyone's getting sick. I've probably felt the best that I've felt in a while. It's that and then they do a tablespoon of honey with fresh lemon and hot water in the morning, first thing. 


Nikki: Cool, nice. 


Pete: So that's an intention of a new behaviour.


Nikki: Yes, so we’re using ourselves as examples. I'm going to have a bit of a different one. So, I think Pete’s example is one that some people could probably try to fit into a resolution if they wanted, they would go like I'm going to do this every day. So, it's more a behaviour change Pete’s talking about, that overt behavioural change, though he's framing it as an intention so there's more space around it. So, mine isn't so overt it’s more covert that I have an intention, which is what I've been practicing, 2021 continuing to 2022 which is basically the intention.  It was two of them, one is to keep coming back to my intention to accept that the future is unknown, never gets old, and relatedly to set the intention to ensure my own needs are being met.


Pete: I love that. Well, it's interesting you say that because, the future is unknown is certainly very Eastern, because I’ll have athletes sometimes be like, ‘well, I just don't know about the future,’ and it's like, good because nobody does. There's actually not a person who does. I was talking to my teacher about this today or yesterday where I have finally found peace in suffering.


Nikki: Say more about that.


Pete: And so, I'm going to tie this both into our season two finale, our resolution as we then commit to season three for next year. Peace and suffering means that, when you sit and meditate, there's no rules about how to do that. And that's one thing about Zen, certainly there are practices of following the breath, using a koan a mantra, belly breathing, guided, un-guided. There are so many ways that one can meditate.


Nikki: There is methods.


Pete: And the first noble truth is that we all suffer and that we're trying to relieve suffering. And so, finding peace and suffering is a radical acceptance of when I sit sometimes, I'm suffering and sometimes I'm not. And not fighting for that purity or that lack of suffering or for having angst about the future and the unknown. And that's peace and suffering.


Nikki: Thank you for sharing that and I think what is also important to say, because this reminds me a lot of our flexibility and freedom episode, which is one of my favourite episodes that we did. Because I think these concepts are aligned, even when we have moments of feeling, peace and suffering, and I certainly have them as well, and I think I'd like freedom. You'll still go back to not having peace, which I also experienced, and I always kind of marvel at my own brain that, there'll be times where I thought I was at peace with it. I thought I was focused on the present moment. It's like, you're going to spend more time but you’re not.


Pete: You were.


Nikki: And then you thought it again. This is very relevant, we're talking about dates, we could never have a resolution to say I'm going to be peaceful. It's like I'll say to people sometimes, if you're saying to yourself, I'm practicing radical acceptance of pain, so that I don't feel pain you're not practicing radical acceptance anymore.  So, I think that’s this piece that is eternally hard for human beings to be with. 


Pete: And I'm dieting because I want to lose weight. And because one of the things that we do in third wave CBT is that it's not about outcome it's about process. And so, can I radically accept the process? And so, I'm never going to commit to dieting or to healthy eating for that outcome. Rather, I do it for an internal well-being, something that's more values connected.


Nikki: Value connected, it’s called workability. And I think, and it's also important to say, I can imagine people listening saying, does that mean I'm not allowed to have goals, or I'm not allowed to care about outcomes? [Inaudible 19:30] Of course we care about goals, of course we care about outcomes. There's no way to not, and that's how we move things forward as well. It's just recognizing we don't control that.


Pete: Well, you know how I feel about that word.


Nikki: I know, you don't like management, you don't use it at all. But we don’t control the future. But we can have agency, or say, over what we do in this moment. So, I guess to really sum up and wrap up season two here.


Pete: Bye season two.


Nikki: Bye season two. I was looking for something profound to say here, I guess I  don't have anything profound to say. I continue to enjoy doing this podcast with Pete and share information with everyone listening. Pete and I are setting an intention for 2022 and season three to continue to connect with you guys, share accurate evidence based, psychological information. Also welcome you into exploring some of the Eastern concepts of mindfulness and Buddhism as well. So, we'll see you in season three. 


Pete: Bye Nikki.


Nikki: Bye Pete. 


Nikki: This has been When East Meets West. I'm Dr. Nikki Rubin


Pete: And I'm Dr. Pete Economou. Be present. Be brave. 


Pete: This has been When East Meets West. All material is based on opinion and educational training of doctors Pete Economou, and Nikki Rubin.


Nikki: Content is for informational and educational purposes only.