(Disclaimer: this transcript was made using AI technology. Please excuse any errors).
Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery Podcast, where we talk about finding hope in recovery. And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 0:11
Hola Atheists in Recovery, and welcome to Episode 71 of the Atheists in Recovery podcast. And today we are talking all about New Year's resolutions. But before I go into the show today, this show will be aired on Thanksgiving Day. And so happy thanksgiving to all of you. And I hope that it's it's a good one. I hope that it's filled with love and laughter and gratitude. Okay. So today's show, like I said, is all about New Year's resolutions. I thought I'd get a head start on this, because because we're taking a break in December, and so I won't be around. But I know that you guys will be thinking about goals and goal setting as most of us do come January. And so I wanted to bring on Katie Vernoy, who knows a few things about goal setting. And so in today's episode, we talk about New Year's resolutions versus goal setting. How are they different? We talk about procrastination and goal setting. And how is it keeping us from achieving our goals? Katie gives us an acronym called B.O.S.S. She says it's a coaching thing. And I think you're really gonna like it though. She talks a lot about how this formula helps to keep yourself on track helps to put things in perspective, and make sure that your goals aren't too big, so that they end up being unachievable. And I think I think you're gonna learn a lot from this episode. I know I did. I know that. We all want to achieve our goals every year, but sometimes just putting him down. And a goal list just isn't enough. And so So Katie, and I really get into the fine details of what it means to not only set goals but set a life set a future life set a future self, you know, who do you want to be and how are you going to get there? I think that's really important. Okay, under our guest, Katie Vernoy, Katie Vernoy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapists with a master's degree in clinical psychology from California State University, Fullerton and a bachelor's degree in psychology in theater from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Katie has always loved leadership and began stepping into management positions soon after gaining her license in 2005. Katie's experience spans many leadership and management roles in the mental health field, program coordinator, Director of clinical supervisor, hiring manager recruiter, and currently past president of the California Association of marriage and family therapists. Now in business for herself, Katy provides therapy consultation or business strategy to support leaders visionaries and helping professionals and pursuing their mission to help others. Katie is also the co founder and co host for the therapy reimagined conference and the modern therapist Survival Guide podcast. Learn more about Katie at katievernoy.com. Alright guys, onto the show. Katie Vernoy. Welcome to the show.
Katie Vernoy 3:42
Hey, Adina, thanks for having me.
Adina Silvestri 3:45
I am so excited that you're here. Because today we are talking about New Year's resolutions and why they don't work.
Katie Vernoy 3:55
Oh, yes, absolutely.
Adina Silvestri 4:00
Been there. So before we get started, I want to start this conversation by inquiring a little bit more about you about your deepest roots from childhood.
Katie Vernoy 4:12
this sounds deep. I don't know what did I sign up for here, Adina?
Adina Silvestri 4:19
Katie Vernoy 4:22
Probably the thing that sticks out like, this is totally off the top of my head. But the thing that sticks out is I am an oldest daughter, the oldest child, and I always was stepping into leadership. And so what that looked like back in the late 70s and early 80s, when I was growing up was that I was the bossy girl. I was always a bit too much. And I also was getting into trouble because I was speaking back to the teachers and challenging their viewpoint. And so there was that there was also You know, my family stayed as still together still very much connected. And so I also had that foundation of my parents were married to each other, and loved each other. And were, you know, had their own stuff going on. But I did have some semblance of stability that I think really helped me to continue to be someone that speaks out, even when I had teachers mad at me. And I had people telling me that I was just too much. So I continue to do that. You continue to do that.
Adina Silvestri 5:36
That's great. Well, let's talk about what you're continuing to do these days. So you are a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice. And you also work with entrepreneurs, leaders, and helping professionals. And the reason that I wanted you on will also, I just like you, as a human, you know each other with the same goals. But I also wanted you on because I feel like goal setting is something that you talk probably a lot about with your clients and with your coaching. And so tell me a little bit more about goal setting. Why do we set goals each year? Why do we fall short of reaching them? And then there's always that guilt afterwards, year after year, but we continue to do it?
Katie Vernoy 6:22
Well, I think there's goal setting, and then there's new year's resolutions. And to be honest, they're not always the same thing, right? I think some people have shifted to New Year's intention. Some people have even like, what is my word for the new year. And those things can be good, especially if they are truly guiding principles that are resonant, but they oftentimes aren't practical goals. It's like my, my year that my word this year will be abundance, or will be health, or whatever those things are. And if you actually define it, then it's fine. Because it can help with decision making. But it's not something that's necessarily compelling and motivating if you haven't actually set things out. So there's there's that I think, often goal setting is, I give me an image of a ladder, because I think oftentimes folks see like, Okay, my goal is to get to the second storey. And this is in some weird, I don't know why I think of it this way. But it's like, there's some weird thing where you don't have an elevator or stairs. So you've got a ladder. And I think most goal setting is like having the two side rails and the top rung. And if the goal is really big, like the second storey, you are never going to reach that it's so far up, you can you can jump, you can can try to jump higher, you can try to get, you know, maybe those springy thing spring shoes and try to jump up higher, but like you're never going to get to that top rung if you don't have the other rungs. And so I think the biggest piece oftentimes is people don't define goals, and have all of the steps in between, you have to define each rung, and you have to take them, usually one rung at a time, maybe you can skip some, but usually you need to get to the very small, manageable goals and create the whole ladder. And so many people just create the top rung and feel like they're failing, because they actually haven't built the whole ladder to get there. Hmm. And so that's the biggest problem with goal setting. I think that is it, you know, just completely compounded during the years, right? I'm going to lose weight, I'm going to stop drinking, I'm going to learn a new language. You know, there's, there's like big goals, I'm gonna make more money this year, you know, whatever it is, there's these gigantic goals. It's like this New Year new you. Ironically, last year was like, you know, or 2020 was like 2020 vision, I'm gonna see things clear. And maybe we actually didn't see that right. But like, there's Dead Sea. Oh, my God. Yeah. So there's this whole piece of like this gigantic goal. And so it's not even like a ladder to the second story with the top rung. It's like a ladder to the 20th story, with only the top run. And you're not even sure exactly what the 20th story looks like. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna stop with the metaphor because it's got a little bit too far. But we oftentimes don't fully define them. And we don't put them in the intermediary steps to get there. And New Year's resolutions are the worst, because we think we're going to have all this extra motivation, which studies do show if you start something new on a Monday or the beginning of the year or on your birthday or stuff, we are a little bit more motivated to do that. But if the next time slot is the following New Year, we're going to lose steam really fast. We have to keep creating those touch points that are motivating. We're most most motivated at the beginning and at the finish line. And if those are really far apart, we're not going to meet our goals.
Adina Silvestri 9:50
Yeah, I can so relate to everything you just said. I feel like I've been there done that. And I also notice it like at gyms.
Katie Vernoy 9:59
Adina Silvestri 9:59
If there's like
this massive crowd of people, and you know, you have to wait to get on to like an elliptical or
like, it's just insane. And then
after the third week, it's like, oh,
there's no one here. It's like, back to normal.
Katie Vernoy 10:14
Ghost town. Ghost Town. Yeah.
Adina Silvestri 10:18
Yeah. So I like to the metaphor of the ladder. And I'm wondering how procrastination plays into this as well. For instance, I know that when I just take a tiny example, when I'm doing dishes, if, if I let them go for a day or so it's like, oh, well, I'll just put it on. I'll just put it off for the next day and the next day and the next day, rather than just doing him as I'm, as I'm, like, you know, cleaning up and eating and everything. And so where does procrastination come into this?
Katie Vernoy 10:50
I think there's momentum that you're going to get one direction or another. Right. So if you, you know, there's the idea is that instead of setting goals, you set habits. And I think when we do that, when we actually set habits in place, so I brush my teeth every day, if I want to add a habit, especially a habit around my teeth, or hygiene or whatever attaching it to that habit is probably good, because it's just expanding it a little bit. But if I'm like, I'm not going to start until Monday, or I'm going to start it in a few weeks, or I'll just wait till I have a dentist appointment or whatever it is, oftentimes what happens is we get so locked into an incomplete habit or not put the habit in place at all that it's really hard to add things we fill in the spaces on our schedule. So there's so there's that element that instead of procrastinating, like, even if you're not going to do I'm switching now to to exercising, even if you're not going to do a full workout, even just putting a place marker there to build start building the habit of Okay, I'm going to stretch for five minutes, even though I didn't go and do my full workout, that that should potentially help you and not procrastinating and saying I don't have time today, let me put it off and do it tomorrow instead. So that's one thing. But what you were describing with the dishes, it's also kind of this exponential compounding of like what you have to do. And so if I do the dishes today, it's like I do a quick dish. If I have to do them tomorrow, it's like 20 dishes. And if I have to do them on Wednesday, it's going to be 40 dishes. And that becomes a gigantic task. I think there are times to put things into time blocks. And there are times not to I mean, if the task becomes so gigantic, it means that you're never going to start it. Whereas if you constantly are doing something, you may lose momentum. And so there may be times when it's like, Okay, I'm not going to do dishes seems like a bad one, because I think it just feels really good to have the counters clean, right? And so there's like, there's also that reward. But just let's say for example, if you're constantly doing five minutes and having to start a task over and over again, then it's like, then it becomes harder, because they're like, Oh, I don't want to do them today. And then it's easy to get off track. Whereas if you time block and say, Okay, this is the day, when I do all of this task, it can be a little bit better. So I'm getting all over the place all leave that there. But I think that the biggest piece with putting something off is that it decreases the motivation, it potentially makes the task even harder. And it's something where if you're able to set things up, where you're consistently motivated, with, you know, a really compelling starting point. goals that make sense, you know, small enough goals that you're you're constantly nearing a finish line, so you stay motivated, and you set habits in place, then it's a lot easier, but we just don't do that with new year's resolutions.
Adina Silvestri 13:57
No, no, like you were saying earlier, they're, they're usually pretty huge. Like, I'm gonna lose all this weight, or I'm gonna be this, you know, marathon runner, and maybe you've only ever jogged halfway around your block.
Katie Vernoy 14:14
Exactly. When if the goals are that big, it's a lot easier to procrastinate. Mm hmm. Because there's not a clear sense of what to do first. Yeah. And so saying, I'm going to be a marathon runner, and so I'm going to run is it like 26.2 miles? Something like that. Yeah, we're clearly both marathon runners. Right? Like if we're saying I'm gonna run 26.2 miles and I am barely running around the block. That's impossible. And it's like, I'll do it tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow. Whereas if it's like, step one, is get off the couch and run around your block twice. And then you accomplish that goal and then it's run down to whatever Street and run back and you know, you're increasing your mileage. And there's a whole other thing about marathons where you know, you shouldn't just increase exponentially, there's actually stress and rest. That's a whole other conversation where you want to increase and decrease in varying amounts beyond this conversation, but if you don't have a specific map, or the rungs of the ladder, or however that is like, the goal you're setting is so far away, it's easy to procrastinate.
Adina Silvestri 15:23
Yeah, and I know a lot of the listeners of this show, and even my clients in general, they, when they gave up the drinking, they had to pick something else up in place. So a lot of times it was it was running, it was ultra running, it was marathon running. And that really seems to work for them. And so I wonder, too, if it's helpful to start with the end in mind, like if you're gonna decide to be a marathon runner, then maybe you start off at the beginning, saying, Okay, I'm a marathon runner, this is what marathon runners do,
Katie Vernoy 15:58
these are the habits that they they start to create. I agree, I think it does make sense to have an end in mind. I think that, if that's the only thing you have in mind, like I said earlier, that's not something that's going to be compelling enough to get you to the first step, if you don't know where that first step is. But you have to have an end mind, maybe, maybe it's not the end, I mean, and when you say marathon runner than ultra marathon runner, and then there's, there's a lot of other things like maybe you start with, I'm going to run a five K, and I'm going to be a five k runner, and then I'm gonna be a 10 k runner. And that, you know, it could be something where you, you do that, it can even be something that I'm going to be a runner, but understanding what that looks like, you know, what does that what does that mean? That you mostly run on the weekends that you're running in the evenings, like, having a picture of what it actually looks like, can be very helpful. Now, being a runner, I think people can imagine themselves running, they can imagine themselves creating a life where they are going off to races and dedicating time, like that may be pretty easy to define. But for me, I think about a lot of people have the goal is I want to be happy. And the majority of people, I'm going to guess that maybe I don't, this isn't a study, I'm just saying this is my guess is that the majority of people when they say I want to be happy, and that's their goal. The picture is just, I'm smiling, or I feel good. And it doesn't go deeper than that. And so when you say have the end in mind, I think it's actually getting more clarity and definition on what happiness means for you, or what, whatever it is that your big goal is, what does that look like? What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it feel like? What are you doing? What are the things that you're not doing? I mean, like, you don't want goals to be just like, I'm not going to do this, because we know, even what you just said, like people that are in recovery, they had to replace, you know, you can't just create a gap, you know, a hole, you need to have something else to fill things in. And whether it's coping or, or activities or whatever. But it's creating the whole picture and having a very clear sense of what that picture is. I think a lot of people get stuck. And I honestly, right now I'm feeling a little stuck, because we're still in the pandemic. And so picturing what I want my life to look like, has shifted, and I'm having a little bit of, like, what does it actually look like? And so I'm trying to consciously and deliberately go through and make those those decisions, you know, like identifying, how am I spending my time? Who am I spending time with, you know, what are what are the things that I'm accomplishing, you know, but getting a clear picture of what the end is, is the first step. And then you reverse engineer down to the small mini goals that get you there, the mini steps that get you there so that you're constantly achieving. But if you don't know where you're going, you know, trying to get there faster is like running, you know, running full tilt in the wrong direction. So you do want to make sure that you know where you're heading and that you have clarity on what it looks like. But you can't only have that picture, you also have to have the intermediary steps.
Adina Silvestri 19:09
Yeah, that makes sense. And I want to maybe continue to define this a little more with where it is, like wimzie come into play with goal setting, is it only you know, we have these goals, because we think like this is what we should be doing. And this is what my peers are doing. And this is what the circle of my friends are doing and where do we start to create this life? So the reason that I'm asking this, as I, as I read an article recently that said that many individuals are creating goals that are too low for their ambition, like it's they're just they're, they're so easily attainable, achievable. They're not really challenging themselves. And so I thought, like, Okay, well, how do you think outside the box, like, what does that look like? And then also, does that give you that excitement that you need in order to continue to be most debate about him.
Katie Vernoy 20:01
So there's a lot there Adina, I'm going to try to unpack all of this.
Adina Silvestri 20:06
Yeah. in a half an hour, just, ya know.
Katie Vernoy 20:09
So it'll be easy, right? Okay, so the first thing I heard you say was this idea about whimsy. And what came to mind for me is creating space to be spontaneous to do things just to do them. And I think that, in truth, my experience is more that people set goals that are very hard, or they're or they're being inefficient, and how they're, they're making their way towards these goals. And so they don't have any space for whimsy or excitement, or freedom, or, you know, those kinds of things that we have that happen outside of our structured, you know, goal driven segments of our lives. So that was the first thing but it sounds like what you're describing more, at this point is this idea around setting goals that are high enough that are challenging enough versus setting the bar really, really low.
Adina Silvestri 20:59
Right, yeah. So like making these goals sort of work around your life instead of your life working around these goals?
Katie Vernoy 21:07
If that makes sense.
Adina Silvestri 21:09
You know, if you, if you
want to have this amazing morning with your husband and children, then you know, you, you set your life around that. Yeah, make sure that that happens. Number one,
Katie Vernoy 21:20
yeah. So one of the things and then this is a coachee thing. So don't, don't cringe too much. But I did create my own little acronym on how to make decisions. And so you know, because you're supposed to as a coach, but I actually really like it because it was a way to put things into a way to remember it. So I tell people to make decisions, like a boss. And so be bold, objective, select selective, and strategic. And so the bold part, I think, is in truth, what you're talking about what we're talking about with the end in mind, the bold is the big bold vision, the thing I would do if I was not afraid, the impact I want to make on the world and it has, it can be that thing that is whimsical, it could be powerful, it can be completely emotional. It's something where it's like, what do I want, you know, it can be legacy, it can be what do I want to leave the world, but how do I want to leave the world better. But the big bold vision is, I'm going to have a life where I can have this beautiful morning with my family, or I'm going to be able to reach millions or whatever it is, I mean, it can be you know, kind of personal, it can be professional, but it's it's getting very clear if if there was nothing stopping you what your deepest desires are. So that's the big bold vision. Now the part that I think most people especially if you're setting if you're, you know, kind of the life is, is kind of responding to responsibilities and goals and the things that are kind of external, we often get stuck in the objective. Now I we still need to be have objective logistics, like do I have the resources? Do I have the time? Is this the right time? You know, like it's it's assessing each of the things that we're setting out to do to see objectively Can I do this right now? But you don't start with what can I do right now? It's if nothing was stopping me boldly, what would I be doing? Okay, now, what are these things can I do? And so it's just shifting it a little bit to, to go to? Who am I? And what do I want to put out into the world? Okay, where am i right now. And objectively, what can I do? Now, you may still decide to do something different than that. But you want to have both the bold, bold information as well as the objective information. And then you have to be very selective. And I'm sure this is something that you've talked about with people before. But it's like, if you say yes to something, you have to say no to something else, you don't have an infinite amount of ability to say yes to things. And so being able to, to get to a place of what am I choosing to do, and actually making selections because sometimes if we don't choose then the choice it's made for us. But it's also making sure that we both put in the bold and the objective elements of it and choosing. And then finally, the strategic part is this implementation that we've been talking about from the beginning, it's creating that ladder, it's making sure that you have all the touch points that you have a fully, you know, conceptualized in point, you know, all of those things, and actually not putting it on a to do list which oftentimes we just carry from month to month and don't do anything on, but actually putting it into our schedule, and creating the habits or even just carving out the time to do each of those little tiny steps. So that you can keep accomplishing. But for me, that's, I think, where I go to when you're talking about these things, because I think too often if we get into the grind of the day, the goal is to clear out our email inbox or it's to accomplish this task and yeah, those things are Not just kind of a low bar to set, but it's also very boring. And it also can be a little bit soul sucking, if we're just kind of accomplishing the tasks that are set in front of us each day versus strategically thinking about our goals, and actually setting in place, what are the things that I can do today that will really help me tomorrow?
Adina Silvestri 25:23
Yeah, I like the boss.
Katie Vernoy 25:28
Like, it's a little cheesy, but it's so powerful for me. I'm like, Okay, I'll keep doing it, even though it's a little cheesy.
Adina Silvestri 25:34
Yeah, that's really good. That's really good. Great, well, I'm wondering if you would be willing to share maybe one of your whimsical boss like, goals with us? You know, just just a couple of people.
Katie Vernoy 25:54
Interested in a let's see, how do I how do I put this together? Here? Let me let me think a second. I mean, my big mission, the things that a lot of the guiding decisions that I make, is for individuals, especially people who have high pressure, highly trusted jobs, where they're really making an impact on people in a way that comes from their heart, right, that they, they want to help people. Most of us that do that we end up sacrificing ourselves. So my my big picture, vision is creating sustainable jobs, sustainable work life balance, or work life integration, there's a whole debate there. But like, being able to say, Hey, I am able to impact other people, while still taking care of myself. And that's both a personal goal, which I am a work in progress, I still struggle with it. But it's also what I do for my therapy practice, or the consulting business or, or my podcast and the conference that I do for therapists. It's something where I want people who have a heart to help, and who are our leaders in our communities, to actually create better workplaces so that the people because we spend so much of our time doing that, you know, 40 plus hours a week is spent on on an occupation of some sort for many of us, that if we if we can create nurturing, nourishing work environments, and the balance of this, the personal life and the other things, then we create a much more sustainable, happier society. Now, that being said, I still then have to have stuff outside of that. So the whimsical pieces are right being able to really carve out time for my myself for my family members, for I love making my sourdough bread, I've become a baker in the pandemic, I'm one of the people I'm one of the stats that got a sourdough starter. That's like getting outside, like making sure that I'm really putting forth the effort to do the things that nourish my soul and to live by example, because it's a struggle, because I have so much passion for what I do. But my you know, maybe my intention, or my goal for the new year is to really continue to work in that vein, to identify ways that I can create more of that space for whimsy and for self care. And for connection and family that's outside of what I do for my work. Yeah,
Adina Silvestri 28:23
that was pretty good for off the cuff.
Katie Vernoy 28:24
Thank you. I do what I can.
Adina Silvestri 28:27
So Katie, any final thoughts before we sort of wrap up today, for the air community?
Katie Vernoy 28:38
I think the biggest thing is, if you're thinking that a new year's resolution is something you want to do, don't set a goal, like I'm going to lose weight, or I'm going to be happy. Or I'm going to do something that is a should make sure that it actually aligns with what you want to do. There's a lot of shoulds that people then set goals for and they have no motivation for I keep I'm opening new topics, I apologize. But I think being able to really identify what is going to motivate me in the long term, how do I create intermediate steps and goalposts so that I can keep going, because if it's important enough to dedicate the biggest motivation boost that we all get on January 1, create a system to put it in place. Otherwise, it'll just be one of those failed these resolutions that you're worried about come mid January or mid February, that you then feel bad about. So don't do that. That's not painful. It doesn't work and it does not help. self esteem.
Adina Silvestri 29:44
Yeah. Yeah. Yes. That sounds great. It sounds like a great place to end.
Katie Vernoy 29:50
Adina Silvestri 29:52
So Katie, how
can people best find you on the social and say hi,
Katie Vernoy 29:57
so my website is KatieVernoy.com But I am on social so you can find me usually with KatieVernoy in some way, shape or form. I think that's all my things. They might be therapist, consultant, speaker, whatever. There's like different pieces. Okay for your audience that are therapists. I also have therapy reimagined and the modern therapist Survival Guide. And there's a lot of social media going on there as well.
Adina Silvestri 30:17
Okay, great. All right, Katie. Well, thanks again for coming.
Katie Vernoy 30:23
Thanks for having me
Thank you for listening to the atheists in recovery podcast. For more great info to stay up to date, head over to atheistsinrecovery.com
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Welcome to today’s show!
WHAT WE’LL LEARN
For more info, head over to atheistsinrecovery.com and subscribe to our email list. And thank you for listening!