January 13, 2023

Episode 316: Make or Ditch New Year’s Resolutions?

In this episode (39:37)

In this episode, the BDA crew helps you start your 2023 with an agility flourish as they tackle the issue of New Year’s resolutions, including pros and cons, as well as tips for success.

You Will Learn

  • Why you should or (shouldn’t) make New Year’s Resolutions.
  • How goal setting and action planning are different.
  • How the intention-behavior gap affects your New Year’s resolutions.
  • How approach goals and avoidance goals impact your psychology.
  • What the acronym SMART stands for.
  • How hard your goals should be.


(upbeat music) - Welcome to "Bad Dog Agility," a podcast helping you reach all of your dog agility goals. Whether it's competing under the bright lights of the televised finals at Westminster, or successfully navigating a homemade course in your own backyard. We'll bring you training tips, interviews, and news about the great sport of dog agility. Are you ready? - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - The

show starts with your host, Jennifer, Esteban, and Sarah. (upbeat music) - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah and this is episode 316. Today's podcast is brought to you by HitItBoard.com and the new TeeterTeachIt, an easy-to-use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter, so you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to HitItBoard.com for the new TeeterTeachIt and other

training tools and toys. Use discount code BDA10 to get 10% off your order. That's HitItBoard.com. - Happy New Year everybody. So happy New Year to Jennifer coming to us from Ohio. And Sarah, who's right here next to me. Happy New Year, ladies. - Yes, happy 2023. - Woo. - All right and in this podcast, we are going to ask the question, should we make or ditch New Year's

resolutions? Now, in the past, I think just about every year, we've kind of touched on New Year's resolutions in the context of mostly goal setting, I think, for dog agility. But I wanted to talk a little bit about the cons of New Year's resolutions. And I think this is something that we haven't done, to my knowledge. And you know, we never start with the cons, but let's talk

about a couple of things here right off the bat. Number one is, well, the bigger concept is that New Year's resolutions may not be for everyone, right? And I think mostly those people aren't even listening to this podcast. So good for you if you know that New Year's resolutions is something that causes you a lot of anxiety and strife and it never works out for you and you

just feel bad about yourself. Nobody needs that kind of nonsense. So, that's big principle number one. I think people struggle because sometimes we have unrealistic resolutions, right. And then because they're so unrealistic, you inevitably quit or fail to accomplish said resolution and that makes you feel bad, right? I think the other thing that can happen is you can have maybe some not so good reasons to do things

that seem fairly innocuous or okay, right? Like, "Hey, I'm going to lose 10 pounds this year, right? And, you know, this is how I'm going to do it." But then that might raise issues of why you're doing it. So the medical example that I think of is the difference between losing, let's make it a bigger number, 20 pounds, because you've just been diagnosed with type two diabetes. And

the doctor wants to start you on Metformin, but they say, "Hey, maybe we can start with diet and exercise first, right?" And so now you have this goal, I'm gonna lose 20 pounds. You know, this is, I think pretty solid. Whereas other people might be like, "Hey, I wanna lose 20 pounds because I don't like my body, I don't like the way I look." And there's a lot

of things maybe tied to that, right, body image issues. So here you kind of have the same theoretical person with the same goal, but because the motivations and reasons are different, maybe it's not such a great resolution, right? And maybe one's a little more likely to lead to problems than the other. And so I think there's this idea of self-acceptance, which I think has really come to the

forefront in recent years, right? Kind of accepting who we are. Sarah, how do you think we reconcile these two very different ideas, right? The whole point of resolutions is I'm going to do something that I haven't been doing, right. And I'm gonna use the new year to kind of catapult, gimme a little motivation, and catapult me over the wall this time versus, "Hey, everything's okay just the way

it is." - So I think that, the way that I think about New Year's resolutions is like a jumpstart. And I also think that, you know, when we think about the pros and cons of New Year's resolutions, I'm like, "Use it when it's helpful. Don't use it when it's not helpful." So use it a, you know, as long as it's helping you, great. And the moment it is

not throw it away. And so, you know, I kind of agree with you that I feel like I'm definitely the kind of person that like when I want to do something, I am like 100%, like 100%. Like if I'm gonna stick to a certain diet, I'm going to do it 100%. I'm gonna weigh everything. And even when you're like, "Sarah, it's not that big of a deal if

you get like one extra gram 'cause we're at a restaurant and you don't have your scale," I'm like losing my mind about not being able to like weigh it and measure it and do it exact right. And then one day I go, "You know what, I'm gonna go ahead and have a brownie." And then I have all the things, like, all the things all at once, right. So

I'm definitely like- - So if you're starting a diet on January 1st, on December 31st, you're eating ice cream. - Everything. - Pie, whatever. - Everything, right. - Jennifer's pointing at herself. - I know. - You guys can't see her. - Absolutely. That's me 100%. Like eat it all in now because it's about to be taken away from ya. - That's right. And I don't like, and you

know, I don't do the whole like, moderation, you know, right. Like, so on the one hand you don't wanna do the whole yo-yo thing where you're like eating great and then you eat like garbage and then you eat great and then you eat like garbage. But on the other hand, like the new year is a great time where you can jump in and get a jumpstart on your

thing. So when I say use it while it's helpful, ditch it as soon as it's not, what I'm saying is ride that initial period where you're on top of things and you're going to the gym every single day at five o'clock because you decided a new time and you got a new membership. And do that for as long as you can. But the moment that you, air quotes,

break your resolution, forget about the fact that it was a resolution, right. So another way, another thing that I was just recently thinking about about this, that I want to kind of shift my New Year's resolutions from resolutions to habits. Because habits are something where a jumpstart is really helpful because you just need to get into a new routine. So if the beginning of the year is a

good time for you to set up a new routine, then use the New Year's resolution to make that habit. And then even when you quote break the resolution, as long as you've kind of established this new habit, you'll be able to get back to it more quickly. - Interesting. You know, Jen, this reminds me of process versus results. So what do you think about that in terms of

dog agility when we're setting New Year's resolutions? Well, first, what kind of New Year's resolutions are we gonna set? I know everybody talks about diet in the human, but what about our dog? Surely there are people listening to this podcast that have New Year's resolutions for their dogs, for them and their dogs related to agility. What do you think some of these are? Jen, you go. - I

think building off of the kind of health kick, right. That's just kinda the stereotypical thing. You see that a lot in dogs. Like, I think scrolling through social media, I've seen a lot more advertisements for like canine fitness in like advertising in December and January. And I mean, I know for me, we're in the winter, right? So it's a lot harder for us to get out and do

agility and to do the sequencing. So it's like, "Okay, this is a great time to work on some of my indoor fitness stuff, strengthening my dogs. If I'm not gonna be doing as much agility, I don't want them to get outta shape, so I'm going to commit to more fitness." So I think you see that a lot with dogs. Sometimes even just committing to more smaller trainings, like

trick classes. You know, again, the things that can be done inside. I know in Texas you guys aren't having as many of the weather issues, but up here, you know, it gets cold and the weather gets gross. People don't wanna go out and people can't get in their backyards and train. So we see a lot of small space stuff. The fitness stuff, the trick stuff I think kind

of carries over from our stereotype of human fitness, right? New Year's resolution, so much, eat healthy, lose weight, dry January, all that stuff. So I'm seeing a lot of that with the dogs. - Awesome, awesome. All right, now I'm gonna put all of this in the context of an interesting article that I found online, published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. It was written by Dr. Ryan

Bailey, who is a physical therapist, got his PhD. I forget what they call it, but basically in physical therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. And he worked primarily with stroke patients. And I think he was at the VA in Atlanta when he published this paper. But he talked about, the title of the paper, which we will link to in the show notes, is "Goal Setting and Action

Planning for Health Behavior Change," right. And so his goal was, he was working with stroke patients, right. People who had had a stroke And the goal there is to help people recover, right, have better health functionality, but also to prevent a second stroke from happening, right. So people who have had a heart attack or stroke, one of the things we're really concerned about is medicine, in medicine is

a second event, right. And so usually you're gonna do some kind of lifestyle modification and it actually falls in pretty nicely with what a lot of people wanna do in general, right. We talked about, you know, weight loss and people are very focused on that, taking care of their own health. And you don't have to have had a stroke in order to have that kind of motivation or

goal. But I think it's always interesting to see what are the professionals doing, right, when they're working with clients and that there are real serious health outcomes at stake. What works and what doesn't work? And so the first thing he points out is there's such a thing as the intention behavior gap, right. So he points out that numerous studies have shown that just because you intend to make

a change doesn't mean that you will have actual behavior change. And I think anyone that's tried to quit smoking is listening to this podcast, probably knows exactly what I'm talking about. So he basically divides the article into two separate topics, right? So on the one hand, number one, you have setting your goals, and number two, action planning, right. It's not just enough to have the goals, right, that's

the attention, but you need to have the actual behavior change, right. So action planning, that's the second part. So we're gonna start with setting goals first. And one of the cool things that he talked about, I think both of you really like this, is the difference between approach goals and avoidance goals. So approach goals, you're gonna help people move toward a desired outcome, right. And avoidance goals, you're

moving them away from undesired outcomes. Okay, so here's the example that he uses in the article. A positively framed approach, an approach goal, right, you're gonna move person toward this is, "I'm going to eat a cup of low fat yogurt for their afternoon snack," right? They're moving toward that. That's something that they're doing. A negatively framed avoidance goal might be, "I'm not gonna eat junk food, right. I'm

not gonna eat Doritos. I'm not gonna eat Twinkies, HoHos, all that good stuff, right." And that one is not as good because there's this idea of intrinsic motivation within an individual. So for whatever reason, we feel bad when people are like, "You can't have all the things, all the delicious things." And I think that's when Sarah and Jennifer eat a lot of stuff December 31st when they know

they're starting a diet January 1st, right. And they have a very negative kind of emotional reaction to this, right. And so he wants to move you to a positively framed approach goal. And so I wanna think of some agility examples. The first one that I came up with is working with people when they tell you their goal is, my goal is to not go off course, right? And

I often throw my hands up and I'm like, "Okay, I'm gonna need a lot more information. I'm gonna need to see some runs. You're gonna need to be a lot more specific because I don't know that there are things that I can tell you to do that is gonna prevent you from going off course," right. It's highly contextual. Maybe when you look at, so the first thing I'll

tell someone is "I need more information," right. Or, "Are your dogs always going into tunnels? Do all your off courses happen after front crosses," right? Things like that. And so that's a negatively framed avoidance goal, right? I wanna avoid off courses. So what's an approach goal? An approach goal might be, I'm going to focus on the correct footwork on a front cross, or I'm gonna get my timing

on a blind cross correct so as the dog is taking off, I have already completed the blind cross, right. So that's a goal that you're moving toward as opposed to something that you are avoiding. So between the, I've got both of you here, are there other examples that you can think of? - I don't know about other examples, but I'll build on that exact thing. And I mentioned

that I try really hard to keep that mindset in mind when I'm giving feedback to students like live at a trial. You know, there's a couple ways you can say the same thing. And I could, you know, if student was walking the course we were just trialing this weekend, I could say, you know, "Hey, be careful of that off course." You know, "Be careful of that front cross,

you know, don't go too deep. You know, watch that off course." Or I could just say, "When you're doing this front cross, make sure you maintain really good eye contact." You know, in essence, I'm saying the same thing, which is like morning, work this part of the course, but the getting in their head and saying, "Watch out for the off course. Be careful of the off course." You

know, "Don't send your dog off course," is a very different way for me to say the same thing, which gets that in the dog's head, or in the human's head, versus saying, you know, "When you're doing your front cross, really make sure you connect with the dog, have good eye contact to pick him up on the new side." You know, so I know as an instructor, I work

really hard on how I say things that are in a way that get handlers focusing on the positive outcome and not, even if it's just subconscious planting in the negative. You know, you'll hear a lot of people say things, you know, "Good luck, don't mess up. You know, don't bomb." And I'm like, I just wanna shake 'em. I'm like, you could say it's so many other things that

would get people thinking less about the negative and more about the, you know, go have a great run, go have good connection. You know, run your best or whatever. So I think that same principle is what we're talking about here, but I've never really thought about it as it pertains to goals or resolution. So I like the way you're thinking. - Right, right. It's interesting. I think there's

some basic psychology here. Okay, everybody right now, don't think, don't picture a pink polar bear in your head. (Sarah laugh) Right. So it is the first thing everybody did just now was, you know, obviously imagine a pink polar bear. Sarah. - Yeah. I think, I mean, again, I don't have another agility example, but I think that what I really like about that approach versus avoidance goals is, you

know, in the context of habits, which is where my mind's at right now, I'm like, can you have a habit that is to not do something? Like, is that really a habit? Is it really a habit to not chew gum? You know, it's like, you know, habits are things that you are going to do on a consistent basis. And so, you know, I'm feeling like, you know, my

view on New Year's resolutions is now that it should be all about creating habits, and the habits are the things that you are going to do consistently, which are going to get you to your goals. So it's, you know, it's the behaviors that you're going to take, not the things that you're going to not do. I do think, I mean, I guess in that context, I would say

if somebody was like, "Well, I want to, you know, I want, you know, better context. That's my New Year's resolution is better context." Well, first of all, it's very nebulous, but second of all, like I would say, "Well, let's think about how we're gonna get that." And so then maybe the New Year's resolution is I'm going to have, you know, contact work every Monday. Like every Monday I'm

going to work on my contacts and refresh with my dog and check their- - You're getting a little bit ahead of the podcast here. - Oh, sorry. I didn't realize. - Which is good. It's a good sign. You see where this is going. I suppose one other example that I think I just thought of is the handler who's maybe a little stingy with reinforcement, with rewards, right. You

may be like, "Hey, don't be stingy with the rewards." And that's like an avoidance goal, right. Hey, don't be a grinch, don't be stingy. As opposed to saying when your dog messes up, ask for a behavior and give them one to three treats. You know, reward after X, Y, and Z. Use a toy now. Use a treat then. And I think some trainers are very, very good at

this. You go to seminars, you go to classes, and they're like, "Reward the dog before you do anything." Because after a mistake, handlers will often turn toward the instructor or seminar presenter and then say, "What did I do wrong," right. And completely ignore their dog at the very critical moment when you want to most deliver them reinforcement, right. And I think the really good instructors are on top

of that and say, "Reward your dog first. Okay, now that you've rewarded your dog, now let's talk," right? And so I think that's a good example of approach versus avoidance goal. Okay, now we know what's up with that. The next thing, I think Jennifer alluded to this when we talked about, you know, process a little bit, but it's this idea of performance goals versus mastery goals, right. So

performance goal is anything that involves judging or evaluating one's ability, right. Are you good at something? Are you bad at something, right? Are you a champion at something? Mastery goals, also known as learning goals, involve increasing your existing abilities and learning new skills. This is very different. I think of one extreme example is before I, you know, hurt my back and was out for this past year, we

had worked up to the point where we were bringing out one of the puppies, this is a golden retriever. And we took her and did a, not a fun run, what do you call it? - FEO. - FEO. - For exhibition only. - For exhibition only at an AKC trial just to get her out there and confident. There's no chance of qualifying in it, in any sense of

that phrase for this run, right. There's no title to be had, no ribbon to be won, and so there's no performance metric there. And it was all about increasing the dog's skills, right. In this- - And confidence. - The ability to do a tunnel with people around, the ability to take a jump, the ability to recall off of the judge, the ability to sit and stay at the

start line or whatever, or to tug amidst distraction in new environment that they hadn't been in, right? And so that's a very different situation from going into an FEO where people are like, "I need to have a good run," right. Or I need to get a ribbon, or I need to accomplish X, Y, and Z, right, when you're not focused on the skills. So in terms of agility

examples, I of course went straight to big events or finals, right. Like, "Oh, I am going to win AKC Nationals. I am going to do this or that in the finals." But I think the really big one that everyone has and they don't really think about is whether or not you qualify for a run, whether or not you run clean, whether or not the run counts, right. Because

there are people, in fact, I know a lot of people who are really good at keeping a run together, to making sure they get that cue even though the dog has, you know, three spins the wrong way and almost goes off course twice. And they count that as a huge win, right? Because they have met their performance goal. And actually, you'll get tremendous reinforcement from your peers for

that, "Hey, you saved that run. You have accomplished this thing." - You're a superhero. - Yeah, yeah performance goal. Whereas I might argue that I don't know that the dog is really picking up on the kind of skills and abilities that we really want them to when you're focused more on your learning or mastery goals. Maybe you took an L there. What do you all think about that?

- I look at it, I almost think that you need like, several mastery goals before you then look at maybe a performance goal. Like I look at mastery goals, if we're talking about your current abilities and learning, right? It's like, okay, I'm gonna have the goal of, I wanna be able to blind cross the end of the weave poles and I wanna be able to rear cross up

the teeter and I wanna be able to do a two jump lead out, right. Like, those are my goals. That's what I'm gonna train for for the month of January. And then I'm gonna enter a trial at the end of January. And that's where then the performance is tested, right. If performance goals involve judging and evaluating, right. That's what a trial is, right. A trial is an opportunity

for your skills to be judged literally by a judge where, you know, class is not that place. We're not judging you on performance in a class situation or a learning or a seminar. So it's kind of like, you know, these mastery goals, you have to have a couple and you have to work on them and you have to address them, see that they're getting better, and then, okay,

now I can set a performance goal. But to set a performance goal without having worked through the learning and the mastery part isn't gonna really get you anything. So it's almost kind of a focusing on building up the chain and the mastery working towards ultimately having the performance. But you know, we've talked about that kind of outcome-based goals versus performance-based goals in the past. And, you know, you

gotta set goals that you can control. If the goal is I wanna be able to blind cross the end of the week, well, then that's something that you train, that's something that you work on. But setting the goal of I wanna win nationals or my breed specialty, or even just this class, isn't necessarily something you can control. You could have the best run of your life and if

somebody else has the best run of their life and you get second, like you have the best run of your life. It doesn't degrade the effort and work that you put in to accomplish what you did. It just meant that somebody else was doing it as well. So I think it, you gotta be careful. Those performance based ones can be, not only are they not maybe the best

way to go, but they can also be incredibly deflating even when the work has been made and the progress is there. - And that's amazing. There's no fooling, Jennifer, because I was setting up a whole performance or mastery goals. Which one should you have and which one should you get rid of? But the author makes exactly the same point that you made, Jen, which is remarkable because I

know that Jen did not read this article because I didn't send it to her before this podcast taping, right? So she did not have access to the article, but the author makes the point that you can't have one without the other, right. That you need both, but that a lot of people are overly focused on the performance goals without having this understanding or idea of mastery goals or

learning goals. And they really struggle. Go ahead, you wanna say something? - Yeah, well I was just thinking that I think that the attitude that I think is most helpful for people to take when they want to do well at big events, specifically. When we talk about, like, I don't think anybody's goal should be to win nationals because like Jennifer said, it's not completely under your control, even

to the point of like tripping or something like that. But I think that the goal that makes the most sense to me as the next step down from that would be, I wanna put myself in the position where I could win nationals, you know what I mean? So it's about like, it's about, and then you have to think, well what does that mean? And it means having all

of these skills. It means having perfect context and then you kind of break it down from there. But I think that that's just like a little mindset shift. And I thought about this 'cause we've been, you know, our son just got into college and so a lot of what we were thinking about is putting him in the position of having, you know, having options, you know, having colleges

to choose from, having places that he wants to be available to him. - Right. - And so that idea of just being in the position to potentially get the thing that you want is a different kind of attitude rather than I want this one thing. - Right, right. Because I think we see a lot with a lot of high school kids, you know, they fall in love with

a school and certainly he had a top choice. Like you rank the schools and one was he liked a little bit more than the others. But sometimes they would get really fixated on that and then they tie their self worth to it, right? "Oh, I want to go to Harvard, right? And if I don't get into Harvard, then I'm a bad person. Or I failed high school," basically,

right? Or, "Hey, I need to get into my flagship public state school. And if I don't do that and I start at community college for two years and then transfer in, I don't want to do that, it means I've failed in some way," right. And so I think people can struggle with that a little bit. Okay, very good points from both of you. And so now let me

ask you this. What kind of goals are better overall, easy goals or hard goals? Easy goals or hard goals? And no explanation. I just wanna hear, you pick, each of you pick first. - I hate that. I hate that one. - Don't look at the screen. Don't look at the screen. Don't look at the screen. Okay, Jennifer? - I think it has to be personality dependent because like,

I think Sarah needs hard. She already admitted. - Wait, wait, wait, no listen, Jennifer gets to talk. - Sarah already admitted she's like 100% all or nothing. She either does it or doesn't. Like, so something that hard, she would like take it as a motivation to be like, "That's hard. I'm gonna tackle this. I'm gonna do it," where I'm like little things like, I need like little, little

incremental steps to like make me feel like I'm having some level of success. I don't know what's right or wrong, but I- - Okay, so Jen's gonna dodge the question. She's gonna dodge the question- - Personality dependent. - And say both. - For me, little. - Easy and hard. - For me- - You pick, you pick. - I was gonna say easy. - You were gonna say easy.

- I was gonna easy because- - I'll give you some explanations since Jen- - All right, because I hate it when you make his answer with no explanation, but no, because I think, like, as everybody can tell, I'm super excited about habits. (Sarah laughs) I'm like, I want the consistent wins. I want lots of consistent wins. And I feel like you aren't gonna get, first of all, if

they're hard, you're only gonna have one or two, right. And so then it's like, if you miss like you've failed, like, you know, let's say you have three big goals and you miss on one, you've, you know, you've failed on 33%. But if you have like lots of little goals, then you can just tick off those wins, win, win, win, win, win until they like dwarf the losses.

- Interesting, interesting. Okay, well, here's the answer. And this is, you know, according to the article. The author points out that researchers actually know quite a bit from studies in organizational psychology. And those studies have consistently demonstrated that challenging goals produce better results than easy goals. Particularly when one is committed to the specific goal. So starting with something that is challenging. Now the question of, well, when do

we move from challenging to impossible? What's the difference between challenging and reasonable? There's a lot of subjectivity there, right. So I'd be interested in looking at a lot of these studies. So I'll just throw that out there, that that's where the author was headed with that question. But very good points that y'all brought up. Okay, and so now we are going to transition to phase two. So phase

one was all about the goal setting. And now phase two is the action planning, right. And I think the transition to there is a topic that we've talked about before and it is SMART. And SMART being an acronym, right? And the SMART criteria for goals is, it's an acronym and it stands for specific, measurable, the A is for achievable, R is realistic, and T is time. So that's

spells SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time. It grew out of business culture. And I know for sure we've talked about it- - Yes. - On this podcast. And with our audience in other contexts as well. And so I think that really helps with action planning, the doing. And by setting up your SMART criteria smartly, you can get that done. There was an interesting study that he referred

to in the article, the author did, and he said that they would do things, right. And then have the patient come up with some kind of plan, right. And then they would go back several weeks later and interview the patient, "Hey, do you remember your plan?" And some of them wouldn't even remember the plan, right. But the majority remembered their plan. And then they would be like, "Okay,

now you remember it. Now did you follow through on the plan," right. And so they were studying that and one of the things they did was, at the time they came up with the plan, they asked people, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you're gonna be able to execute this plan," right? And if they, the patient gave a number lower than a

seven, right, they were probably not going to get it done, right. So they were thinking like seven is kind of a threshold, right? Because if you come up with some like super tough, like, "I'm going to eat just 800 calories a day. You know, I'm going to eat two grapefruits a day and nothing else for 30 days." I'm like, "That scene is very unrealistic." Like the chances of

you falling through on that I think are like a one, you know. Then hey, maybe you need a better action plan, right? It's just like your plan to get rich should not be, I'm gonna win the lotto, right. The odds of that are not very good, right. Your confidence is gonna be like a 1 out of 10, right. So what do y'all think about that? - I think

that kind of goes back to the easy or hard goals. I mean, it's almost the counter to it. So I guess easy and hard is in the eye of the beholder. And I guess the real answer is you don't want them to be easy or hard. You want them to be, you know, challenging. - On the challenging side higher than five. - Right. - So not a three.

- Right. - So maybe not as easy as you were thinking Sarah, 'cause it sounded like you were making some very easy, I don't know, I could think of doing things incrementally. Like, let's say like right now I wake up at nine and then I wanna wake up at eight. So I could go from nine to eight on the first day, or I could go to 8:45 to

8:30 to 8:15. I could even spend a week at each stage. So it takes me a month to go all the way back. - Yeah, so I guess I think it depends on the goal too. I think the more- - Yeah. - The more that the goal is, I think the more that the goal is a change in lifestyle versus an achievement, right. So I think that like,

when you have like, achievement goals, you know, maybe those can be bigger, but when you have a change in lifestyle that that's something that's gonna be more incremental. You can't go from, you know, you can't go from zero to 60. You literally can't go from, you know, being 300 pounds to 150 pounds like overnight, right? - Right. - It's like literally cannot happen. - Or quitting three cups

of coffee. You can't go cold turkey next day. You're gonna feel really, really bad, right? If you get from three to two and a half for a couple weeks. - It's like not even- - Two for a couple weeks. - The right approach. It's like not even the smart or even the healthy approach. So I think that when we're talking about lifestyle goals and I think of those

as like sleep, health, wellness, food, you know, things like that. I think those are ones that lend themselves to, you know, lots of small wins that lead to an overall change in your lifestyle. As opposed to something, you know, doing something overnight that is not something that you're gonna be able to do forever. - Right. - I 100% agree. Like if you're like, I like what I'm like

currently, right. It's January, like trying to cut down sugar. It's like if somebody just said, "All right, January, no sugar." I'd be like, "That's not possible. I'm not even gonna try." And I wouldn't even bother something. But I'm right now trying to do like no sugar prior to like evening. So like sugar only after dinner, which might sound normal for a lot of people, but for me I'm

like, at breakfast let me have a sweet tart. Oh, I gotta have my lunch dessert. 'Cause I do lunch desserts too. So I have a lunch dessert and then like. - Jen is my twin. - So like for me- - Jen is my twin. - I'm right now trying to do only afternoon. So I'm not gonna like cut out sugar. I know I wouldn't be able to do

that. So I'm gonna try to do it incrementally and work my way there. So yeah, I don't know if we talk, this is like, is that small wins? Is that the 7 out of 10? I don't know what that is, but I'm like, it has to be gradually or if it seems too hard, I don't even bother trying. I'm like, "I can't do it. Not even gotta try."

- Yeah. Yeah, I think that goes back to what you talked about at the very beginning, which is motivation, right. - Yeah. - So it's like- - We're like, yeah, dry January, like we're doing that. Like that's easy. I don't drink, so I'm like, "Sure, let's say dry January." That's just a win. Just mark it down as a win for me 'cause that one is easy. The sugar

though, that's a struggle for me. - Yeah, and I hear you on the sugar struggle. All right, we're gonna wrap up this podcast with a specific concrete problem that I think a lot of people are putting in their New Year's agility resolutions. And that would be you have the dog that will not stay at the start line. All right, and I'm not talking about you're teaching them to

sit for the first time. I'm talking about a dog that's probably out there and competing and it has cost you some runs, right. The dog has taken off. So I'm gonna put Jen on the spot with no preparation at all. We're gonna use the SMART criteria here, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time. Help this person. What should they do? - It's interesting you mention that 'cause the Frenchy,

Fudge, will be a year this week or this month. And so we're like actually starting a start line stay. So I actually did this after the first year. I'm trying to do a little bit more like smaller sessions with all the dogs each day. So we're starting with our start line stay. And right now I'm not even adding the stay part. We're just working on developing the routine.

So I'm like really, really splitting it down. So right now our goal is to establish what my expectations are in terms of lining up, which I'm working on teaching him to line up between my legs and then the routine with the leash. So there's no walking away from him. There is no leading out. There's not a lot of duration. Right now it's that when the leash comes off,

your eyes come to me, right. You don't get to like leash off, woo-hoo dog park, right. Which I know that sounds like for some people that might sound simple because that may be what your dog automatically does. - Right. - But as somebody who works with hundreds of dogs a month, you'd be shocked the number of dogs that leash comes off and they're like, yes, we get to

disengage. So we're working on leash come off, eyes go up, and then the lining up between the legs is all being seamless. Once I feel like that is under control and that's being able to be done in various locations with different distractions and stimulation, then we'll like go to the next step. So I think, you know, if I had to say my overall feedback, I mean that might

be more specific or less specific than some listeners wanted, but break it into little pieces. Don't go, "Okay, I'm gonna work my stay on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and that Friday I'm gonna see if I have a two jump lead down at the trial." Like, you may be working at it all of January and little by little by little. And then, you know, at the end of January

or early February, after doing it for four or six weeks, then attempt to go into a trial situation with it. So just small pieces, little sections, and you can break it out. You can say like, "Okay, the first week of January or whatever timeline, you know, I'm going to make sure that I can take the leash off and the dog's eyes are me. And then the next week

it's like, I'm gonna take the leash off, the dog will line up at my side, that heel position. Third week I wanna be able to step lateral, you know. Fourth week I wanna be able to go lateral and forward for the count of 10." Like it's gotta be little pieces for little wins, but also something that, as you said is measurable, right. It's very specific about what you

want. You know, to just say I want it to jump lead out is such a big overhead like goal. You have to be able to break it down into those smaller pieces. - I love it. I love it. And I feel like you put everything together, everything that we talked about in this podcast. And so hopefully that will be helpful to people out there working on their start

lines. All right, and I think that's it for the first podcast of 2023. Happy New Year to everyone. Best wishes this year. May all your agility, dreams, champagne wishes, caviar dreams, I forget. That's from "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" circa the 1980s. (Sarah laughs) So if anybody knows that reference, please email me at is- - Team. - What's our email team? Team, T E A M @baddogagility.com.

So I'm not the only one who remembers that show. (Sarah laughs) - All right, we'd like to thank our sponsor, HitItBoard.com. Happy training. (upbeat music) - Thank you for listening to "Bad Dog Agility." We hope you enjoyed today's episode. For more information, updates, and links to all our socials, just check out our website, www.baddogagility.com. If you haven't already signed up for our email subscription, we would love to

have you join the BDA community. Until next time, take care. (upbeat music)

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