All or nothing thinking when it comes to achieving our goals can be tricky, but VERY common.
The idea that often comes up at this time of year that you MUST cut out lots of things from your diet or from your life to ‘be better’.
And you better watch out for ‘falling off the wagon’ because that means you’re a big old failure who’s simply just not good enough.
That if you take a bite of the biscuit or a square of chocolate then you may as well throw the whole thing out the window because you’re never going to be able to do it anyway.
I mean, hopefully you can probably see the issue with this thinking straight off the bat but this is a HUGE part of our conditioning that all too often we don’t challenge ourselves on.
I’d love for you to think of a time, I’m sure it’s not in the too distant past, where you said you weren’t ‘allowed’ something, or to do something anymore, or you HAD to do something EVERY single day.
Usually this might be around dieting at this time of year but it could be anything. If clients have ever said to me, ‘I’m challenging myself to do X, Y or Z every single day’ or ‘I’m going to ban myself from doing X,Y or Z from today’ I highlight the red flag.
We have to give ourselves a different kind of challenge.
The challenge of being conscious to where these all or nothing ideas come from in the first place, because more often than not they actively reinforce the very thing you were trying to change anyway.
Also, being conscious of why it’s important to you that you get the result.
And what is actually sustainable for you, your personality and your lifestyle.
Is it actually something you WANT to do EVERY day? Is it even viable?
When it comes to health and wellness, whether it be physical or mental, there are so many fads that are all about deprivation or all or nothing thinking.
I do love a bit of routine, but I also won’t beat myself up if I skip a day because usually if I do it’s because I’m tuning in to my own energy, how I’m feeling and what I’m needing that day.
Some things I’m religious about like making sure I get at least 7-8 hours sleep per night.
But other things I’ll go through phases with. I use SO many tools for mental wellbeing that to all or nothing my way through them all every day would take all day!
So it’s about going with what your intuition tells you you need.
So the habit becomes, rather than every single day I meditate, exercise, do heartmath, journal, do breathwork, yoga etc etc etc, that I do SOMETHING every day that’s for my own mental wellbeing.
Otherwise I tend to hold myself to ‘most days’.
It’s about finding what works for you. That’s one of the reasons I keep a lot of my subjects open to your own interpretation, there is no one size fits all.
So much of this work is learning your SELF. That awareness is the most important part and I promise you it leads to FAR less mental clutter and instead of having a bully in your own head you get a friend.
Yes it’s possible that inner voice can be a SUPPORT to you instead of a hindrance.
I’m talking from my own experience here and hundreds of clients who report the same. It’s worth the work.
So, for me MOST days i’ll do some journaling, Heartmath, make sure i’m moving (that might be in the gym or simply going for a walk), singing, drinking at least 3 bottles worth of my water, I’ll read and make sure I talk to at LEAST one other human!
All or nothing thinking keeps you in a cycle of beating yourself up and feeling like you’ve failed.
What could it feel like if you relaxed it to a little bit of what you fancy?
When we take how we feel into account, deprivation is not something that usually leads to happiness or joy. (Unless there’s a mental or physical health reason for what you’re depriving yourself of, or when addictions or damaging substances are involved of course. As always, there’s always going to be nuance to your own individual situation but I know we’re all sensible grown ups here who can discern that for themselves)
This lack of joy feels like we’re punishing or torturing ourselves from a place of we’re not good enough so we must beat and bully ourselves into submission.
Wellness to me IS enjoyment.
When you shift the intention it can be a game changer.
I don’t go to the gym or exercise to lose weight. I go because of how I feel. I know how it works with my brain and body. I want to make sure I have less pain in my dodgy knees. I want to look after myself. I want to be healthy. Weight loss is just a nice side effect.
THIS is what makes it sustainable.
I’m all for self improvement but I tend to take it from a different angle.
I’m not coming at it from a place of i’m not good enough. Quick fixes and trends tend to be based on you not being good enough and making sure you feel that way. I’m coming at it from a place of I’m absolutely worth the time, energy and money and I’m worth looking after and feeling good.
See the difference?
So I’m going with my ‘is it worth it’ philosophy this year. This is my version of ‘a little of what you fancy.’
For example, if you’re having a drink and you know you might not sleep well or have a hangover…is who and where i’m having that drink fitting into my ‘worth it’ category? Are they people I really want to be hanging out with or spending time with? Am I there out of desire or obligation?
Sounds ruthless but it’s a game changer!
Same with food we might deem ‘naughty’ or in the ‘I shouldn’t’ category.
Is that cake worth it? Am I REALLY going to enjoy every single morsel and do a happy food dance for it? If not, it’s a nope! This genuinely helps me make WAY better food decisions and it’s from a place of is IT good enough for ME. Not ‘I can’t have it because I’m wrong’ in any way.
See the subtle shifts here?
Shifting the focus to enjoyment. Mindfulness over mindlessness.
Being conscious and aware of your habits and turning them into choices instead.
At the end of the day nothing is worth the expense of your mental health.
Nothing is worth reinforcing the opinion that you aren’t good enough in any way.
And life, in my opinion, is supposed to be enjoyed.
That voice in your head can be your friend. It doesn’t need to be a bully.
Balance over deprivation.
So if you’re listening feeling like you’ve already fallen off the unrealistic wagon you set for yourself I hope this might shift your perspective.
And if you feel the all or nothing approach works for you…have at it!
My message here is doing what’s right for and works for YOU. From a place of self respect and love rather than beating yourself up or feeling not good enough.
Because you’re more than good enough my friend!
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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