This is such an important post for ANYONE that feels they are constantly falling short of their goals and just can't seem to "push through".
I had an amazing coaching call this morning with someone who is pretty much ME... Five years ago.
I heard her talk about how she wants to do all these things, but then ends up paralyzed and just sitting on the couch in this back and forth with herself.
Here's the thing: When you are someone who is "all or nothing" you don't even realize how much you are sabotaging yourself from doing the smallest things.
For example, someone who is in an "all or nothing" mentality, when they decide they want to go for a run (even if logically they know it's "just a run") subconsciously they've already decided it also has to be x long, and x hard, doesn't really count unless their training for a marathon, and they already ate too much so they can't go as hard or as long as they should... so then they don't do it. And THEN to make matters worse they then beat themselves up for not going for the run and think they are a lazy failure who can't get anything done! And then, in order to soothe themselves from this guilt and shame, they end up emotional eating because they've already failed.
This is such a classic example of letting your thoughts spiral out of your control.
We went from "going for a run" to then eating away this guilt and shame that was ALL CREATED FROM OUR THOUGHTS.
When you are in an all or nothing mentality- a run isn't just a run. Underneath it's become training for a marathon, or starting this entire crazy workout regime, or all of a sudden you need to tighten up everything and lose weight.
A tiny little run, just became a full on, completely overwhelming commitment unconsciously in your mind.
I know this because I used to do this ALL THE TIME.
If that thought pattern above resonates with you, try this one on for size.
If you say you are going to do something, and then you notice you are in that familiar back and forth pattern of sitting on the couch- take a look at your thoughts. What are you making this run mean? Because I guarantee this is not just a run.
Take it back to the present moment. Take a deep breath.
Know that you can just go for a run, and it doesn't need to lead to anything else. It can purely be 30 minutes of getting outside just cause it feels good. It doesn't need to mean you then need to eat "perfectly" for the rest of the day. It doesn't mean you now have to run 3x a week. It doesn't mean you are all of a sudden now trying to lose weight.
These things are only taking on the meaning we give it.
So the next time you feel yourself overwhelmed, see if you can come back to the present and give it a new meaning that feels good. That a run can just be fun. Or if you don't want to run, then walk. Or if you don't want to do either- then that's fine too. You can rest and THAT doesn't mean you are lazy, or a failure.
Here's the whole other side to that mentality- no matter what you do end up doing- it's also never enough. Even if you do manage to drag yourself out for a run in that state, you'll say it wasn't long enough or hard enough or fast enough.
When you are in this all or nothing mentality, you've unconsciously created this scenario in your mind where perfection exists, and anything less than perfection is pointless. So then you end up paralyzed - now you are in the nothing phase. Unable to do anything until you can sum up the energy to do it "perfectly" - and then you are all in again.
This is a vicious, never ending cycle, and there is only one way to break it.
You've got to start re-training your brain to step away from this all or nothing, and into "every tiny thing I do adds up to the greater goal."
Here are some re-frames I've done with some things in my life to avoid self sabotage and become more productive, happier, and efficient (and no longer turn to binge eating).
Doing "Nothing" = Failure, Lazy, Guilty, Shame, Procrastination
Now for me it means: Recharging, getting inspiration and ideas, creating space which leads to more productivity and flow.
Not getting enough done in the self imposed time-line I've created = Unproductive, day is a write off, what's the point, I can never get it all done
Now for me it means: Where did this time line come from? What actually needs to get done today? I'll take a recharge break, and when I come back to it I'll feel in flow and get plenty done in a way that feels good.
*I know that time is irrelevant to productivity now, it's all about getting into that flow state and you can get 10x as much done in half the time, rather than forcing yourself to work when you aren't feeling it. REST when you aren't feeling it and then you'll come back to it better.
Skipping a workout: I am going to gain weight. I might as well eat all of this. Why can't I ever stick to anything? What is wrong with me?
Now it means: I'll kill it tomorrow instead, or when I'm up for it! Today I just need to rest and that is what's best for me today.
Sleeping in: I'm so lazy. I'll never get everything done. Why did I do that? Why can't I just get up when my alarm goes off?
Now it means: I'm so lazy. I'll never get everything done. Why did I do that? Why can't I just get up when my alarm goes off? But, guess I needed the rest.
(I am still working on this one as you can see haha).
Does this resonate with you guys? When you are constantly creating all these meanings and spiralling stories in your head, OF COURSE YOU WILL SELF SABOTAGE!!!
The key is to take a step back, decide what meaning you actually want to give this, and then move forward (without all the guilt, shame, and negative self talk).
Some homework I gave this client, in order to start trusting herself again (so that a run is JUST A RUN) is doing only 10 minutes of exercise per day, NO MORE. Once her brain can finally trust that when she is going for a run, it's just a run- then we can slowly increase. But if you are someone that struggles with the self sabotaging thoughts - choose what area you do this in, and then create a time limit. One that seems ridiculously small at first, and see if you can JUST DO THAT AND NO MORE everyday.
You'll be amazed at the results, I guarantee it!
PS. If you want to learn how to re-frame your thoughts quickly with accountability and support everyday, come join us for three months of Mind Magic!
It starts again October 1st, we will teach you how to re-wire your brain for positive thinking to avoid overwhelm and see results in any aspect of life you choose!