Ditching the All or Nothing Mindset

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September 29, 2015

Are you an all or nothing type person? Do you see things in black or white rather than the shades of grey in between? I am one of these people and it can often go hand in hand with the type A personality (me again) which can be an asset for completion of short term projects but not so great for achieving long term goals as anything long term seems to require many shades of grey on the way.

I'm referring to long term goals such as healthy eating regimes, exercise regimes, work projects, saving money, passion projects....If you don't cut yourself some slack when slip ups occur, you can go totally in the opposite direction from what you were trying to achieve in the first place due to this pesky 'all or nothing' gene.

I would like to introduce a healthier mindset....It's the idea of 'One Pointedness' which is simply: a constancy of aim and effort. One point on your horizon which you are striving towards as often as you possibly can.

This mindset becomes so important when you do something very human like go back on what you thought or said you would do. So important in fact, that it steers you back to where you were originally aiming for instead of that familiar 180 degree turn where you end up heading down a different street altogether.

Let me tell you about me and my aim of 'one pointedness'.

So to give you a bit of background on me, I like things to be just so. Perfect even...if that's a possibility (perfectionism is soooo counter productive). This has been a trait of mine from a young age because I remember back to the age of about 7 years old when I began to pretend there was always a camera on filming me and if I messed up in any way I would think in my head, 'press stop' and then when I had things back on track again, I would think 'Ok, now start the camera rolling again'

So this speaks volumes doesn't it? I wasn't allowing the mistakes or errors to be seen in the movie of my life, I didn't want them factored in. Now as an adult, I know the mistakes are the most important part. They are the parts that get me to the next stage, they create change, learning and understanding of myself. Without them, my movie would be boring with no plot change, no new characters, no evolving of the script. And...due to my black or white thinking, if a mistake gets made, I tend to really go to town with it and keep it going for a while. If I eat something I shouldn't then I have some more. Then I eat something else that might not be part of my current goal, and then I think well this day is a write-off, doesn't matter until tomorrow now......  

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Doing my third round of the Whole30 at the moment, puts a spotlight on this part of my personality. It's a strict way of eating and you do have to reset the diet if you eat something that isn't whole30 compliant. It got me asking myself, as I caved in and had chocolate and wine on day 12, is this really good for me? Because when I eat something I'm trying not to, it's followed by: EAT ALL THE FOOD. Restrictions and boundaries can have this affect and 'all or nothing' type behaviour is more likely to occur.

So do I think this way of eating is dangerous? No, I definitely do not. It's good for exercising the self discipline muscle (something I need to exercise more!) but it's the 'slip ups' that are the most important part of this exercise for me. Yes, it means that I have to start again but to achieve my goals, it's a track I want to stay on as much as possible anyway. So instead of eating ALL THE FOOD for a day or the rest of the week, instead I now remember my life lesson: One Pointedness - a constancy of Aim and Effort. And guess what? It makes me want to steer myself back to where I was.

As long as I acknowledge the slip up and treat myself with the love and respect I deserve by allowing it and remembering that it's not the end of the world, then I don't have to race off in the opposite direction of my current goal. All I need to remind myself is that I spend more time on the road to my goal than I do off it and that is all that matters. Constancy of Aim and Effort.

So if you are painting a picture, and you put a colour or brushstroke where you don't want it, do you throw the painting out and start again or do you see where this new look might take you? If you plan to exercise four days a week and only manage two days do you decide to stop it altogether? If you are staying away from gluten or dairy (or both) to help your health issues and some manages to creep in, do you keep on eating it and think that you just can't do this so why bother? If you have decided to quit sugar for 8 weeks, do you stop trying altogether if you eat some sugar one day?

No. And instead of binging and beating yourself up for it, tell yourself that your goal of One Pointedness is all that matters. That you are human and are willing to learn from your mistakes and triggers. All that matters is staying on track as much as you can and always starting again and again if you have to. Most of all, allow your human-ness. It's gotten you this far and you can't help it if you are becoming more aware of what is good for you and what isn't! You are going to congratulate yourself on your constancy and aim of effort in between your mistakes.

And most of all, don't just quit sugar for 8 weeks, don't just eat clean for 30 days. Make these your life goals and enjoy the freedom of One Pointedness because if you are reading this blog, then you are HUMAN and there is nothing you can do about that.

Except perhaps give yourself a break by ditching the All or Nothing mindset and embrace One Pointedness 🙂

Do you relate to this? Will this mindset be of help to you?

 

With so much love and understanding,

 

Alisha x


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