How to eliminate all-or-nothing thinking?

Having an all or nothing mindset shows up in many instances like doing a certain task or nothing at all. Either you workout or not work out at all. You eat a packet of chips or nothing at all. You create a video or nothing at all. We love all or nothing thinking because there is no ambiguity. We do not like to stay in resistance. 

You see, the concept of an all-or-nothing mindset exerts from a belief. A belief that effort is marked as inadequacy. For instance, if you put an effort to study more for your exams you mean it as having the lack. We are praised for talents rather than praised for the effort, therefore, putting effort into something means you lack talent. However, people with a growth mindset do not mind putting effort.

Having all-or-nothing thinking is also more like you starting something (like eating healthy, working out, etc ) at the very beginning of a week and you somehow mess it up in the middle, you would want to start over only from the next week. If you have experienced that you start something from the middle, you feel like not putting an effort into it just because you feel like you’ve lost the track.  So, instead, you feel like quitting and starting over again.  However, the situation may vary, there might be chances that you would take more time to start over only because it’s more crippling to think about the time and energy needed to start over. Instead, you remain in this vicious cycle of starting-but-not- yet-finished loop. 

You see, having an all-or-nothing mindset is one of the traits of a perfectionist. We start things but we do not finish things. If we ruined the perfect routine, we are too vulnerable to put an effort because it wouldn’t create the same result. Like: I had this all-or-nothing mindset regarding my fitness journey. I had this steady consistency in my workout routine. However, I missed a few weeks due to travel. This created a situation to put off my workout. You know when you have been out of that streaks and you are not willing to get back into your routine. Just because you have missed those streaks. 

Also, a similar example can be put into your work. If you have a deadline for a report to finish and you get caught up in meetings mostly. Instead of dwelling on the time spent on meetings, you could utilize the remaining time on your report. What all or nothing mindset does is it simply chooses to skip the opportunity if it doesn’t serve you to at it’s best. So, in this case, if there is no full time for the report, then the chunks of time don’t work. This is totally untrue. 

Also, the language we speak brings that all-or-nothing tendency within ourselves. Like: we create this black and white opinion on our actions. For example: when we eat healthily, you’d say you had a good day and on the contrary, if you eat something you didn’t plan, you mark your day as crap. There are various words we use that put out our all-or-nothing mindset such as consistent or inconsistent, all of the time or non of the time, good or bad, always or never, etc.

The all-or-nothing mindset leaves to disallow us to do things fully. We do it half done because we have this fear that if we do it fully we might disappoint ourselves. Also, when you miss in the middle, we often consider that we are inconsistent. Actually, the definition of consistency needs to be there. Our brain tries to match our world with our current beliefs. It tries to eliminate that it feels like off the line. 

Also, the way you talk to yourself matters.  If you keep on telling yourself, ‘ I’m not the kind of person who starts from the middle.’ You are making that belief into reality. 

That’s all for today.

Let me what is your take on this. Is your all-or-nothing mindset holding you back?

Hope you have a great time ahead!

Love, 

Ariena

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