All or Nothing Thinking

Keep reading if you:

  1. Are hard on yourself
  2. Could possibly be your own worst enemy when it comes to self-talk
  3. Shoot for the stars when setting goals in all areas of your life

If one or all the above apply, then congratulations! You are human! Throwing ourselves under the bus, or calling ourselves ugly names when we don’t meet our own expectations is a vicious cycle that we can find ourselves in. Especially when we get the idea in our head that we can achieve perfection in life.

These ideals of perfection are largely a result of the unrealistic images we see posted all over social media. The fitness blogger that trains every day with a toned physique and picture-perfect food posts. Or the style blogger with perfect hair, makeup, and put together out-fits.  The model mom with beautiful children, a perfect home and flawless style.

Striving to better ourselves, set goals, and persevere to create change is one thing. However restlessly working to achieve unrealistic visions of perfection in our lives ends up propelling us down the all or nothing way of thinking.  Eventually we realize that we keep undershooting that model of perfection—causing feelings of deflation, guilt, negative self-talk, damaged self-esteem, ultimately leading to giving up.

The question is—how do we stop the all-or-nothing cycle before it starts? The answer is simple in that we need to simplify our own goals and expectations. The challenging part comes with the mind-shift needed to feel content with lowering the bar below the level of perfection. It takes practice and consistent dosages of self- reflection to set realistic goals for ourselves, adjust them as needed, but continue to challenge ourselves in a way that keeps us moving forward.

Self-reflection creates awareness around the expectations we put on ourselves and the quality of language we use on ourselves. With awareness, we are empowered to see the gaps, and create change. We are also empowered to recognized small successes and create momentum in these areas. Seeing the small things each day moves the mind from all or nothing (black or white thinking) into the grey.

Shifting our thinking, goal setting and expectations into the grey zone is the first step out of the all or nothing cycle!