Do you want to stop your all-or-nothing thinking? Today we are going to look at exactly what that is and why it holds you back from the successes that you want.
The mind is a powerful thing; it has the power to lead you to success or failure, can help ensure your health, and make you stronger than you ever thought possible.
What you believe about yourself can even dictate how you behave.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food, getting some sunshine, and purging unhelpful thinking is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life, and you want to look and feel your best while you live it.
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What Is All-or-Nothing?
Here are some statements that fit all-or-nothing thinking:
- I’m always been really bad at this.
- I am always right about these things.
- Voting is easy because I always vote for the same party
- You never do anything nice for me.
- I am a loser.
- This will turn out badly, things in my life always do.
- Oh no, X happened so I ruined my life.
If you are trying to lose weight, here are a couple of all or nothing examples of those thoughts:
- I just ate a piece of cake, I will never succeed at dieting.
- Why should I constantly deprive myself?
And a job related all or nothing thought:
- I made a mistake in this report, I can’t do this job.
Do you notice a similar theme running through all those statements?
Each of these statements are considered all-or-nothing statements.
These sweeping generalizations are called ‘selective abstractions’ and are a form of cognitive distortion with a theme of extreme position without any other possibilities.
If you find yourself using terms like these, you might be engaging in all-or-nothing type thinking
Why does all or nothing thinking occur?
There can be several reasons why you engage in all-or-nothing thinking, but one of the reasons you may engage in this type of thinking is as a defensive mechanism in certain situations.
All-or-nothing is an easy mechanism to deploy when you want to avoid getting at a particular truth.
Sometimes it’s just easier to create broad and generalized statements.
In essence, instead of doing the hard work, you take the short cut to generalized extremes.
All-or-nothing thinking as a way to “fuel emotions such as anxiety, depression, or anger.”
This type of distorted thinking could be a part of a larger mental health issue that needs to be addressed.
Psychology Today indicates that “all-or-nothing thinking is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness”.
Whatever the reasons for it, this type of consistent methodology of thinking and coping mechanics may necessitate the need for a more in-depth evaluation into this matter.
What’s the Big Deal?
What’s the harm of having an all-or-nothing mentality anyway? Maybe you want to live at the extreme ends of the spectrum?
Why is that bad?
Well, there are several reasons why having all-or-nothing thinking is not a healthy mentality to have.
It creates and either or scenario
When you have an all-or-nothing mentality, it creates scenarios that only have two options.
Every choice, every situation, every condition can only be views one of two ways.
When this is your standard operating procedure, you ultimately rob yourself of vast and unique choices that are available to you.
In the end you miss out.
Even worse, this type of thinking can create an environment in which you actually believe that you only have two choices.
This can be a devastating mindset.
Truly believing that you only have binary options available to you can be stifling to your creativity, energy, and happiness.
It defines yourself too narrowly.
When you apply the all-or-nothing thinking mentality to yourself, you begin to define who you are in very narrow categories.
You make it so that you need to fit yourself into these tight small categories. It is much like stuffing 5 pounds of stuff into a 2-pound bag. It’s not meant to fit.
You are much to complex a human being to fit into such small categories. You are not meant to cram yourself into such a small space.
Allow yourself to flourish and explore all the possibilities of who you are as a person, not just two bland options.
It’s Not Reality
Ultimately an all-or-nothing mentality does not properly reflect reality. Nearly nothing in life is constrained to the extreme of always and never or perfect and horrible.
When you live in these extremes you are creating a distorted view of reality. You are clouding your vision.
You can create a reality in which you are always walking round with a rain cloud over your head or you’re wearing the rose-colored glasses.
In either case, you are not getting the clear picture of what the world is actually like.
How What You Believe About Yourself Affects Your Life
By viewing yourself a certain way, as having a particular set of qualities or traits, or as being a good or bad person, you can change the deeply ingrained behaviors that feel second-nature to you, ones you didn’t think possible to change.
How who you think you are greatly affects your behavior, decisions, and how you treat others. Let’s explore that.
How Your Belief Affects Your Behavior
The person you believe yourself to be and the traits you believe yourself to have will seep into how you behave.
If you believe yourself to be a good person that tends to make morally good decisions, you’re likely to seize every opportunity to give of yourself in some way.
Similarly, if you believe yourself to be a bad person (or lazy or stupid), you’re likely going to make poor decisions more frequently.
You are more likely to behave how you expect yourself to behave, rather than break that mold.
We tend to fall in line with our expectations of ourselves.
These behaviors can be hard to change because changing them involves changing your view of yourself and what you believe to be true about that.
What You Believe to Be True about Yourself Affects the Decisions You Make
Believe it or not, your expectations of yourself affects the decisions you make daily.
As we said above, whether you see yourself as a good or a bad person could lead you to make good or bad decisions.
If you believe that you will make a certain decision, you’re likely going to make that decision.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already made your mind up on it before the decision was ever presented to you.
This can also cause you to be indecisive.
If what you believe to be true about yourself is leading you to make a certain decision, but your brain is warning you against it you might end up being incapable of reaching a decision at all.
If you believe that you are capable of losing weight, you will work towards that.
You will seek out ways to make that the reality of your life, seemingly without even realizing it.
However if you think you are a failure or will always be overweight, you can stay stuck for years.
Your Self Belief Affects the Way You Treat Others
The qualities and traits you believe yourself to have greatly affects how you treat those around you.
As we’ve said above, you’ll behave how you expect yourself to behave.
If you believe yourself to be a generous person, you’re going to behave more generously.
If you believe yourself to be an introvert, you’ll likely to not spend much time with others, where if you believe yourself to be an extrovert, you’ll likely spend little time with just yourself.
This can affect the way you treat others around you.
You can be more or less willing to be involved in their lives.
It can cause you to be grumpy or cranky when you’re asked to be in certain situations and can even cause you to neglect those you care about most simply because you don’t view whatever it is as “your scene.”
How to Make Changes to Your Behavior in Light of This
In light of this fact, how do you go about making changes to those ingrained behaviors?
Well first, you have to identify the problem areas or areas you’d like to change and analyze how your beliefs about yourself could be affecting them.
Next comes the hard part, actually making the changes to your behavior.
This step takes time and diligent effort. You have to work at it consciously for a while to be able to effectively change it.
Remind yourself daily that you can change the type of person you are, control the decisions you make, and thus control your destiny.
If you change what you believe about yourself, you can change these deeply ingrained behaviors and see a difference in how you behave, the decisions you make, and how you treat others.
Affirmations to help change thinking
I like to use journaling and affirmations to change my thinking.
Growing up, one of my parents had “poverty” mindset, while the other had a more “growth” mindset.
Consequently, my beliefs about money are all over the map and I have to work hard to break the poverty mindset blocks (money is hard to come by; money doesn’t grow on trees) to more of the growth mindset (I always prosper; money comes easily).
Affirmations work if you believe they will work for you
I started off by writing affirmations that I want to believe, such as “my health improves daily”.
And I also bought subliminal mp3’s with the messages that I want to believe. You can check out the Brain Sync library of cd’s/mp3’s and try the freebies on the main page.
For weight loss, the type of affirmations that are helpful are statements like:
- I only eat when I am hungry
- Everyday, my health improves
- I love my body
- My eating changes are changing my body for the better
Affirmations should be personal and how you really feel about a situation.
If you need affirmations for weight loss or body positivity, I suggest doing an internet search for multiple websites.
You should open a doc and start writing out the ones that resonate for you and how you feel about any all-or-nothing thinking that you want to change.
Keep in mind that these may change over time, as your situation changes.
If you find that you are resonating and identifying as having an all-or-nothing thinking mentality, you have just accomplished the first step.
Being able to consciously recognize that you are engaging in this type of behavior is a critical step in starting the process of change. Congrats, it won’t be long until you never engage in this behavior again!
All or nothing thinking is another negative mindset that can hold you back from achieving your dreams, and that includes weight loss.
Learning to recognize that mistakes are not final and that you can choose to just keep going is one key to success!
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Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
Eat the best food that you can afford to give your body the building blocks it needs for optimal health, longevity, and looking good for as long as possible 😉
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Until next time, here’s to our health!