Often when we set out on a journey towards change, we want to jump ALL the way in and create a complete overhaul. When we decide we want change, we want that change NOW! However, this complete overhaul approach is not the most effective method of change—especially for the long-term.
When you attempt to jump ALL in, it can lead to feelings of frustration and failure if you are not able to maintain the momentum that is initially available. Trying to be perfect and creating lifestyle extremes in order to generate the change you’d like will only set you up for the other end of ALL in—nothing…
For many of us, especially when related to health and wellness, when we make a decision to change, we often want everything to be perfect. This desire has been created by the dieting industry lies and social media influencers who seem to do it ALL, have it ALL and manage it ALL so well that makes us feel that we need to exert extreme external control over our choices. The dieting, food and fitness industry wants us to believe that we have to be ALL IN with their particular theory in order to receive the desired outcome, be it weight loss, lower blood pressure, or anything else.
This simply is not true and is most definitely not sustainable. While yes, absolutely, being committed to your ultimate desired outcome is super important, however, being committed to your health does not mean you have to be rigid or take the ALL route to extreme measures. In fact, the rigidity and need to perfect only feeds into stress and fear and can cause an opposite response than desired when it comes to being/feeling/living more healthfully. Another problem with the all or nothing stance is that life will inevitably throw us challenges, there will inevitably be setbacks along the way towards change. When you can view a setback as simply that—a temporary setback—rather than as a failure, you will be FAR more likely to stick with it. This surely is better than falling into the nothing extreme.
One of the most effective ways to shift from an all or nothing mentality is to look at your ultimate goal and then break-it-down. Begin by identifying your specific goal. Then assess the specific steps you will need to take to meet your goal. Identify one of the steps you can take and then cut it in half—and maybe even in half again. You want your action steps to be doable within your current life.
With this process your progress may not be immediate but it will definitely be doable and manageable within your life. If your action step is doable it will be sustainable and will not feel overwhelming. If your action step keeps you stuck in an expectation of being ALL in ALL the time (perfectionism-yikes) and when you no longer can sustain it (and therefore don’t achieve it perfectly) you will fall back into the camp of nothing.
The trick is making consistent progress and not stressing about the final desired outcome. The trick is to break it down and make it SO doable that you do not feel at all overwhelmed or like a failure if it is not perfect. When you set yourself up with too much too quickly it is not likely that you will continue once you have a curve ball thrown into your life or that your motivation will keep up with level of intensity needed to so quickly attain your desired outcome.
The middle road is always the most sustainable. The middle road is always the most realistic and manageable—and this goes for all change. Evaluate your current goals and recognize where you may be able to make some adjustments in order to fine tune your focus, your action steps and create a rhythm of change that fits seamlessly into your life. When you do this and then take action consistently, change WILL occur, progress WILL be made, and you will find that you will meet your goals over and over again.