The High Esteem Podcast

Stop your "All or Nothing" BS

December 01, 2020 Sarah Erwin: High Esteem Coaching Season 1 Episode 2
The High Esteem Podcast
Stop your "All or Nothing" BS
Show Notes Transcript

Are you tired of falling so far off track with your goals that you can no longer see the track anymore? Are you sick of the cycle of negative self-talk and shame that leads you...well, nowhere? Well, you're not alone. In this episode, we talk about how to built self-compassion and forgiveness right into your goals so that the track just ain't so slippery. It's a kinder way forward, and one that's more sustainable and wholehearted. Who's with me?


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Welcome back, everyone. Welcome to episode 2 of The High Esteem Podcast!

 I'm excited to be back here, and today I wanted to talk about something that bothers me so much in every motivation industry and that I believe holds a lot of people back and contributes to their patterns of self-sabotage... and that is all or nothing thinking and having an all or nothing mind-set when it comes towards any kind of goal or any kind of transformation that you're trying to make

And really all or nothing thinking is so well-intentioned because it comes from this idea that we want to have lofty goals for ourselves because on some level we want to live a really great life. We want good things for ourselves, right? So the start of setting lofty goals, the place that it comes from, I get it. And it's really genuine a lot of the time, but I often see it having the reverse effect.


So when we're setting goals that are so big that to approach it every day, we're intimidated and we get nervous, or we're not sure how it's going to happen. Part of the yes, is of course, working on our mind-set and working on our belief in ourselves and our ability to accomplish that thing. Part of it is just making sure that we set realistic goals. But the other piece is looking at what we do to get in our own way and full proofing the system for ourselves. Because if you are someone who has, for instance, never meditated in your life and you find it really intimidating when you meditate, you don't feel like you're doing it properly. And you're sitting down to do even say your initial goal is a half an hour a day, but that half hour to you feels like running 5k to someone who never runs, then you would be a lot more hesitant to approach it.


So I really want you to look at the last time you've done this because you're going along, you have this goal say as meditation or say, it's running and you say, I am going to do X, Y, Z meditates or run, or do both for let's say one month, every morning before I start work. And you're running along, you're running along, you're running along day three you're a little bit tired. You don't do it. Then the rest of the day, you start saying things to yourself like, Oh, I'm a piece of. I didn't get that done. I should have done it. It's all over. I knew I could never accomplish my goals. And that's where it becomes a really big problem because often we use these things to self-sabotage in a way that feeds this self-concept that we already had that part of our self that doesn't believe in ourselves as strongly as we would like to. Those parts of ourselves where we feel small and we feel inadequate.

We feed those parts, not just because we fail to do what we said we were going to do, but the way that we talk about to ourselves afterwards and the way we give into it, what happens then the next thing is most of us give up or we give up for a few weeks and start again with another lofty goal. And what the goal is, isn't the subject of this? This is the approach around it that we often take where if it is not what we wanted it to be originally, then it's worthless. When really, if you're exercising at all, isn't that better than not exercising. And isn't if you only have time to do a five minute meditation that night, isn't that better than not meditating.


Is it possible that you still get benefits from doing that thing even if it is not in the correct timeframe or the exact way that you would have liked? Spoiler alert, the answer is yes. I really believe strongly that yes we should. When we have time act anyway, in any small way that will work, what can we do to get ourselves back on track? And maybe that doesn't mean getting back on track right that night, but maybe that is developing a plan for ourselves that we can get back on track tomorrow and working through what is coming up for us that is holding us back from doing that to begin with. What are we saying to ourselves? Why are we saying that? And what approach we want to take going forward, maybe for some people it will be stopping to evaluate that goal. Maybe we set a goal that was a little bit too long and we realized going through that we don't have, as long as we said, we would exercise for and meditate for that.


That's not working for us right now, or that it's too intimidating, whatever it might be. That's an opportunity to revise guys. It doesn't mean that you failed. It just means that you got more information. You collected more data on whether or not that particular thing would work for you and how we've learned more information about that goal and how it relates to us in our own habits. I'm not saying to just automatically assume that this wasn't the right goal for you and you can't do it. What I am saying is we collected more data on what might not work or might need some tweaking and tweaking it in order to fit, not just our lifestyle, but also our mind-set. So take a pen and paper, if you have fallen off track, okay. Everyone just do it with me right now and of course I can't see you.


So if you're not doing it, that’s fine, but makes a mental note. And what I want you to do is think about what is coming up for you on those days where you fall through with your goals, on the days where you miss your workout on the days where you miss a thing that was going to move the needle forward, okay. Is it that you run out of time? Is it that you get really stressed out about all the things that you have to do and you suddenly go, Oh, I don't have time, so you see the difference there? There's running out of time where it's really late and you never got around to doing that thing or there's stress and the stress of other things, keeping you from doing that thing, working towards your goal. That also allows you to question, where is this thing on the scale of importance with all of my other obligations and all of the other things that have to get done.


And see where that is, because if it's not your number one priority, I'm not going to be that motivational coach that says you need to find a way to make it your priority. Absolutely true that we need to prioritize the things that we care about the things that are important to us. But realistically, that's a very privileged perspective too and I don't know what your work day looks like. And I don't know what your life looks like, and I don't know what you're going home to. So no, I'm not going to see that, but I'm going to say, what will make that easier for you to approach in your own life? Do you need to make the goal a smaller timeframe, but split it into two times a day, right? So maybe that meditation that was a half an hour becomes 15 minutes in the morning or 15 minutes at night.


Maybe those 15 minutes a day becomes five minutes in the morning, five minutes on your lunch break and five minutes before you go to bed. Maybe your exercise plan of a half hour workout every day becomes two 15 minute segments, or two 10 minute segments, because you don't have that n-interrupted time. Or you don't know what you're coming home to every day and you have to put it off sometimes. It's okay if you have to put something off and its okay, if you have to squeeze it in, in a way that works for you, because what will determine whether you are able to work towards transformation or change is your ability to develop new habits. Habits aren't a timer increment. No one says is only a habit if you do it for five minutes a day. If you have heard that before, tell me where, because I really don't know where, or if that person would be credible. There is of course, a lot of science and a lot of studies around how long you have to do something before it becomes a habit.


I am not a habit expert, but what I do know is that habits come with consistency and the habit is the act of doing the thing. Okay, that's all the habit is the act of doing the thing repetitively that will bring you closer towards your eventual goal. So my partner and I actually successfully just accomplished fitness. What will I call it? Not contests, it's just the two of us. We're not competing. We started a fitness challenge for ourselves that was not with an all or nothing mind-set. I had noticed that she often would have these really, really big challenges with her best friend. And they would make these spreadsheets and they put in the meal plans and they got really excited about it and they both lasted maybe a week. But the problem was that all of these challenges were so extreme and they didn't leave room for flexibility or for things like cheat days or when life got abnormally busy or their current mind-set.


And they didn't help establish habits in a way that was slow and progressive and allowed you to see the benefits over time without it being too intimidating. And so we sat down and we talked about it because I was of the opposite mind-set where I've been so scared of diet, culture, and fitness culture that I didn't want to approach things in any sort of extreme. And we came up with a happy medium, and that was October size. Now October size guys were just a spreadsheet and a challenge for us to exercise for a half an hour every single day. And now that didn't have to be anything extreme, it could be anything that we liked that we could do easily that made us feel good. And the idea was that we're doing it every single day and that the next month we would up it, we would add more rules once that habit was developing.


And so that could be as easy as a walk and we built in forgiveness, and this was the best part because we said, okay, what happens when we fail? What happens when we fail at that day? How do we keep ourselves back on track? And it was literally just so we could make it up and we could back count. So if we did an extra half an hour another day, we could back out that day. And some of you who are into big lofty goals really might like not like this, but for us, because of that intimidation factor and because of that mind-set of, Oh, well, it's all over that we knew we had the tendency to get into, we decided to counter the all or nothing thinking by building forgiveness into the plan. To me, this was revolutionary because I developed that habit of walking a half an hour every day or not always walking.


Sometimes we went rock climbing and sometimes we went on a hike and sometimes I didn't exercise at home, but I learned to expect that in my day and see the benefits and really like it. And it was forgiving enough that it didn't make me resent it and it didn't intimidate me. And that folks kept me going because I hate resenting something that I'm doing. And it gave me time to feel out what worked for me and what didn't and she revises and an opportunity to revise as I went, and then we didn't leave it there. Of course, we took it from there and did November size where three of those days a week have to be some sort of more intense exercise. So it could be a hit workout. It could be rock climbing. It could be us going on a longer hike. So it could have to be an hour or more of a low key exercise like going for a walk.


And then it had, or it had to be more intensive. We kept it at a half an hour. And guys I've done five days a week, pretty much this entire month of some sort of more intense exercise. I've been doing my own hit workouts. We're rock climbing three days a week, and nothing has worked for me, the swell. And to me that just as close to my argument against all or nothing thinking, because when you build forgiveness into the plan, you're not setting yourself up to not fail, but you're not setting yourself up to treat yourself poorly and knock yourself further off track because that's what we do when we fail and see it as a failure and not as more information that we can work with and edit and adapt to our lifestyles. When we admit failure, we beat ourselves further off the track until we no longer see the track anymore.


We don't care about the track. We don't think the track is worth it. Hell we don't think we are worth the track. And then we walk away and then we eat that bag of Cheez-Its or cookies or drink that wine that we told ourselves we wouldn't drink or whatever it is that is literally the opposite of your habit. And then we beat ourselves up for that too. And so begins that cycle again of negative self-talk and self-sabotage. And I wanted to talk about this because it feeds into negative self-esteem and poor confidence. The way we set our goals, the way we act when we don't meet them, those things, they feed that cycle so much because if you don't think you're worth your goals, what does that say? And if you talk poorly to yourself, when you, when you don't meet them, you're going to feel poorly, right?


And when we do meet our goals and we try new things and we see small successes every day, and when we track those successes and I will get into that in another podcast episode, in more detail, we feel good about ourselves. We cultivate confidence by maintaining that trust with ourselves and building that trust that we can do new things and we can see progress and we got over them. And we did things that we did not think that we could do, but it can happen slowly and often it does happen slowly. But if we set goals that are so lofty for ourselves, that don't factor in our intimidation, our mind-set, where we are in our habits, what habits of self-sabotage we have and what patterns we fall into when we're doing these challenges to begin with. And when we have attempted to meet difficult goals in the past, if we don't factor those in and build in and fool proof it for ourselves, then we set ourselves up to betray that trust in ourselves.


And when we betray that trust in ourselves, then we don't trust ourselves to try new things. And then we don't feel more confident and then we don't get where we want to be. And it's so painful to watch ambitious people who are working so hard fall so far off track so quickly, just because they didn't set a goal for themselves in a compassionate and forgiving and realistic way. And sometimes it really is about getting conscious of this and being intentional. How are you going to work forgiveness and self-compassion into your action plan to move forward in some way that is really important to you? How are you going to build that in? And then we can talk about goal setting because we are all going to have days where we struggle and where it's harder. And most of us do have days where we fall off track, but are you someone who wants to accept a life where every time you fall off track, you walk away from it, or do you want to learn how to climb back on? And I'm going to leave you with that question.


All right, everyone. That's it for today, but if you liked this episode, don't forget to hit subscribe so that you don't miss future episodes, and then go ahead and leave me a review because of course it really helps me in my podcast out. 


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