We are, without doubt, an incredibly powerful species, granted the powers of creation. Unfortunately, many have not taken advantage of their creative gifts because of the demands of the mind – their self-sabotaging mind conditioning and negative thinking getting in the way.
Thoughts are things. They are the “Coming Attractions” of our future lives. They are the ingredients that fill the “pie of our creations.”
However, even thoughts that start out as positive goals, if taken to extreme measures can turn a positive situation into negative conditions. For example, “black and white thinkers” and those with perfectionistic tendencies.
Black and White Thinkers –
Black and white thinkers tend to view themselves as being either completely on track or completely off track. There is no middle ground to their extreme demands. They are either full on with an exercise program or some sort of “new” diet or they are “off” completely. Then the cycle is repeated over and over again with exactly the same “less than perfect” results.
This type of thinking is also known as “all or nothing: thinking and splits the world into one category or another. For example, a school student may say to themselves, “Either I get good marks for my exams, or I may as well drop out”. Or a sports person may say “Either I make the top team this year or I may as well stop playing”.
Those who relate to this type of thinking, set themselves up to live in a negative mind (which can lead to anxiety and depression) because life is not black and white. Life is in color, which means there are many shades of “moving forward” towards our goals. If progress continues in the right direction, even speed rarely matters.
Trying to be 100 percent all the time is not the first step towards success as some would believe.
It is the first step towards failure because no one can be perfect 100 percent all of the time! It’s unrealistic and unattainable. And, just like our negative self-talk is automated (our inner automatic negative mind-chatter), black and white thinking patterns are very much automatic as well and at times can be a real challenge to control. Unfortunately, once “black and white” thinkers fall off track, for even the smallest reason, they instantly feel like a failure and this opens the door to more negative thought patterns to take root.
Setting Goals –
Setting goals is healthy and gives us something to focus our energy on, but our goals must be realistic, and we must stay away from black and white thinking on our way to accomplishing them.
Should we catch ourselves engaged in this type of extreme thinking, we need to pause/stop and take time to self-reflect on the positives. We must focus and point out to ourselves all our accomplishments. This helps us to let go of the negatives taking place.
Additionally, when we retire at night we can perform another powerful exercise. We can write down what we did that day – all steps, no matter how small or insignificant, that moved us one step forward from where we were yesterday to where we are today. This helps to seal in a positive mindset while squeezing out a negative one.
Perfectionist Dangers –
Perfectionist tendencies are another danger and go hand in hand with black and white thinking. Those with perfectionistic tendencies hold themselves to impossibly high standards at all times. This, once again, sets the table for a negative mindset.
Why? When a perfectionist begins feeling as though they are not be 100 percent perfect at something, guess what happens? Their motivation takes a serious blow – even to the point of crushing it.
This in turn, opens the door to negative self-talk – those self-imposed negative statements to flood in full force. And, now, rather than dealing with one negative thought, a perfectionist is up against a whole army that’s working against them.
If you know that you lean towards perfectionist tendencies, one of the first steps you should take to help you avoid these tendencies is to make sure you are setting smaller goals for yourself. Those with perfectionist tendencies need to avoid setting long-term goals because they lack the patience needed to move forward towards their goal while accomplishing the many needed steps along the way. They are more likely to get frustrated if they are not reaching that long-term goal NOW. Goals for these “too-tough discipliners” needs to be something that can be accomplished in one or two weeks.
Perfectionists also have another dangerous habit. They often base their standards off someone else rather than themselves. They tend to think that all these other people they compare themselves to are perfect. The reality is, they are only viewing a partial picture. There’s no telling what might be occurring behind the “ideal body weight” they covet. Maybe it’s not as perfect as it seems. Maybe they are starving themselves and putting their health into jeopardy to get there.
Pay attention to YOU!
Look to yourself. Assess your own standards and make sure that the goals you set for yourself and work towards are realistic for you. Focus on your own reality and remember that no one in life is absolutely perfect.
Goal setting is not about creating a perfect life or about living a perfect life on our way to accomplishing them. It’s about living an imperfect life in awe and amazement. To rise every morning in gratitude, knowing that everything is extraordinary and that every day is a precious gift.
Release yourself from the demands of a perfectionist attitude and the unrealistic thoughts of “black and white thinking.”
Simply focus on taking the positive steps needed to move forward towards your goals and remember, there really are no mistakes in life. Every step is a valuable contributor. What appears to us as a mistake teaches us important lessons.
So, don’t hesitate or doubt yourself on something you are passionate about, and don’t demand perfection (it will only hold you up). Go for it. Life is about taking chances. You will either succeed or you learn something valuable from it. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Time to embrace a higher quality of life through consistent action.
It’s time to take control of your life through healthy lifestyle changes, not extreme demands.
“Wellness Wakeup Call” can help you do just that…
For more tools and resources from Carolyn Hansen to assist you in attaining your health and fitness goals please visit:
Carolyn Hansen Fitness