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  • Writer's pictureTed Bradshaw

Something to think about, something to do

Whether it is health behaviours like eating “healthily” or exercising, or productivity goals like no phone, no trash TV, or reading useful books every day, sometimes we can fall into the trap of “all or nothing” thinking, like:


I am either being completely “healthy” or I am not. If I have one biscuit, the week is ruined.


I was aiming to go to the gym every day and I have missed it this morning, so I’m off the wagon again.


I was going to read every day this week, but I was too tired today, so it’s all a write off.


This can have two major effects:


I give up once I make one error.


I get very annoyed and frustrated with myself, perhaps making my mood sink.


All or nothing thinking sometimes comes from an urge to get going quickly, but when we are in that mindset, sometimes we set ourselves unfair or unrealistic targets that we were always going to fail almost immediately, or that are not sustainable over a long period of time. Then, we can get so frustrated with ourselves that it makes it even more likely that we will set harsh targets again, almost as punishment.


If this is a cycle you recognise, a way out of this is actually to practice setting targets that are more flexible and practice purposefully not being “perfect.”


I will eat more consciously and “healthily” this week, but that will include at least one biscuit every day.


I will aim to go to the gym at least twice this week, and if I go more than that it’s a bonus.


I haven’t been reading much at all, so this week I will aim to read for 10 minutes on a couple of evenings. That’s a step in the right direction and if I do end up doing more, then great.


Something to think about 


Sometimes setting our expectations too high actually prevents us from making gradual progress. If you were going to readjust your expectations for something this week, what would it be?


Something to do


Test out what it feels like to approach things with a “one thing a little bit better” mentality rather than an “I must get this completely right” mentality.


Thanks for reading! Until next week,




P.S. If it is going to be a biscuit or two, it's got to be custard creams for me.


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