The all-or-nothing attitude

I Spend More Time Procrastinating Than Doing Useful Things

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Let’s chat in this blog post about my all-or-nothing attitude.

I want to do at least 1.5 hours of yoga practice every morning. If I do this, it sets me up for the day in a brilliant way. But if I don’t, I do find that something’s missing. 

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but I feel like something’s wrong all day. A niggling feeling that occupies me all day and bothers me, like a stone in your shoe.

You would think that if a 1.5-hour yoga practice can make such a difference in my day, then I would do it every day without fail. Oh, if only. I wanted to speak in this blog post about why I don’t manage to do this practice every single day and what I have been trying to do to fix this problem. 

This All-Or-Nothing Attitude Kills My Motivation in So Many Ways

I have realized that one reason why I don’t manage to do my practice every single day is that I have a problem with doing things halfway or half-assed. The perfectionist in me wants to do things perfectly or not at all. 

Well, it sounds like one of those non-problems, right? It’s not really. 

I would like to do so many things, even badly. But my perfectionist attitude sits there with a stick stuck up its ass and says, “No,” every time I try to do anything at all. 

For example, a friend of mine recently invited me to a day club. I was all prepared to go and I was searching for my swimsuit when I realized that I couldn’t find my swimsuit. Not only that, but I hadn’t gotten a bikini wax done in a while and I couldn’t in good conscience show myself in public. 

It was a great day to be out at a pool with good friends and this one was right next to a waterfall, so even more decadent. Instead of going, I declined. 

As I was sitting at a beautiful cafe later (not too much of a downgrade) sipping on my ginger tea, I realized that my all-or-nothing attitude had hit me yet again. It was so sneaky about it, too.

You, Will, Come Up with Great Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do the Thing

The problem is that people who have this perfectionist tendency (people like me who are INFJs, have ADHD and autism, are Virgos, are the worst category, TBH) don’t realize they are doing it. We are so smart and able to come up with such great excuses and reasons for why we shouldn’t do the thing we want to do or are thinking about doing. 

And the reasons sound so plausible, that our brains are thinking, well, yeah, of course, I shouldn’t do that thing. 

But the problem is that the reasons are bullshit and so is your all-or-nothing attitude. This is why:

  1. The circumstances will never be perfect! Ever! So you are always going to be waiting for that one perfect day in the future. You will wait forever and it will never arrive. 
  2. Also, you are never going to get better at this task or thing if you never practice at it. The thing is we don’t do something because we are ashamed that we aren’t good enough at it, but we never practice it due to this fear. And this means that we never get better. We are always stuck in beginner mode, imperfect, and unable to move forward. 
  3. You are going to miss out on so many things because you are waiting for that perfect moment. I missed out on a great day out with friends, due to my all-or-nothing attitude. I could have just gone out and said the hell with it (I would never say this in real life, but I wish I could). 

My Solution to This All-Or-Nothing Attitude

The funny thing is that even writing this blog post, I was sitting there, contemplating, wondering, and making up excuses why I shouldn’t write this post. These are the reasons I came up with:

  • Only blog posts which are longer than 2000 words do well online (Not completely true, but I have made up this rule in my head and I’m running with it)
  • I don’t have time to write a 2000-word blog post (or the motivation to write one, as I write all day long for work)
  • If I can’t write a 2000-word blog post, then there’s no point in writing a blog post at all

As you can see, this sounds so logical and brilliant. Yes, of course, you must be thinking. You are right.

The problem is that with this attitude, I NEVER end up writing a blog post. Because I am never in that perfect mood to write a 2000-word blog post and I can never think of enough ideas for it. 

Ironically enough, once I sit down to write a blog post, I usually end up writing a 1500 word without even thinking too much about it. And that’s a BILLION times better than no post at all. 

So that’s been my solution to this all-or-nothing damn-attitude that I have. I decided that I would do a small portion of what I wanted to do every single time.

If I want to do a 1.5-hour yoga practice every day, I will do at least 15 minutes. If I want to write a 2000-word blog post, I will write a 500-one and be happy with it.

The Idea Here Is to Get You Motivated and Started

As you can imagine, the problem with a lot of perfectionist people like me is that we never get started. We postpone and postpone. We procrastinate until the cows come home. 

And that means that either we miss out on a lot of stuff, but we also end up being behind in a lot of ways. 

If I just write a 500-word blog post every week, instead of no post at all, I’m much further ahead. 

If I do a 15-minute yoga practice every day, I’m much further ahead than if I did no practice at all.

As you can imagine, once I get started, once I get over that little hurdle of not wanting to write or practice, once I get over it, I am in the zone. Before I know it, I have finished an hour-long practice or written a 1500 blog post with no problem. 

The most effortful bit is the starting. And most people just don’t conquer that first bit, so we end up waiting for that someday where we are going to accomplish all of our tasks. Someday. Somewhere. 

This Is Similar to the Mini Habits Idea

If you have read the book Mini Habits, you know that I’m espousing a similar idea here. But I am doing it to quell or beat this all-or-nothing attitude that plagues me and many other ADHDers or other neurodivergent folks. 

Start small. Don’t go big. Do a little bit and be happy. 

There’s no need to shoot for the stars, enough to shoot for a little bit above your head. It’s all about lowering your goal post so you can climb or jump over it.

It’s so easy to build up and hype our goals so they are almost impossible to reach. Then we sit there staring at them thinking, I’m never going to get there, so why bother? 

The ironic thing is that we are the ones who set those goals up in the first place. So we can change them!!! 

Read that sentence again – you are the one who set up that impossible goal, so you can change it. 

There’s no one sitting there, telling me that I need to practice 1.5 hours a day or write a 2000 blog post. I made up those rules myself. And I enforce them myself. 

So I am free to change them as I wish, right? 

Too many of us forget that we have that option. I hope this blog post helps you beat your all-or-nothing attitude a little bit. Even a bit of change here can transform your life completely.

(P..S. This post is 1368 words long and I am still feeling that niggle inside of me that says it should be 2000 words, throw the post out, there’s no point writing a blog post that’s only 1368 words long!! Baby steps, I guess. :S) 

Boom Shikha

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Boom Shikha

Boom Shikha

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Boom Shikha is a wanderluster, yogi, and spiritual being hoping to use her talents as a communicator and an INFJ to bring peace and purpose to more people of this world. Read More

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