How to OVERCOME All or Nothing Mentality in Your Chronic Illness Journey
Not much puts a monkey wrench in new year goal planning like an all or nothing mentality.
It’s the beginning of a new year which means taking time to sit down and create new year resolutions and goals.
This is my second year setting intentions and not goals and I don’t think I’ll be looking back honestly.
The All or Nothing Mentality
Goal setting is cool. It’s almost a ritual we do every new year but it can be painful when you set a goal that resonates with your identity. And even more painful at the end of the year when you fall short.
All of nothing thinking is very common is goal setting. When you think in terms of all or nothing, you split your views of yourself or your life into two extremes.
Black or White.
Good or Bad.
Success or failure.
Healthy or Ill.
The problem is life in general is many many shades of gray.
When you adopt an all or nothing mentality to goal setting and planning, after years of the cycle of setting goals and not meeting them some people even resolve not to do any because they feel defeated.
Something always comes up and gets in the way like… an illness.
This is why I like intentions.
What is an Intention?
An intention is your guide- your compass so to speak.
It sets the tone for your goals, keeps you motivated and focused.
Your intentions are also closely aligned with your authentic self.
A Goal vs An Intent
A well crafted intention starts with your values and becomes a statement about how you want to show up in the world. They are guide posts for who you want to be and how you want to show up instead of what you want to do or accomplish.Christie inge
- Your goals are future external displays of your intentions.
- Intentions can be accomplished in the now where are goals are uncertain future events.
- Intentions are vague and simple whereas goals are more specific and strategic (SMART goals).
- Intentions are about feelings which are intangible. Goals are about tangible outcomes.
- Intentions are most constant because they are tied to who we are whereas goals tend to change as we learn and grow.
Goal: I want to ride a roller coaster and face my fear of heights.
Intention: I want to feel brave.
Why Intentions instead of Goals?
You can set as many goals as you want (and accomplish them). But unless you know the driving intention behind the goal you’re just aimless completing tasks on a to-do list.
It’s sort of like getting in the car and driving away but not having a destination in mind. Sometimes I do that when I need to clear my mind but its definitely not how I want to live my life. Or maybe its more like your mom asking you to take her to the store, she gets in the car and you start driving but she doesn’t know what store she wants to go to or where its at. You’re just riding in circles and eventually you’re frustrated.
Fight All or Nothing with Intentions
In order to overcome all or nothing mentality in our chronic illness journey, we must reprogram our minds to avoid negative absolutes in our thinking. Setting intentions allows for the flexibility we need to be human- humans with illnesses.
I’ve mentioned Byron Katie before and her ideology that builds techniques to question limiting beliefs. Essentially, when we are having these intrusive thoughts you have to ask yourself do you know for 100% that it is absolutely true.
Here are a few other tips for fighting the all or nothing mentality.
- Recognize your strengths and your progressions
- Understand that no journey especially healing is not linear and setbacks happen.
- Anchor yourself by finding the positive in your current situation through a daily gratitude, affirmation or joy practice.
Dont do this
- Focus on the “faults or failures”
- Dwell in self defeating thoughts or language
- Use absolute language like never or nothing
How to Set an Intention for Yourself and Your journey
Since intentions are more intrinsic, it’s going to require a bit of soul searching and self reflection to figure out a good intention to set for yourself.
Take some time out and listen to your inner voice. What’s screaming out at you for attention?
Ask yourself these questions:
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
How do I want to feel?
What do I need?
What do I want?
It may seem like these are open ended and too vague but if you tune in, the answer will be clear.