The idea of “perfection”, directly associated with the “all or nothing” mentality, has been haunting me my entire life. This mentality is the most discouraging and well.. stupid, as before you even try something you give up due to the fear of failing. The result - you continue making plans and dreaming about things, but you do not do anything to bring those plans and dreams to life.
Last night, I make a plan to wake up early on Saturday morning, put a load of my laundry in, and while it’s in the washer go running in the park. As I went to bed, my usual hesitation began. “Should I go for a run? I don’t know if I will feel like it in the morning.. I’m not even a runner, I can only run for 1-2 minutes at a time anyway, is that even useful at all?”, and “I really want to go to Gratitude Cafe in the morning so I can work on my blog, what if running takes longer and I won’t make it to the cafe on time (it gets very crowded if you get there after 9AM, so it gets impossible to get a seat)?”, etc., etc.
This morning I woke up extremely early (for a Saturday anyway), which would give me enough time to do my laundry, go running, take a shower and head over to the cafe before it gets too crowded. Before I could even consider the option of opting out of my plans, I jumped out of bed and decided to just go for it. I brushed my teeth, put on my workout clothes, grabed my laundry bags and detergent, and headed out the door. On the way to the park, a few thoughts of hesitation still creeped into my mind but I brushed them off and kept going.
As I got to the park and started jogging, I could not believe that I actually did it! I followed through with my plan and I went to the park on my Saturday morning run. To be entirely honest, I could only run for about 5 minutes total (I did a warmup, 2 min running, 2 min walking, 2 min running, 2 min walking, 1 min running, 2 min walking, 1 min running, and then I pretty much died), BUT at that point all that mattered was that I did it!
Now to sum this all up, for a minute there I did start feeling like I failed. I had a plan to run/walk for 30 minutes, with half of that time consisting of running and half consisting of walking; in reality I could only run for a few minutes. So the first thoughts that I had were that this was a waste of time, this was disappointing and I should probably never do this again. But as I starting thinking about things rationally, all of a sudden I was becoming more and more proud of myself, of the fact that I fought my fears and I ended up following the plan I set for myself the night before. And that is when it hit me. The “all of nothing” mentality (in this case, running the entire time I originally planned or not running at all) is the most disabling mentality one can have. This is the thinking that makes us lazy, scared and depressed. This is the mentality where we assume we are going to fail in everything we do so we give up before we even start something.
As I was walking back from the park, I started thinking that my new approach to things should be “a little is still better than nothing.” You don’t have to push yourself to the limits just to carry out a plan, because that might result in traumatic consequences. You cannot make yourself run for 20 minutes straight from day one. Life is all about making gradual progress. Start small, build on it, improve, strive for more, but remember that everything takes time. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do something right away and do not get discouraged. Instead, keep working on it, take those baby steps, and be patient. Just make sure you differentiate between inability to do something and laziness. ‘Not feeling like doing something’ is entirely different from ‘not being able to do something.’ Take your time with the latter case, but push through the former one. And remember, you can do it; it’ll take time, but YOU CAN DO IT.
Yep, wearing a skull shirt here. But it's lace so don't judge me.