In one of my social media posts schedule for next week I wrote about a common cognitive distortion called All-Or-Nothing thinking. In All-Or-Nothing thinking we get it into our heads that if something is a little bad it’s all bad, or a little good it’s all good. With this type of thinking negativity grows. We use it when we’re not doing well in an area of our life or when our self-esteem is at its lowest.
Personal goals also become victim to this kind of thinking. We slip up a bit and figure it’s “useless” and we might as well give up because we’re “never going to get to our goal anyway”.
Mindfulness to Mindlessness
I recently had an enlightening moment where I was caught up in this thinking. Last year I began a daily meditation practice. The app I use for the guided meditations has a function where it tracks your “streaks” (why a mindfulness app would do this, I don’t know but hey everyone needs to make a buck and keep customers engaged).
Well I’d had a really long streak going! I was nearing a pretty nice round number and I forgot to do my meditation one day. As a result the app reset that counter. I was so frustrated. I had the initial urge to just skip the next day too. All of these “what’s the point” thoughts began to creep in. Before I realized it I was getting caught up in this All-Or-Nothing thinking trap! Even more ironic, I was trying to achieve something for achievements sake which is the total opposite of what mindfulness is about.
It didn’t take long to course correct but the point is this kind of thinking is near automatic. We need to be on our guard. It’s not helpful and just a trap to keep us ineffective. What ways do you feel like you engage in All-Or-Nothing thinking? Has it been going on for a while? How can you begin to change that script for yourself?