To Work or Not to Work

Jeremy Sharp, PhDmindfulness 3 Comments

Hello and Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that the holidays were a time to relax, rejuvenate, and connect with those close to you.

It’s now been just over two months since my last post. You’d think that two months would be plenty of time to think of a few blog posts, but the truth is that I’ve slipped a bit. I think it’s due mostly to putting energy into my clinical work; my practice has grown rapidly, leaving me with much less time for writing. As I reflect on my work, I’m recognizing that I’ve fallen into a typical trap: the “all or nothing” game.

You’ve probably heard of “all or nothing” or “black and white” thinking. Choices fall into one of two categories that often represent opposite ends of a continuum. Around this time of year, these could be dieting vs. not dieting, drinking vs. being on the wagon, exercising seven days a week vs. not exercising at all. The choices are usually based on fear as well: “If I don’t exercise every day, I’ll never get in shape.” For me, it’s been a case of “If I don’t work as many hours as humanly possible, my practice will surely shut down and fail,” or “If I don’t accept every new client that calls, I run the risk of never getting another new client in the future.”

Logical, right?

This trap inevitably sets us up for failure. In getting caught up in the extremes, we miss out on all the benefits and achievements along the way. I have a strong “Something is Better Than Nothing” policy that just happens to be supported by research 🙂 So…walking 10 minutes three times a week, even though it may not meet your goal of working out for an hour each day, is definitely better than not walking at all. Too often we get tricked into thinking that if we don’t reach our ultimate goal then we haven’t achieved anything at all, when in fact there’s much to be gained from appreciating the small successes along the way. As for the fear that goes along with all or nothing thinking, it is impossible to move backward when you’re at least taking small steps forward. For me, it’s been a matter of coming to grips with my own fear of not succeeding and adjusting my work schedule accordingly. And voila! I’ve found more time for blog posts again 🙂

I wish all of you the best in the upcoming year!

Comments 3

  1. Glad I took the time to revisit the site after quite an absence. This was a refreshing read. I’ve battled with, “well, if I don’t have time to run XX minutes, I might as well wait until tomorrow.” Terrible idea. Something is better than nothing will be my words to live by for the 2nd half of 2011.

    1. Post

      Thanks, Brian. I needed a reminder myself – in my case, it was to start blogging again. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in all or nothing or perfectionistic thinking and just not do anything. Here’s to both of us getting better!

  2. Pingback: “How To Land Your Kid in Therapy” | Talk Therapy

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