….By Relentlessly Focusing On What You CAN Control
A very common issue we see with members of the PEERtrainer community is “all or nothing” thinking and behavior. Often, these are people who know all about healthy
eating and what they “should” be doing, but who find themselves feeling or getting
“totally out of control.”
I was just reading a survey of someone who just finished the first week of PoNR,
“I am a physician, so I know what I “should” be doing, but my thinking and years of bad habits are preventing me from reaching my goals.”
Another person wrote:
“Historically, I’ve either been “good” and in control, or totally out of control.”
Someone else wrote:
“Usually I am very all or nothing.”
When it comes to getting back in control, you can minimize the damage by consuming
a diet that is VERY high in green vegetables.
But to get to the root of this problem, you might want to make one adjustment, and it can be relatively simple. If you bring daily focus to this simple adjustment,
you will be surprised at your increased ability to make better decisions.
The Adjustment That Is Likely To Help You:
You must focus on the circle of influence versus the circle of concern.
What do I mean by this?
You must focus on what you can control versuswhat you cannot control.
When you try to change everything, you get overwhelmed because
your mind actually is an amazing problem solver. Your capable mind, the
thing that solves problems and takes care of things every single day
tries to solve all the problems, including the ones that it has NO
You cannot control the fact that your mother is sick. You cannot
control the fact that your dad didn’t treat you the way you wanted to be
treated. You cannot control the fact that you have not made the right
choices to lose the weight you’ve wanted to lose over the last year, 5
years, maybe even the last decade.
Your brain cannot distinguish between problems you can
control and problems you can’t control.
Because your brain is solving problems every day, it tries to solve the situations you can’t control as well. Your brain troubleshoots every combination to solve the problem and doesn’t stop and it becomes completely exhausted.
It’s very similar to the scene in the movie “War Games.” In the movie, the WOPR, (a United States Military Supercomputer) is programmed to predict the possible outcomes in a potential nuclear war.
There is a scene where the World Computer begins to take over and tries every
mathematical combination to see what it could do to actually win World War III. If the computer successfully figures out the scenario, the missles will be fired and the war will begin.
The computer tries with the US firing first. Each country retaliates in
response and the no one wins. Every country is decimated. The computer
starts with Russia. Same thing happens. The computer keeps trying and
trying and after finally realizing that there was no way of winning, the
computer short circuts and explodes.
You are similar to that computer when you ruminate over a problem that you can’t control. You try every combination with thoughts of “if only I had done this! If only I had gone to the gym instead of sitting on the couch every day.”
Your brain repeats these thoughts and past scenarios over and over and your brain short circuts!
After you are overwhelmed and exhausted trying to solve a problem you can’t control,
you invariably feel defeated and think there is nothing I can do. The attempt to solve all leads to the thinking that you can solve nothing.
The number one thing you do to STOP all or nothing thinking is to pick a situation or problem you can control.
You can control the next thought you have. You can stop feeling bad
about your situation right now and think, ok, what is ONE thing I like
that is good in my life?
You can control the way you treat people. When you feel yourself
annoyed or ready to lash out, you can dig deep inside and realize that
this behavior is not about you.
Remember Josh’s article, ‘What You Think Of Me Is None Of My Business?” You can see them as someone who “knows not what they do.”
You can instantly feel compassion and even maybe change the entire situation. If you find yourself thinking, “oh, they know what they do”, challenge that
assumption! Put yourself in their shoes for just a teeny second. Are they dealing
with things that you are not?
You can control the next thing you put in your mouth. You can choose an
amazing combination of salad with your favorite artichoke hearts and
freshly squeezed lemon and basil dressing. It is your choice.
You can continue to eat garbage or you can actually put it in the garbage. Who
cares if it’s the chocolate your dear friend gave you for Christmas?
You can make the very next choice one that nourishes your body and your
spirit and makes you want to jump up and sing.
You can put on your really comfy running shoes and go out for a 5 minute
walk and listen to the birds.
You can break out in a run and be grateful for your amazing body that can serve
you with energy and movement in an instant.
I want you to pick one thing you can control and focus on only what you CAN control.
This helps you break down the all or nothing thinking and helps you realize, ok, I can control this one thing. You will get some confidence about changing a situation and your brain says, “Ok, I did something about that. I can do something about this!”
As you build one win on top of another, by focusing on the things you
can control, your thinking becomes reprogrammed and instead of thinking
in black or white, it begins to think in the shades of gray.
You begin to understand by focusing on the things you can control, you
can win one step at a time.
PS: PLEASE share your thoughts on this article on this community thread
we just started called: How To Get In Control Of Your Eating Habits