Do you ever feel like what you’re doing is futile?
You try to give amazing care at work but the odds are stacked against you with too many patients and not enough support staff. You try to consistently eat healthy but after a 5 days streak you eat a sleeve of oreos followed by a glass of crushing regret. You want to connect with people but find yourself resentful that no one’s available and you are always the one to reach out so you decide instead to binge watch The Crown on netflix, cementing in place your lack of connection. You want to exercise but it seems like every time you go out to walk someone is throwing up, or the dishwasher is leaking, or there is an unexpected tornado warning. You think you could try weight training but where will you possibly fit that in?
You get to the end of the day and think “why do I even try, what’s the point?”
Basically, it’s the trap of All-or-Nothing thinking… and it can be very insidious. We think unless we do it all, 100% of the time, our efforts are totally futile. The problem is, we can’t just snap out of all-or-nothing thinking, we can’t just say, “it’s fine, it’s not futile” and actually believe it.
So how DO we deflate futility?
It’s as easy as asking (and answering) the question,
“what IS the value of what I'm doing?”
Yup, that’s it. The answer to that will totally deflate the futility balloon. We answer ourselves and define the value of what we are actually doing.
What IS the value to our patients when we try and give the best care possible with the tools we have? They get to experience the benefit in having someone care for them and we get the benefit of knowing that even in crappy circumstances, we can touch someone’s life. We get to know that no one else could do it better in the same situation.
What IS the value of only walking 2 days a week even if our goal is 5 days?
I get in the habit of scheduling exercise
I build up muscle and stamina even if it is at a slower pace than I hoped
I learn how to build exercise into the life I have.
2 days a week I get some time to myself
What IS the value of reaching out to other people even if they can’t connect with you?
I get to do all the things that are actually in my power to stay connected.
I get to be the person that takes the burden off my friends to get in touch.
I get to think about my friends and family.
I get to feel the compassion and love for my friends that may be struggling right now too.
What IS the value of staying on a healthy eating plan for 5 days, even if there is one day of oreos? I don’t think you actually need my help with this one, it’s pretty obvious. One day of bad eating does not negate 5 days of good eating. We know this intellectually and yet we tell ourselves we have undone all the good. This is just a sneaky way for our brain to justify more oreos (tricky, right?).
One thought that sometimes helps me is “I am practicing being the person who ___________ (fill in the blank).” For example, I am practicing being the person who eats healthy.”
Practicing implies the potential for success and is the fastest way to negate all-or-nothing thinking. We know that if we are practicing, there are times that we may not actually succeed. We know if we are practicing, that we can learn, and grow. We can fail and try again.
So the next time you ask, “what’s the point?” spend one minute and answer the question. You may surprise yourself by having the perfect response.
You don’t have to figure this out alone. I can help you get the exact answer that YOU need. Schedule a call here to find out how.