All Or Nothing

I realized as I was leaving the second grocery store this afternoon that I’m starting to fall into my typical all-or-nothing ways. I tend to get really excited about something, then I start researching the shit out of it, and within a few short days, I find myself entirely changing my lifestyle to something new. I may have talked about this before, and how this is likely the reason for my constant up and down success and failure. I never seem to be able to just stick to something because I think I take on too many things all at once, and ultimately, its not sustainable. But honestly, I just get impatient and bored easily, and when I get an idea in my head, I want to run with it and never look back.

Examples… When I became obsessed with locally-grown, organic, seasonal produce (after watching Food Inc). I nearly tossed out everything in my house that didn’t fit this standard, got my mom to sign up for a CSA program (community-supported agriculture, where local farms sell you their produce in a box, etc), refused to shop at a grocery store and only at farmers markets, started planting my own vegetables, etc etc etc. This lasted for a good few weeks, until in one way or another, it was just too much to change all at once, and we slowly slipped back into our old routine. My mom couldn’t keep up with all the produce we were getting and a lot of it would go bad, and we got into a big fight one time when I (being a brat) gave her shit for wanting to eat a banana, from Chile. Needless to say, it ended right where it began. At least I gained lots of knowledge  and I still try to use this information whenever I shop, but not to the same extreme as before.

Or maybe, for example, that time in my life when I determined that I would be the next Jimi Hendrix AND Deadmau5 and convinced my parents to buy me a guitar and turn tables and mixers for Christmas, so that I could finally achieve my musical potential. Note: I HAVE NEVER BEEN MUSICALLY GIFTED EVER. I tried piano and clarinet for years as a kid and failed miserably. So why, then, the sudden obsession with music again? I don’t know. I got it into my head, and couldn’t get it out. Sadly, this equipment is gathering dust in my parents garage.

This same thing happens to me any time I’ve tried to lose weight. Exactly 1 year ago (for my friends wedding, this very weekend last year), I weighed 118 pounds, and I’m 5’4. I had lost probably 10+ pounds in 2 months. I don’t know how I did it, honestly, because I’ve never been that skinny, but just a few weeks later, I gained 5 pounds back, then I had gained 5 more by the end of summer… and now, well I haven’t weighed myself in months, but I know I’ve gained more. I hate admitting it. Getting obsessed with an idea, like losing weight, works temporarily, but in the long term, it might actually be doing me more damage than good. Its a battle with constant success followed by supreme disappointment by what feels like enormous failure. I lose confidence in my ability to truly succeed because up until now, I really haven’t. Not long-term.

How do I deal with my attention-deficit, my impatience, and my constant need for new stimulation, without losing myself along the way? How do I make healthy, long-lasting changes… how do I get them to stick, and stick for good?

I don’t want this new-found veganism to become just another one of my ridiculous failed phases. I honestly think this could work for me, but I’m afraid I might not be going about it in the best way. Today I spent 40 of my measly 80 euros a week on groceries (that I’m not even supposed to buy, since technically my host family should provide for my food. Except I refuse to eat bacon and cheese every day, so I end up having to buy my own food and keep it in my room) at two grocery stores. I stocked up on a few of my usual staples, but I bought a few new “experimental” items, or guilty pleasures, because I was just so overcome with excitement about starting a vegan lifestyle. I don’t want to see this food, or my efforts, go to waste after a while. So how do I make this become a slow and steady life change and NOT just another one of my phases? Tips? Suggestions? I’m all ears. Lord knows I could use a real change.

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4 thoughts on “All Or Nothing

  1. May says:

    I have the same problem (especially the diet issue – I keep yo yoing up and down in a ten-pound range), and I’m also considering moving towards being vegan. I think that’s the key – I’m moving towards. I am not letting myself decide “right, from today I am a vegan! No more animal products ever!” because I know that simply will not work and then I’ll be put off trying again for ages. It’s just too scary a change to do all at once. You could try the same: gradually working into it, changing first a couple of meals a week and then a few more. Even a small reduction in the amount of dairy or number of eggs or quantity of other animal products is an improvement, and if it’s gradual it’s more likely to stick. Good luck!

    • This is very true! I just heard a similar comment from a friend, and I think this is probably the “magic key” to making a lasting change. I just get impatient, and I want to jump right into my new lifestyle ideas right away, because I’m overly excited. But I think the “slow and steady wins the race” route is probably the most likely to lead to success. I allowed myself some entirely non-vegan, non-vegetarian treats tonight, to “compensate”… to convince myself that its okay, it doesn’t have to all start today.
      Thanks for this great comment, and thanks for reading!!

  2. brickiepedia says:

    I LOVE this post! I can relate to you so much. My attention deficit is just insane. I’ll throw myself into something – becoming completely obsessed until I am just too exhausted and slowly it starts unravelling. I did the same thing when I watched Food Inc. and I’m an trying to stick to mainly vegan now after watching Forks Over Knives! Again, I would LOVE this lifestyle to stick! So any advice you get – send it my way 🙂 I think the gradual approach is great – like don’t say I will NEVER eat this stuff again because if you do happen to eat something you don’t want to be flooded with guilt over it because that is when you will give up. Too hard basket!

    • Yeah, Forks Over Knives did it for me too! Watched it a few weeks ago and I’ve been completely obsessed with veganism since then. How long have you been trying to be vegan? And would you say you’ve made the switch completely, or do you occasionally eat non-vegan food still? I’m curious to know your strategies too, and I will surely be sharing mine as well.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!!

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