[Discussion] After struggling with the nothing end of an all or nothing mindset for years, I’m finally coming to terms with the reality small steps
So this whole journey started back when I made an ill fated post to this sub years ago. "So I'm going to change my life tomorrow", here if you're curious. It got to the top of the subreddit and garnered dozens of responses, and the outpouring of support for something that felt like a cry in desperation was amazing. It felt like it was enough to push me over a precipice, that I was turning a new page. Nevermind that half of the responses were telling me to be less rash. Of course.. I fell on my face within a few days. I fell face first into a big bog filled with shame and resentment and self hatred and disappointment. I stayed there for years.
I was just coming off of some pretty shite years when I made that post. I dropped out of high school and moved back to my dads/grammas when I was 17(was living with another relative). I literally just smoked weed and played Xbox for the next 4 years. No friends, no other activities, no nothing. I didn't realize I was pissing prime years away. I do not remember spending them. I just woke up and realized they were gone. I was not a functional person and I had very few aspects of a typical life. A lot of compounded factors of isolation and drug abuse that led to it being tough to even, say, go out the door to get the mail. Suddenly realizing the utter nothingness in my life fostered a lot of ambition. I wanted to be on the path to make those ambitions a reality. Having a life that isn't even functional and wanting so much is a large disparity. And it has torn me apart just about every day since I made that post.
I almost got angry at the people that suggested I take small steps. As if they were insulting my resolve; it just emboldened my decision to make some drastic unrealistic set of instant changes. And that's an issue that was always on my mind but that I was never actually able to take a step back on. I felt like I had so much time lost and so much to make up. I have to prove something to not only myself but the world. I have to do this by tossing aside my comfort and readily accepting these brutal changes; these changes are nothing in the face of the pain of not being on my path.
It paints an obviously false binary solution, but I was so so set on it. I was set on rectifying all that wasted time by punishing myself for it. But I was also set on another misled aspect of it all. That making small changes meant there was a small ceiling of improvement. I think that is justified in a sense. I think that a lot of people set on making small changes are looking to do just that. There is nothing wrong with that; positive, sustainable changes are fantastic and nothing to be downplayed no matter of some larger scope. But here I am trying to restructure my life from the ground up and it felt like the only thing people can say is to switch diet soda. I feel like it's something cocky to say but I know I want to achieve more than the average person does. Not about better or worse, they are just different choices of lifestyle. Sometimes I wish I could relax without feeling like a piece of shit for it.
To me that's one aspect of ambition that has been important to me that I never hear about. For me, ambition isn't in the same category as motivation; something that is fleeting or ethereal, something meaningless on it's own. It doesn't mean anything without the discipline to put plan into action, of course. But to me ambition is the pure,true desire of things in a greater scope. It is not just the hope or dream of these things, it is an unwavering desire to realistically accomplish these things. Ambitions are held as things that are naturally wholesome and positive; wanting more can only have a positive impact right? For me, ambitions have never meant anything more than an added layer of dissatisfaction to a less than stellar life. Every moment I spend that I know I'm not moving toward them, they hang over me, dig into me, and have over time just about torn me apart. And I would not give that for anything. They are promises with a deeper part of my being that I will work to lead a life I deem fulfilling, and they are promises that a deeper part of me will fight tooth and nail, no matter the means. The reason that post hasn't left my mind since the day I wrote it.
I feel that may be too pretentious or taking myself too seriously… but as much as I may be waxing philosophy, I believe those things hold a weight that can't be understated. Anyways, for one reason or another…I've finally come to the conclusion that I can just break down my goals and achieve everything I wanted to do overnight over the course of a few months. I can turn those drastic changes into something realistic and measured, and I can be comfortable knowing that my desire to consistently improve and my ability to meet lofty goals isn't going to disappear because I start with diet soda.
As far as my actual plan… It isn't quiet the ideal no zero days/ perfectly self accepting plan that holds consistent improvement, no matter how small, above all else. I'm an alcoholic and there's so much surrounding that, and there is parts of my destructive tendencies and hang up on all or nothing that I can't get rid of. I can't say that I'll drink a bit less today or maybe do a positive thing even if I am drinking. I need structure and hard goals. What I can do is break into down into chunks that I know I can tackle. So for the next thirty days, I want to: stop drinking, stop smoking, start counting calories and start strength training. Those are big changes still, but ones I know I can meet, and ones that get easier every day and would quickly create positive feedback loops. I know the setup of "I gotta do all this for the next 30 days OR ELSE" possibly flirts with the whole all or nothing problem I have just gone in exhausting length about… but it is infinitely more realistic, thought out and attainable than my previous attempts. And I feel there is no avoiding a structured take on it with how deep I am in the mindset.
But yeah. This was a stupid long post and more of a word vomit than a discussion, and I'll be surprised if someone chews all that up. But I feel like this is the only sub that might strike at least some cord with the mental tribulations I've faced with… well… getting disciplined,