Why Giving Yourself Ultimatums Will Never Motivate You to Change

why giving yourself ultimatums will never motivate you to change

By nature, people do not like ultimatums. They are threatening, limiting, and just plain passive aggressive.

So, imagine how terrible it is when you give yourself one ultimatum, or worse, many.

For some people — especially perfectionists and black and white thinkers — giving ultimatums is a way of life. Even though it may seem like ultimatums are a motivational tool they are very self-destructive.

I know because I used to give myself ultimatums.

Frequently.

It was part of my “all or nothing” thinking. Either I was going to get “x,” or I’d never get “y” .

In fact, here are some examples of ultimatums I used to give myself on a regular basis.

“Either this guy is “the one,” or I’m through with dating.”
“Either I get this promotion, or I’m quitting.”
“Either I stick to this diet, or I’ll be a failure forever.”

Those are all pretty threatening, limiting, and passive aggressive, right?

So, why would I do this to myself?

Why giving yourself ultimatums will never motivate you to change

When I would propose these scenarios to myself, I was literally retaliating against myself.

By only ever give myself the choice between complete success or total failure, I would unconsciously attack myself. I wouldn’t just limit the action itself as a success or failure; I would confine myself to being a complete success or total failure if I didn’t receive a desired outcome.

Do You Give Yourself Ultimatums? #SelfHelp #Coaching #Mediation #Happiness #MentalHealth #StressRelief Click To Tweet

The problem with this way of thinking was that when I was only giving myself one of two possible outcomes — I always placed every problem 50% against myself.

With those odds, I wound up struggling between the demands I had placed on myself and the results of those requirements. This is where my inner conflicts began, and one of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire a specific outcome for yourself — or others.

One of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire a specific outcome for yourself — or others Click To Tweet

Instead of declaring, “Either this guy is “the one, or I’m through with dating,” I began saying things like, “Perhaps, I’m not what he is looking for, but that’s okay.  I’m now one step closer to finding someone who thinks I’m amazing – so, really this is progress.”

Positioning the relationship prospect as being only a success or a complete failure, provided the potential for only adverse outcomes – and put way more pressure on myself (and potential) suitors

My expectations were setting me up for disappointment 99% of the time.

I learned that changing the way I placed my expectations (and allowing for a range of possibilities) created higher odds for positive results.

Also, I’m now happily married, so I’m quite happy I gave myself more options!

I know it can be tough to stop giving yourself ultimatums and creating unnecessary inner conflicts.

Remember, there is no reason to be more demanding of yourself than anyone else would be of you.

And, really, there is no need for anybody to be that demanding of you in the first place!

Be kind to yourself.  Always.

If you are interested in working with me on ways you can make lasting and positive behaviour changes, send me an email and don’t forget to subscribe to receive new posts via email!

5 Tips for Handling Constructive Criticism

FIVE TIPS FOR HANDLING CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM _ erin's life bites

I can tell you — for a fact — that there is probably nobody who struggles with criticism more than I do.  In fact, if you were to ask any of my former employers, they would all probably say that “being defensive” was the one quality about me they struggled with the most.

Nobody likes criticism.

I used to have a severe problem with acting like a victim.

I always felt like I was being “attacked” for something.  From the biggest to the smallest of things, I did not like to take ownership for my part — or worse — be told how I should have handled things.

I used to become incredibly defensive and angry at anybody who would give me the slightest bit of constructive feedback because I always felt it was unnecessary.

I’ve grown to learn that criticism is a necessity.

Even though we each will receive a fair bit of less than desirable feedback in our lives, there is no need to feel threatened, defensive, or ashamed of it. It’s all part of breaking away from our comfort zone.

You may have your own criticism triggers. I know that I still struggle with mine; the question, “Why do you do it that way?”

To which my usual response is something like:

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5 Tips for Handling Constructive Criticism

  1. Avoid being defensive whenever possible.  I’ve learned to choose not to be defensive when I receive criticism works best for me.  I used to get super defensive whenever I felt criticised.  And the only thing I ever accomplished by becoming defensive was to prove I was incapable of respecting other people’s observations.  We cannot grow from staying inside a bubble.  So, if somebody bursts yours, try and keep calm and hear them out.
  2. Avoid being quick to react.  My father used to tell me all the time that I’m a “highly reactive” individual.  As soon as I heard something I didn’t agree with, I would react and typically regret doing so.  Being reactive is similar to being defensive, but the difference is that when we respond quickly, we don’t give ourselves time to process the situation correctly.  Now, I try to step back from the situation and breathe and think about how I’m going to handle it.  I may choose to confront or concede, but I will have given myself the opportunity to have a choice.
  3. Assume the responsibility when it’s your fault.  When I’m the root of the problem, I owe it to myself, and everybody involved to accept responsibility for it.  Nobody likes the blame game (especially when you’re the one to blame), but it’s a necessary evil sometimes.  Assuming the responsibility for your mistake shows that you are big enough to accept and learn from a situation.
  4. Take it as an opportunity to gain some insight.  In every occasion, there is something positive to come out of it and to be at the forefront of criticism is a chance to gain some valuable insight.  For example, after you receive criticism is a perfect time to ask questions about how you can better handle the situation in the future.
  5. Stop taking criticisms as a personal attack.  When objections occur, we often internalise them as an attack on who we are not what we’ve done. You will likely never be able to please everyone.   Just because someone questions your work doesn’t mean they are criticising who you are.  We all can produce work that disappoints, but that doesn’t mean that we are disappointing.

Learning how to handle criticism constructively is something we all should master.

We can choose to see critiques as an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.

Do you struggle with receiving feedback? Check out my post: 5 tips for handling constructive criticism. #personaldevelopment #criticism #growthmindset Click To Tweet

As with any behaviour, it’s a choice.

What do you guys think – do you twitch when you hear criticism headed your way?