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!

Why a Revenge Body is Bad Motivation

A Revenge Body Is Bad Motivation _ Erin's Life Bites

As a wellness professional, I encounter various forms of personal motivation when it comes to fitness.

Some people want to be fit enough to run a half-marathon because it is something they have always wanted to do.

Some people have specific health concerns and are advised to start a fitness regimen.

And then some people come to me looking to “make their ex-significant other regret the day they broke up with them” by getting a “revenge body.”

Any tabloid magazine, on any given week, will post a story about the “revenge body” of a celebrity who is going through relationship woes or bad times.

Khloe Kardashian was paid a bunch of money on her E! show aptly titled, Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian to assist people in obtaining a ‘revenge worthy’ physique, and I’m not the only person who thinks this show is bad news.

I have a policy that I won’t work with individuals with body revenge goals.

Instead, I ask clients to focus on the power of a growth mindset; to have them take their desire for revenge and turn it into an exercise in self-compassion and forgiveness.

Why having a revenge body is a lousy motivator

Simply put, working towards a revenge body infringes upon your innate ability to embrace healing.

Kevin Carlsmith, in a 2008 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, discussed that by seeking revenge we inflate the event or issue to a level of obsession, where it’s no longer something that can be “laughed about later.”

You’re willing to sacrifice your well-being to seek punishment towards somebody else.

When a client comes to me with a goal not based on self-care, my concern is that the individual runs the risk of possible long-term consequences.

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I am not making this claim based on speculation. I once sought out to change my physical appearance after being called fat. Before it was a buzzword (I’m ageing myself here), when I was fifteen years old, I started a revenge body diet and exercise regimen, and it turned into a fifteen year battle with bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder.

We see this scenario all of the time in the movies.  An individual gets rejected and, soon after, their mission is to rise from the ashes and make this person regret their decision to abandon or hurt them.  So, they falsely believe the best way to go about this is to become more physically desirable.

But what tends to happen in the end to our protagonists? They realise that they do not need nor desire to change for that person, and in sacrificing so much to ‘improve’ themselves, they understand that the individual wasn’t worthy of their affection and, ultimately, they are the better off without them.

Why do these characters finally realise, within a 90-minute time frame, that they need to accept who they are and be okay with it?

Because revenge inevitably brings us down to the level of the very thing we are fighting and compromises our integrity.

As humans, one of our most compelling traits is our ability to forgive ourselves and others.

So, when we apply our actions with the intentions of proving our worth or getting one over on others, we keep the pain associated with it alive and well.

We cannot heal and grow to our full potential if we are doing things for the benefit of needing to prove our worth to others.

For this reason, when I meet a new client now, and it is clear that they are in a vulnerable and transitional point in their life, I ask them to reassess what is upsetting them and the areas of their life they should focus on strengthening.

There are not many things that we as humans have control over in our lives.

Revenge dieting and bodies, as well as the entire concept of improvement based on outside justification and approval, limits what control you do have over your present and future well-being.

It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.

-Tony Robbins

We cannot control how people treat us or the decisions they make about who we are.

That’s on them.

However, we can control how we respond to things and grow from the experience.

Breakups, for the most part, tend to be multi-dimensional events and, upon reflection, there is much more to their demise than how our partners feel about our bodies.

Why a 'revenge body' is bad motivation. @beetsperminute Click To Tweet

So my advice is this:   Focus on living the best life possible on your terms because you’ll be living well and if it still matters enough, living well truly is the best “revenge”.

This post first appeared on Huffington Post.