The unproductive mindset of 'just one more’
written by Philip Stefanov | AUGUST 17, 2021
A few years ago, I found myself in this perpetual state of dieting for fat loss. I would be in a deficit for a couple of weeks, decide to bulk, and go back to dieting again. I felt confused and, for whatever reason, I couldn’t make up my mind. I wasted months going back and forth before finally committing to a single goal and focusing on it for at least a few months.
When I look back to that time, I’m confident that I learned two things:
1) I wasted a lot of time because I couldn’t get clear on what I wanted to do.
2) The mindset of ‘just one more’ probably played a massive role in my lack of decisiveness.
The Mindset of ‘Just One More’
The mindset of ‘just one more’ refers to our tendency to do that one last blowout before getting serious about something. Good examples here are the bachelor and bachelorette parties people have before getting married. The idea is that marriage will stop them from living it up, so they might as well have a huge party before then.
As far as dieting is concerned, ‘just one more’ typically means having a huge cheat meal or day before the diet starts. In some cases, it can also mean having several of these days. “What’s the point in being careful with what I eat now? My diet starts on Monday.”
For one, this is impractical because we can do a lot of damage in a short period and spend several days on a diet just to make up for that. For instance, if you eat 8,000 calories on a Sunday before your diet starts, your first few days of dieting will only serve to burn that excess energy off.
Second, this type of behavior can lead us to binge-purge cycles where we constantly jump from dieting to stuffing ourselves. We feel motivated to get lean, so we diet for a while. But then, we start feeling hungry, remember how much fun it was to eat whatever we wanted, and reason, “I can afford a cheat day. I’ve been dieting hard these last few days.” So, we binge eat, feel guilty afterward, and starve ourselves to ‘make up for it.’ On and on it goes.
And third - which I believe to be crucial - is procrastination. Instead of setting a goal and getting started, we allow ourselves to marinate in excitement. We daydream about the amazing results we’ll get to achieve while stuffing ourselves with burgers and donuts. Once the time to start inevitably comes, we feel dread and guilt. We feel dread because it’s finally time to roll up the sleeves and start working. Plus, the excitement has faded a bit, which doesn’t help. We feel guilt because we’ve been stuffing ourselves and, because the instant pleasure has long since passed, we are angry for even doing it.
Start right away. Yes, it’s as simple as that, but it certainly isn’t easy. The next time you decide to do something or set a goal, start immediately. For example, the next time you choose to build a positive habit, begin right away. Don’t wait for Monday or the first of next month. If you want to eat better, start with the very next meal. If you want to start meditating, find a few minutes that same evening. If you want to pick up that old habit of reading, place a book on your nightstand immediately.
In my opinion and experience, this is the superior approach because it achieves two things. First, it allows us to ride the motivation wave while it’s strongest. Instead of wasting time, taking advantage of our excitement right away allows us to gain some traction and secure a few quick wins. Although the initial excitement passes eventually, we are more likely to keep going because we’ve already begun.
Second, this builds discipline and reinforces the identity of, “I’m a person who takes action toward their goals.” Sure, that might not seem all that important, but it is. How we see ourselves is essential, so by taking immediate action, we become more confident in ourselves and our abilities. In other words, we shape the mindset of, “Eh, I’ll start on Monday.” to, “Let’s go!”
As always, thank you for taking the time to read it! Until next week,
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