What The Hell effect
You know when you set yourself a goal, like not to eat choccie’s at work, then you eat choccie’s, then instead of not eating more choccie’s, you’re like, “Well, I’ve already eaten some choccie’s I might as well eat ALL the choccies?”
That’s called the “What the Hell” effect (or counterregulatory behaviour for the nerds)
You know like, “ah what the hell, I’ve already broken my promise a little, why not go the whole way”
It’s not a great strategy
Which you probably realise, so why do you do it?
And, more importantly, how can you stop doing it? Or, at least stop doing it so badly
Firstly, you need to understand what’s going on
When you do something that makes you feel bad, you try to make yourself feel better
This leads to a cycle, because it’s actually the feeling of guilt and shame of that error that in turn makes you look for something quick and easy to achieve that
That often means reaching for the food that made you feel bad in the first place
What the hell to do instead
And, the fix for this is found in the problem itself
It’s really important to make note of the way you talk to yourself during this process
Once you make a bad decision, do you tell yourself off, and talk down to yourself?
“You’ve failed again, like you always do, why do you even try, this never works, you have no discipline and no self control”
Or, do you talk to yourself with compassion?
“It happened, but it doesn’t make you a bad person, you’re still learning and the more you try the better you will get, this is a journey and this is part of the experience that will make you better in time”
This isn’t an airy fairy difference
It’s critical to your long term success
Being more compassionate about your mistakes leads to better outcomes the next time around
Because you will make mistakes! You will, many of them
Like everyone else does
And good! The mistakes you make now are the lessons that will guide you in the future
Follow this up with, what can I control that might help me the next time this situation pops up?
So you’re hitting it from two angles, firstly responding with compassion and then with a beginners mind, how can you improve from this
Try it next time you stuff up, because you will, and it won’t be the last time
But it doesn’t have to be the awful experience it is at the moment
Be kind to yourself, and be curious about yourself