A Tweak to the ‘All or Nothing’ Approach

(PHOTO by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com)

As I painstakingly tease the butternut squash seeds from the slippery bright orange fiber so that I can toast them in the oven, I feel gratitude.

Gratitude for the food certainly, for the crunchy, salty treat we will soon enjoy. But I also feel thankful for a lesson I figured out all on my own that turned out to have numerous applications.

It was a few squashes ago, on a dark night at the end of a pressing, busy day. We were hungry. Dinner was coming together later than we like. Acorn squash was on the menu. I scooped out his brains and put them aside, oiled him up and sprinkled him with kosher salt. After the lovely orange flesh was safely in the oven, I turned and contemplated the seeds.

A flurry of thoughts and emotions flew through me.

I don’t want to pick seeds tonight.

But we toast the seeds. We’re seed toasters. We don’t waste food.

But it’s late and I’m tired and hungry and I want to sit down.

Well then, you’re a lousy wife, depriving Handsome Supportive husband of a delicious, nutritious appetizer.

But it takes so long and I don’t feel like it.

You are a resource squanderer.


I began separating the seeds to toast.

Previously I would have secured every last seed. That was how I framed success in this particular task. All the seeds.

“What if I don’t get all the seeds?” I thought. “What if I toast some.”

I considered the last clump of goo in my right hand and I tossed it into the compost bucket. The relief I felt was all out of proportion. I was nice to me! And I liked it!

We enjoyed some toasted seeds while dinner cooked, and our compost got richer. That’s a win/win.

See what I did there? I changed my all or nothing thinking. So drastic. So rigid. And I gave it a self-care twist. The fiber is important, but so is having a little mercy on myself. Doing all of it was going to make me cranky. Doing some of it felt just fine.

A few days later…it was upper body strength training day. It had to be. I tell myself I do twice-weekly strength training and in order for that to be true, it had to happen that evening. An all or nothing approach would leave me feeling like a wiggly-arm failure if I skipped.

“How about just doing bicep curls and shoulder lifts tonight?” I asked myself.

Wow! I felt happy! I didn’t do it all. I didn’t do…none. I did some.

Much of the pressure we feel is self-imposed isn’t it? Truly, there are portions of each of our lives that require exacting behavior. By all means if you are a motorist motoring, a surgeon in surgery or a pilot in flight…do it in an all or none fashion. But otherwise, toss a little self-care into the mix.

Click the ‘PLAY’ icon to listen to A Tweak to the ‘All or Nothing’ Approach

2 thoughts on “A Tweak to the ‘All or Nothing’ Approach

  1. Number 1… So glad you are blogging again.

    Number 2…. Really enjoyed reading this as many of us have the all or nothing attitude and feel we’ve failed if we don’t reach the “all” for what we’ve set for the goal. Thank you for the reminder that there is a 3rd option… Some!


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