Lifestyle The All-or-Nothing Approach

The majority of clients I get to work with struggle with the same underlying problem: the all-or-nothing approach. People are all in, or all out. They are willing to do all of the things for a short period of time but not ok to do some. This is why so often people do not start or they give up.

The all-or-nothing approach, I believe, is at the core of most diet and “get healthy” or “lose fat” challenges. The strategy is that if you buy in 100% you will get results. They are correct. You will.

But why do people rarely see these results stay?

They went all in, they saw results but now… they have either fallen off the wagon or slid further back than when they started.

The all-or-nothing approach restricts people in learning how to make adjustments when real life happens.

What happens when vacation time rolls around? What happens when a birthday cake is put in front of you?  What happens when family dinners, special events, or occasions occur? Oh no! What about when I get sick or my routine is off?

We love to live in black and white. I want to know what to do, and when to do it and then I can follow. But rarely is life ever consistent. Life is constantly changing, throwing us curve balls that we may expect or not expect.

A person’s health & fitness long term will very much depend on their ability to pivot, adjust, and be alright with sometimes making a decision for progress rather than perfection.

I have had clients do so well in following their ” plan”. They see results, they make progress. But oh how frustrated they get when life takes a turn. Their “plan” falls apart and they feel like they are failing. In my coaching experience, my greatest support is during this time.

How do we adjust “the plan” and our expectations when life changes?

As an example, say you have the goal of walking 8,000 steps/ day + completing 3 strength workouts/ week. Well, perhaps you miss 1/3 workouts and 2/8 days you miss the 8,000 step target. Some may consider this a failure. I do not.

Do you know what I see?

I see that on 6 days you hit 8,000 steps and you completed 2 strength workouts in a week! Was that more than if you had not tried at all? YES.

So often I see people frustrated because they do not or cannot hit all of the targets. They give up or don’t bother trying because they feel like they won’t see any results because they aren’t all in.

Well, this is where the hard work comes in mentally.

Something is always better than nothing. Fitness & health are maintained on something, not all or nothing.

Our culture currently promotes fast, quick results, when we want them, and how we want them.

Rarely are we reminded that sometimes good enough, is just that- good enough.

It is not failure. It was perhaps what we could do with what we were working with. I love the approach that we are never all in or all out. Instead, I think of a dial. Sometimes we are dialed in more. Life allows a larger commitment of time and resources that increase our results and speed of those results. At other times, we have to dial things down. We make better choices- perhaps not the best choice, but better choices to help ease the strain that life may currently be demanding.

If you struggle with the all-or-nothing approach, start by looking at what did go well. What did you accomplish? Shifting our focus from glass half empty, to glass half full is a hard change to make but one very much worth the effort. Remember, something is always better than nothing.

 Watson Wellness

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