We’ve all got that little voice in our heads. The voice that undermines our best intentions and rationalizes the making of poor choices when it comes to fitness and nutrition. The voice that says ‘why bother’ or ‘what’s the point’ or ‘I’ll start next Monday’.
For many women, that voice reflects an underlying ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset. The attitude that only full-on-balls-to-the-walls effort is worth the time. That small steps don’t matter. That perfection trumps progress.
I’ve heard many variations on this theme from my clients and group fitness participants and have been known, on occasion, to utter the same words to myself…
Below, I share the 3 most common examples and the arguments I’ve found to be helpful in moving myself and others past our ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset barriers.
3 ‘all-or-nothing’ healthy living mindsets debunked
This month is crazy busy at home/school/work; I’ll get back to exercise when things slow down.
This mindset is based on the assumption that tomorrow will be easier than today. That you’ll have fewer commitments and responsibilities in the future than you do now. That there’s a ‘perfect’ time to start an exercise program and clean up your diet.
In my experience, tomorrow never comes. The current crisis or workout passes, only to be replaced by another. Next month will be just as busy as this month (know the saying, ‘tasks expand to fill all available time’?) and before you know it, another year has passed without any appreciable progress towards your health and fitness goals.
The perfect time to make change is always right now. The path to progress is many small steps, repeated daily. Start by incorporating just one or two short workouts in your week. No more than 30 minutes and nothing that requires you to get dressed and drive someplace. Maybe all you have time for is a walk at lunch. That’s great. Start small and build from there; that way ‘when things slow down’, you’ll be ready to ramp it up
Check out my YouTube channel for examples of short and efficient workouts you can do at home.
I’ve already derailed today’s healthy meal plan; might as well have another glass of wine/helping of dessert/handful of chips.
This mindset is built on the false premise that your body resets it’s metabolic clock at midnight. That today’s less-than-healthy choices are wiped clean by the act of going to sleep and getting up in the morning. That you won’t feel any worse or any less energetic tomorrow because of your overindulgence. That you can’t ‘eat just one’ and feel satisfied.
It often goes hand in hand with the “I’ll start my diet on Monday” mindset. Post-poning the opportunity to make small, healthy decisions today; decisions that will only become habit if you practice them consistently.
I don’t have time for an hour-long spin class/bootcamp/gym session today; I’ll make it up later in the week.
A classic example of ‘go hard or go home’ thinking, this mindset is probably the most challenging to overcome. Thanks to the constant barrage of magazine headlines and social media posts encouraging us to work ‘harder-faster-longer-more’ and wondering ‘what’s your excuse’ when we don’t, is it any wonder we doubt the benefits of a mere fifteen minutes of movement?
The thing is, 15 minutes of exercise will always be better than nothing. Better than spending the same amount of time sitting in the car, on the couch or in front of the computer (unless you’re reading encouraging blog posts, like this one…). Find two 15-minute stretches of time in your busy day and all of a sudden you’re fitting in 30 minutes of fitness.
Is your ‘all or nothing’ healthy living mindset holding you back?
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