10 May Are you an ‘All or Nothing’ person?

Are you an ‘All or Nothing’ person? You either do something perfectly, or not at all?

The problem with ‘All or Nothing’ thinking is that either you’re all – or you’re nothing. There is no in-between. This approach to life can really stifle our happiness and fulfilment and tends to explode into self -criticism and feelings of hopelessness.

Letting go of extremes can really improve your health and wellness.

I get it. It can be challenging to always eat well, diligently exercise, rest enough…add this to the every-day responsibilities of working, managing a home, giving to relationships, contributing to society and being a decent human…it can be overwhelming and exhausting.

‘All or Nothing’ people swing between both ends of the extremes:

  • They do restrictive diets to punish themselves after indulging on a holiday.
  • They swear off all alcohol for ‘Feb Fast’ or ‘Ocsober’ only to participate in huge drinking sessions for the remainder of the year.
  • After having a row of chocolate they think, “Oh well I’ve blown it”, and so decide to eat the entire block.
  • They sign up for 30 days of yoga in a row to make up for 3 months of complete inactivity.
  • They do a green juice cleanse for a week after a weekend of indulgence and binging.

If we embraced moderation a little more in our lives we wouldn’t feel the need to turn to extreme weight loss challenges, diets and ‘detoxes’ to make up for our lifestyle.

So you miss a workout one morning because you have to be at work early or you have a row of chocolate after dinner. The thing is, missing a workout or having a piece of cake or chocolate doesn’t mean you’ve blown your whole regime. Being affected by life’s little bumps doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re human.

So many clients I see are stuck in this ‘All or Nothing’ cycle. This idea that if something is not done perfectly then the pursuit is useless.

Maybe you or someone you know is like this…Before they (re)start their new diet the pantry gets cleaned out, they eat a few last-hurrah meals, drink a few last–hurrah wines. A new exercise regime may start with the same sort of enthusiasm, new active-wear and renewed promises to self of daily workouts. But if you are pressuring yourself to be perfect, it won’t be long until you decide you’re weak or that your life/family/job/whatever is conspiring to keep you out of shape. And then, you give up. You quit!

Whilst these intentions are great and we need to be scheduling time for intentional exercise and paying attention to the quality and quantity of food we eat, this ‘All or Nothing’ approach sets the bar so high that it can never be reached and in doing so, we set ourselves up to fail. Cue feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, restriction and feelings of hopelessness!

We need to be a little bit flexible, especially at the beginning of a lifestyle change. Yes, it’s important to make a plan and do your best to stick with it. But if you do stumble, dust yourself off. Life happens…carry on. A slip up does not need to be the undoing of our health. It is just a tiny part of the big picture.

It really is about time we start being a little kinder to ourselves for the sake of our health. Time we embraced a little more moderation instead of guiltily swinging between ‘All or Nothing’ extremes. I provide guidance towards health and lifestyle solutions for busy women. If you would like some support towards making some tweaks toward a sustainable and balanced wellness plan then contact me. I would love to help you find what feels right for you.

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