How The ‘All or Nothing’ Mindset Prevents You From Making Lasting Lifestyle Change And Why ‘Something Is Better Than Nothing’
Mindset matters. Your mindset can be your biggest barrier to making lasting lifestyle change.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein
What’s your mindset? … ‘all-or-nothing’ or ‘something is better than nothing’?
When it comes to pursuing goals and creating lasting change, choosing to do less than ideal is always better than choosing to do ‘nothing’. The ‘all or nothing’ mindset results in nothing. If we do nothing, nothing will change. ‘Something is better than nothing’ mindset results in new habits. By taking some action, something changes –everything incrementally changes.
What is an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset?
All-or-nothing mindset sees things as black or white, right or wrong, good or bad – with nothing in between. Essentially, this mindset believes:
- If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it all.
- If I have a set-back, I might as well throw in the towel.
- Since I ate a hamburger and fries for lunch, I might as well eat a pizza and cookies for dinner.
- If I’m not good at it, I won’t do it at all.
- I’ve already eaten 3 cookies, I might as well finish the box.
- There is no point in trying if I don’t give 100%.
The ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset establishes unrealistic expectations and attempts to change everything at once. This mindset has a strong need to do it ‘perfectly’ without any flaws or mistakes, or simply won’t try at all for fear of failure. This mindset tends to bite off more than they can chew, relies on instant gratification, and gives up quickly.
What is a ‘something is better than nothing’ mindset?
‘Something is better than nothing’ mindset recognizes the value in making small incremental changes and chooses to take action even when it is less than ideal. Essentially, this mindset believes:
- Even though I’m not flexible, I will go to a yoga class.
- Even though I don’t have time to exercise for 45 minutes today, I’ll exercise for 20 minutes.
- Even though my doctor advised me not to run, I will walk or cycle.
- Even though I can’t afford a gym membership, I’ll exercise at home or outside.
- Making some progress is better than none.
- Sometimes a little bit is just enough.
The ‘something is better than nothing’ mindset understands that taking small actions gradually make a big difference. This mindset realizes perfection doesn’t exist and set-backs are part of the process to creating lasting changes.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” ~Robert Collier
So, what’s your mindset? ‘All-or-nothing’ or ‘something is better than nothing’?
Our mindset matters. If we want external change, we must first create internal change. For any transformation to take place, it starts with recognizing and shifting the ways of thinking that prevent us from taking action. We can’t create lasting change with the same mindset that got us here. When we shift our ways of thinking, our ways of doing shifts.
What is ‘something’ you can do each day to move you closer to living your vision of a healthy lifestyle? How does your habitual ways of thinking influence your actions and impact your goals?
Next time you are faced with a choice between doing something less than your ideal and nothing, choose action. Choose something instead of nothing. Giving 50% of effort is better than 0%.
What one thing will you choose to do different today?
Wishing you a shift in mindset,
Health Coach | Yoga Teacher
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