Drop the "All or Nothing" Mentality!
We all know that feeling. We are ready to go “all in” on whatever goal we are seeking - career, fitness, nutrition, or *insert goal.* But when the first sign of a setback or obstacle comes, what do we tend to do? Give up. At least that is what some of our clients we have worked with have experienced.
If you have been following us for a while, you may recall our post about not slashing your tires. That same concept applies here when we discuss the “all or nothing” mentality. If something goes astray, there is no need to give up on all other aspects of wellness. When I took a trip across the country back in June, I exercised one time in nine days. Yes, one time. I know some of you out there are probably shaking your head at me, but you know what? It's okay. I did a lot of walking, ate until I started feeling full (but not beyond that), kept up my water intake, and worked at getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. And when I returned from my vacation, although I had lost a bit of strength, all was still well in the world. I reentered my regular routine, and kept control of the situation.
I want to show you that you don’t have to do the “all or nothing” approach. In fact, that approach rarely works long term. I could have just given up after missing a few workouts and gone into a downward spiral of despair. Instead, though, I kept up on my other habits to the best of my ability and my return to “normalcy” was rather simple.
In today’s world, however, the “all or nothing” approach is unfortunately going strong. We see challenges like doing x habits for a certain number of days, like 75, and if you fail you have to start over. This is disappointing from our perspective, and perhaps from yours too. Why place that pressure upon ourselves when something is nearly always better than nothing?
So while we are not condemning those types of challenges, we also realize that many of them are often more harmful than helpful. Real life is not linear. There are ups and downs, unexpected circumstances, and simply life itself. If you are either all in or all out, how do you prepare yourself to keep going when the going gets tough? How do you apply the “all in” tactic when you haven’t practiced moderation or adjusting your objectives if the goal isn’t quite in sight?
Lucky for you, we have the tools to assist you in avoiding the “all or nothing” mentality over the holidays - and beyond. Let’s reframe your inner self talk, learn to develop a plan, and enjoy the holidays as they are meant to be enjoyed.
Dwelling on what you should be doing or could have done
Getting frustrated when you get off track with your fitness, nutrition, or positive habits
Prepare yourself ahead of time.
Before the holidays/travel, get a plan in place. Think about any obstacles you may face during this time. No need to stress over every detail, but thinking ahead to potential common obstacles will be useful and eliminate extra stress.
Ask yourself these questions
1. What is my plan for nutrition? What will I do if I cannot eat exactly how I have
been planning on eating? How can I mentally prepare myself?
2. How can I fit in exercise during this time? Or do I even want to? Does a break
make more sense?
3. How will I handle my stress management/mindset during this time?
4. How can I honor my body and mind during this time?
Take action on a realistic healthy habit as soon as possible.
For example, if you overate past the point of fullness, instead of mentally beating yourself up, try getting back control:
Eat your next meal as planned. Eat until you start to feel that feeling of fullness. Don’t restrict yourself. Just get on track. And do NOT try to “burn off” the calories in a workout to punish yourself. Exercise is a way of honoring your body’s ability to move and get stronger, and not to be seen as a form of punishment.
If you missed a workout, or a series of workouts…
Find ways to add movement into your day that make sense. Maybe it’s getting some extra steps in or taking the stairs when you can. Again, we ask you to not go to an extreme here. We are honoring our bodies by adding in appropriate movement.
Schedule your next workout as soon as you are able. If writing it down helps, do that. If planning a workout with a buddy would be helpful, do that. If you are a training client, talk to your coach about getting back on track.
Remember you are in control.
Keep in mind that you are welcome to stay on track if you choose. You don’t have to say yes to things due to pressure from peers/family or for any reason really. For example, one time at a holiday dinner I turned down dessert and just about caused a family war. While we are not asking you to start a fight by any means, we hope you don’t feel obligated to partake in food or drink just because others say you should. As long as you are honoring your body, mind, and intentions in a helpful, positive manner, you have our support!
Something is better than nothing. Taking a walk when a workout isn’t realistic is better than nothing. Keeping up on your hydration while indulging in some holiday treats is better than throwing hydration out the window. Eating a salad alongside your annual holiday dinner is better than no veggies at all. You get the idea? Using this tactic, especially over holidays or vacation, will allow you to return back to your regular routine more easily than giving up entirely and feeling like you’re starting over.
If you need an extra layer of accountability, send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started as soon as you’re ready. We have several virtual options available, with programs as low as $49.
Jessica Corkin is the Virtual Fitness Manager at Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last eight years working in the fitness and wellness industry. When she is not virtually training clients, she enjoys strength training, running, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and dog. Connect with her here.
Get our free Stay at Home Workout Guide (that has 3 FREE workouts included) here.