30 Jun
The All or Nothing Mindset
The All or Nothing Mindset

All or nothing is associated with bravery, courage, and guts. But let’s not forget that one of the possibilities in all or nothing is… nothing! Getting it 'all' is great, but getting nothing is the worst!

Have you ever decided to do something productive, only to cancel it later? Consider this: you were going to go to the gym, but your wrist is painful. You decided not to go so that you could [Click and drag to move] ​​rest it and then in a few days see how it is. This seemed sensible, but it wasn’t, and here’s why…

You thought that because you couldn’t use your wrist, you couldn’t exercise. You wanted to exercise, but the all or nothing mind-set made you think you had to choose nothing. Instead, you should have gone to the gym and trained using exercises that do not involve the wrist. You could have trained your legs or your core - even just plonking yourself on the stationary bike is something!

Another example of the all or nothing mindset which I see all the time with new clients, is how they respond to having a bad day with regards to nutrition - be it a day lacking in motivation or a hectic day which meant sticking to the plan seemed impossible. Having a 'bad day' is perfectly normal and we all have these days so there is no reason to panic. However, it is how clients sometimes deal with this that is the problem. Their all or nothing mindset means they get frustrated at having the bad day and decide to rule out the rest of the week and start again on 'Monday' (they may even use it as an excuse). So rather than just moving on and getting back on the wagon the next day, their all or nothing mindset has turned what would have been one bad day, into several!

The all or nothing mind-set causes us to do nothing sometimes, which hurts our progress in life. We do it because it’s easy to underestimate the double benefit impact of doing a little bit instead of nothing. The error in calculation is thinking that because the full amount is great, anything less than that isn’t. That’s a lie.

‘Progress however, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step’. Samuel Smiles


Make a long term commitment. Avoid anything and anyone that promises a miracle fix - it does not exist. Each week aim to make small steps in the right direction. Before doing anything, ask yourself: could you keep it up for the rest of your life? If the answer is no (without giving in too easily!) then it is probably not a good idea as it will not be sustainable. Those amongst us with perfect health and enviable bodies did not build them overnight.