• Tricia Arriagada

Get Rid of "All or nothing" Thinking



If you have all or nothing thinking you are seeing things in extremes, in black and white. The most common occurrence of "all or nothing" thinking involves diet and exercise. For instance, one belief is "I have to do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training five days a week to see results. Another belief is "I can't lose weight unless I cut out carbs". It's a kind of perfectionist thinking that sets you up for feeling like a failure. Take the example about exercise, if you can't make the workout for an hour, you may skip your workout entirely. There are some strategies you can use to move past this kind of thinking and achieve long term success.

  • Be clear about your goals and your values. We all know it's important to set goals if you want to measure your progress but who is setting these goals? Are your goals defined by social media, your relationships, or society? It's important to get clear about what it is you truly value and make sure that the goals you set for yourself aligns with these values. For instance, do you value family time but you also want to feel confident in your body. Maybe an hour at the gym five days a week takes away from that time with your family. Is there another way to get active without taking time away from your family?

  • Focus on small action steps. My coach has always told me that taking small steady actions each day leads to progress. It's not about doing as much as you can at one time. It's about taking a bunch of little steps consistently that will help you reach your goal. Ever heard the expression "How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time." Take a look at your goal and write down all the small action steps you can take that will lead you to where you want to be.You may have a goal in mind to drop a pant size. What would be small actions that you could do consistently over time that would lead you to this goal. This method will make it easy to stay successful and achieve results.

  • Learn from your mistakes. No matter who you are and what your aspirations are, you are going to face some setbacks along the way. What matters is how you are going to respond to these setbacks. Will you see it as a failure or will you see it as a learning opportunity? Instead figure out what went wrong and what you need to do instead.

  • Reward yourself. Not just when you achieve the goal but along the way. Celebrate all of your small wins. Come up with a list of rewards that will help you stay motivated and positive. Remember you can find happiness in the journey not just in the destination.

  • Be real with yourself. So you are thinking about running five days a week and cutting out carbs so you can drop ten pounds. Is this a reasonable approach that won't interfere with the rest of your life? Will you still have the energy to work or take care of the kids? Is this going to put a damper on your social life? Is it realistic to think you will never eat a piece of pizza again? Look at the reality of your life and stick with what you can do while juggling everything else. Remember it's all about small changes. The actions you take the majority of the time are going to determine the results.

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