Do You Have An All or Nothing Approach?

I wanted to talk to you in this blog post about the all or nothing mindset.

We’ve been speaking a lot recently about roadblocks and setbacks and things that are in your way and that are holding you back from your true potential, the even more potential than you think you have now. And untapping that, getting to that, tapping that side of you that has yet to be cracked maybe.

That side of you that we all have, that we fear so much that it takes us out of our comfort zones. And a lot of getting out of our comfort zones, for me, what works for me isn’t trying to do more. It’s actually trying to unblock my old beliefs and move forward having unblocked it.

For example, if you’ve got perfectionist tendencies, if you’ve got all or nothing tendencies, if you never have a plan, if you never have goals and action steps to follow, it’s kind of figuring out how you are getting in your own way so you can move forward. Because sometimes that’s what really works for people.

Sometimes people don’t need to learn more, do more, study more. It’s more about setting themselves free from the things that they might even be subconsciously doing now that’s holding them back. So the all or nothing mindset is definitely a mindset that has held me back in the past and prevented me from getting further along when I wanted to.

An all or nothing mindset can come into your life in so many ways. If you take fitness and health for example, it can be that you don’t want to exercise because your food’s not as healthy as you’d like it to be, or you feel like you can’t do any healthy action steps because you have some unhealthy habits.

Or you might be trying to study or do a course and you feel that you need to have all your papers and pens ready to go along with three hours of quiet time, in a quiet house. And all these kind of little obstacles that we put in front of ourselves when we have the all or nothing mindset.

And it can really prevent us from getting ahead. Because as far as I can see with myself and all my studies of successful people and people I admire and follow, it’s that same old thing of a little bit of progress week in, week out that compounds over time is what gets you to success.

It’s going back to the consistently good is so far better than just this sporadically great.

And sporadically great is just no good. Trying to be so  super excellent. For example, bringing it to your fitness, your weight loss, not eating any junk food, doing so many workouts, putting other things in your life to the back burner for a little bit, doing things that you can’t keep up and can’t sustain.

And we fall into this trap when we start things that we think we can sustain, we trick ourselves. And we normally try to do more rather than a little bit less. Whereas for some people, and you see it in social media all the time, especially when you follow motivational people or business people, that there’s always, for a lot of the time there’s this more, more, more mentality, how can I be better?

How can I do more? How can I study more? But for some of you out there, you actually need to be told that a little bit less is good. And we spoke about this on Wednesday on our  LIVE chat, about allowing yourself to lower your standards a little bit, lower the bar a little bit and relaxing your standards.

 I think it’s important that I say relax your standards, not lower your standards. But for some of you out there, some of you listening to this now, that’s actually what you need to do. And I think that when you hear people talking about doing more, adding more, it just stresses you out and just makes you feel so overwhelmed and you’re more inclined to get back to that all or nothing approach. It can trigger you to stop doing anything at all.

And that’s me too. If there’s people around me stressing me out, or if I’m following somebody and they’re like, “And then do this, and then do this and then do this,” you’re just like, “Oh my God.” And for some of you that are perfectionists that want to do things really well, and for some of you that have all or nothing tendencies, that’s the last message you need.

The best message for you to get the best out of you, the most out of yourself is actually to just do a little bit, do a little bit. And I’m going to bring it back to the fitness analogy because it’s just the simplest one. If you say to me, if you start with me on Monday, and you say, “Jessica, I’m going to do five workouts and I’m going to do five walks.”

I would probably say to you, “You know what? I want you to do three workouts and I want you to get two little walks if you have the time. But the most important thing is for you is just to get three workouts done.” And if you approach it like that, you’re going to feel so successful.

You’re going to be so consistent. You’re going to get so fit and healthy without all the, all or nothing pressure, without heaping on pressure and pressure. And you’re going to want to, if you have tendencies like this, you’re going to want to do more, more, more. But then you start to recognise that yes, you do have all or nothing tendencies.

You do have the perfectionism tendencies. Because you’ve said to me ‘I’m going to do five workouts’, I say, “No, you do three.” And if you’re getting itchy feet all week and you’re like, “Oh my God, I really just feel like I’m not doing enough,” that can really help you get to know yourself and go, “Oh my God. Yeah, this is one of those times where I was going to race right in, do everything.”

Three weeks later, crash and burn. So let that be our message, you and me. My message for me, my message for you, your message for yourself today. That heading into the weekend, which I always love for reflecting and thinking, what are the things that you can take out and subtract from your life? Maybe you’re the type of person that doesn’t need more stuff added at this point, but stuff taken away.

And maybe for you, it’s not about getting your journal on Sunday and saying, “And then this, and then this.” Maybe it’s about you recognising that you say, “I’ll do this, I’ll do five.” And then catch yourself and say, “You know what? I am actually going to do less than I want to. I am going to do, I want to do five workouts, so I’m going to do three.

I want to say I’m going to do five walks, so I’m going to do two. I want to eat no sugar next week so I’m going to allow myself to have two evenings of treats. I’m going to say three litres of water a day, so I’m going to do two.” And just remember, take everything out there with a pinch of salt. Make it your own, suited to what best suits YOUR needs.

And include, when you’re listening to people, especially kind of stressy, “Do this, do this” people. Listen to it to what they have to say, but only take from it, what you need that works best for your personality. Edit it a little bit if needed and then go for it.

I hope you enjoyed our chat. And if you did, I would love to hear from you. Just write a little comment below, tell me what you think. All my love and take care.

Jessica Cooke


About the author 

Jessica Cooke

I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit and break free from unhealthy habits holding them back. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

I’ve now supported over 6,779 women over 14 years in my Thrive Coaching Program get fit and break free from unhealthy habits!

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