Do You Have an “All or Nothing” Mentality?

This month I’m sharing with you the common pitfalls that keep us from getting happy with our body. A pitfall can be a single step or a series of missteps that take us off our current path and into a new, less favorable direction. Last week we checked in with our Perfectionism Syndrome—our high need to be perfect. This week, I introduce you to the “All or Nothing Mentality”.

Pitfall #2 All or None Mentality: “If I can’t do what is recommended/suggested then I might as well give up”.

This pitfall is a close cousin to Perfectionism Syndrome.  The difference is this pitfall uses our expectations and turns them into inaction or overreaction.

For example: if we can’t exercise for an hour, then why do it at all (inaction)? If I had one bite of birthday cake from the office party, well, I might as well eat two pieces, after all, I’ve already ruined my diet (overreaction)? 

With this pitfall, we set ourselves up for continued failure by constantly scrutinizing how we are failing and then acting on our disappointment, frustration, or anger. This strict, personal scrutiny is an emotional beating which can lead to even more “failures.”

I liken this pitfall to mental and emotional pollution– because one choice pollutes our future decisions and behaviors. 

The Practice: Something is better than nothing. 

Interestingly enough, the body doesn’t operate with an All or None Mentality. The body doesn’t say “oh well, she only walked for 15 minutes instead of the recommended hour today, so I guess there is NO benefit to me. What a waste”. 

Instead, realize our body responds immediately to everything we do, in the present moment. Various systems make up our body like your cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, muscular-skeletal system, nervous system, etc. Even with a few minutes of walking, your body is going to feel the benefits of walking throughout EACH of those systems. You’ve enhanced your body’s function and environment! 

As for that bite of cake, well, the body adapts immediately to every choice you make. One bite of cake or slice of cake is going to be processed by the body relatively quickly. Sure, it is extra sugar and a high dose of calories. That slice of cake isn’t going to send your body off the rails, so you shouldn’t shame or blame yourself into overaction either. Simply course correct by eating a smaller than usual healthy dinner. 

Your body doesn’t necessarily thrive off of grandiose, larger-than-life gestures. Your body much prefers steady, measured stimulation to progress. 

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