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Wendy Shafranski


May 8, 2024

The All-or-Nothing Mentality

In more than 15 years as a gym owner, I’ve witnessed many people with an all-or-nothing mentality. Here are some examples:

  • They miss a workout, so they miss the entire week.
  • They eat one cookie, so they eat the entire bag.
  • They go on vacation and get off of their routine, so they never come back.
  • They fail something the first time and say, “I will never get this,” and give up.
  • They often speak in absolutes such as “always,” “everyone,” and “never.”

The above examples represent absolutes and extremes. Everything is black or white. One slip up leads to throwing in the towel.

This way of thinking holds us back.

The all-or-nothing mindset can manifest as low self-esteem, a decreased willingness to take risks, an inability to find solutions, and reduced resilience. It can cause us to give up.

If this sounds familiar, know that this pattern can be changed and the first step is awareness.

  1. Catch yourself. Notice absolutes in the way you speak and act.
  2. Challenge those thoughts or consider them from an outside perspective.
  3. Realize that just because you think something, doesn’t make it true.
  4. Know that you will mess up and that’s OK. Without setbacks, how will you grow?
  5. Strive for the 80/20 rule.
  6. Know that doing something is better than doing nothing.
  7. Be kind to yourself.

Remember: success isn’t easy. There are setbacks and discomfort. So, check in with yourself regularly, challenge all-or-nothing thoughts and strive for progress (not perfection).

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