Do you tend to go “all in” when you’re trying to reach a goal, tackle a new project or develop a new habit? For instance, maybe you commit to meditating for 30 days. It’s going great for the first 3 days, but then something happens and you don’t make day 4. Do you throw in the towel and decide it’s not worth it to continue once you’ve messed up?
If that sounds like you, you’ve probably embraced an all-or-nothing mindset. You’re either all in, 100%, or you’re out. Here’s the problem with that.
The problem with an all-or-nothing approach to life
When you choose to go all-or-nothing, you wind up in one of two places:
You’re hustling hard, going 100 mph nonstop trying to accomplish your goal.
You’re stuck on the “nothing” side of the spectrum, where you’re not moving at all.
Both of these options are unsustainable and incredibly limiting. You can’t hustle hard indefinitely without it directly impacting your well-being, both mental and physical. And you can’t stay frozen indefinitely, because life will pass you by and you’ll miss out on all the amazing opportunities in front of you.
Learn more about the all-or-nothing mindset in my Youtube video!
Where does the all-or-nothing mindset come from?
There are a couple key reasons why you may have developed an all-or-nothing mindset. - The first is perfectionism. Somewhere along the way, you embraced the idea that if it’s not done perfectly, it’s not worth doing. - It may also come from a fear of failure. If you see any type of failure as something negative, or perhaps even a reflection of your own self-worth, then it can be quite easy to fall into an all-or-nothing mindset.
Whatever your underlying motivation might be, it IS possible to break out of this mindset and approach life in a healthier, more balanced way.
4 Steps for Overcoming an all-or-nothing mindset
Here are 4 steps you can take to overcome an all-or-nothing mindset:
Pause and reflect. Whether you’re feeling stuck or you’re going way too hard, take the time to stop everything and reflect on what you’re experiencing. Practicing this pause is so important, because you have to actually STOP the train and examine what’s going on, in order to make any meaningful change. If you continue to chug along and ignore the issues, you will eventually crash head-first into a wall.
Get curious. The next step is simply to observe and explore the reasons you might be coming at life in this way. When you can examine your behaviors objectively, without judgment, you’re able to see what is really going on under the surface.
Examine your expectations. Are you setting unrealistic expectations for yourself that are causing you to hustle hard and never take a break? Or are you actually expecting to fail, which is keeping you from taking action? Whichever side of the coin you’re on, know that you CAN change your expectations. If your expectations are unrealistically high, you can give yourself a break and set goals that are more attainable. You can also allow yourself to rest. And you can let go entirely of expectations that don’t serve you at all. If you are stuck because you’re afraid to fail, you can shift your mindset to, “but what if I succeed?” You can remind yourself that making mistakes is what makes us human, and it’s okay to get things wrong sometimes. And you can focus on the upside of failure: that it is an opportunity to learn, grow and adapt.
Move to the middle - in a gentle way. Finally, you can begin to move toward a middle ground that fosters a healthy, balanced approach to life. As you reduce the pressure around needing to succeed and the negativity around failure, you’ll find that this move to the middle reduces your anxiety and allows your brand and body to move from stress to curiosity and creativity. You’re better able to align with yourself and the person you want to be. As you work toward moving to the middle, my most fervent recommendation is that you be kind to yourself. You won’t strong-arm yourself into a mindset change. Treat yourself as you would a good friend—with gentleness, genuine concern, and compassion.
So, are you ready to leave behind your all-or-nothing mindset and take a more balanced approach to your goals and habits? I hope this post helps you approach that mindset shift in a healthy way.
If you’d like more 1:1 guidance on shifting your mindset, reducing your anxiety and living a more balanced life, I’d love to help! You can schedule a free consultation with me here.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.