What is All-or-nothing thinking?
All-or-nothing thinking is like believing if you can’t do something 100%, then you can’t do it at all and there is no in between. I don’t feel like I’m that way in my business. I’m pretty flexible and give myself grace there, BUT as I really started reading about it, I realized I am “all or nothing” in how I treat myself and talk to myself.
Like the other day, I was with my kids hanging out with a new friend and her family and my kids started fighting. That stressed me out and got me feeling like I was a bad mom because here are my kids fighting at a social event. But then it didn’t stop there! I brought a dish to this get-together and it ended up being a little dry and then there I went, telling myself I’m a bad cook and should just stick to bringing fruit.
Just because I did one wrong thing, as a mom or a cook, I go thinking I’m a terrible person.
I also tend to struggle with eating healthy or working out because again, I get stuck in the all-or-nothing. I think I need to go to the gym everyday with a personal trainer and make a strict meal plan with no sugar, or I’m not healthy. It’s either everything I committed myself to and being all in, or doing nothing.
I’m sure you can think of instances when you’ve let all or nothing thinking influence you, too.
Just a little bit better than you were yesterday
I was reminded of a talk Michael A. Dunn called One Percent Better. Twice a year, my church puts on an event called General Conference where leaders of our church give words of advice and encouragement. And this talk is from one of those conferences a few years ago.
Michael Dunn talked about just focusing on ONE thing instead of going all in. He used this example of a British biking team that was just terrible. Like losing all races and a joke to the country. Well this team got a new coach and instead of doing all these big things to adjust the team, the coach just worked on one thing at a time – working to simply improve by one percent..
Forget about that perfectionism and needing to make a night and day difference. Just tackle one thing at a time and focus on being one percent better, not 100%, or even 1000% for you overachievers.
What can you do today to be a little bit better than you were yesterday?
I see this a lot with eating, social media, spending or working out. We cut out sugar completely, go on a social media fast and delete apps. Restrict spending completely or do a full hour workout at the gym everyday. But it DOESN’T WORK. You end up failing and it just makes you feel worse, like you’re a failure and can’t reach your goals.
Guys, it’s really hard going from being on social media all the time or drinking soda every day to quitting cold turkey and deleting social media and getting rid of soda. You can’t just go from all to nothing!
How can you rework that all or nothing thinking to just being one percent better?
Instead of cutting soda completely, maybe cut down sodas every other day or only after you’ve had lunch.
Instead of thinking you have to be a gym nut, go on a walk around the block or on a bike ride with your kids.
You don’t have to go all in, start with baby steps! How can you be better without going into all-or-nothing thinking? You have to stop the limiting mindset of all-or-nothing.
How am I doing this this summer?
I am doing one action step every day for my mind, body, spirit, and business every day this summer. I wake up in the morning and choose one thing each day to improve myself, and that makes it so much easier to attain my goals than tackling really big expectations for myself.
I try not to do the same thing everyday. I mix up and again choose just one thing. This allows me to be flexible and push my body one percent better but not overload myself and launch into the negative all-or-nothing/perfectionism mindset.
You know how much I love my accountability partners so I found a group of friends and strangers who also want to work on improving themselves, and created a Voxer to check-in with each other everyday.
I promise you’ll see greater results by doing just one thing each day. Just a little bit more than you did yesterday.
I want to leave you with one last quote by Michael Dunn! “Every effort we make to change, no matter how tiny it is to us, just might make the biggest difference in our lives.”