The all or nothing trap derives from the thinking that if you can't do something perfectly or to completion you might as well not do it all. Part of me admires those who can use this philosophy to their advantage to do things really well as I'm terrible with the small details but in general when you apply this approach to health and fitness it's usually winds up hurting more than helping.
When people fall victim to this trap they might say things like…
-I already screwed up my meal plan by overindulging at lunch so I'll start over tomorrow.
-I'm interested in eating a Paleo diet but I love milk, so I can't follow that plan.
I've certainly been caught in this thinking many times before, especially when it comes to food. And those situations I mentioned above…they happen, to everyone! But what if instead of throwing in the towel we vowed that when obstacles arise, and they will, to do the best we can, when we can? Where there is a will, there is a way.
If you wait until you've got a perfect plan to follow it perfectly you might be waiting awhile. Don't let those obstacles become excuses!
What if you responded this way….
-I don't have enough time to do my entire workout but I do have 15 minutes to go for a run.
-I did overindulge at lunch but I will get back on track right away.
-I can customize any diet to meet my needs. I will enjoy milk AND Paleo meals.
I think that sounds a lot better! Don't you? Think about it…If instead of skipping a workout once a week when you hit a bump in the road you opted for just 15 minutes of activity, over the course of three months that's THREE HOURS of activity you racked up. It counts. It all adds up. And even those it may not seem like much it's a baby step in the right direction and as the old saying goes, "slow progress is still progress".
In my opinion, goals should be built around achievable progress, not unattainable perfection. When you strive for perfect EVERYONE is going to fail at some point. It's not realistic. Focus on making progress. Take smaller (or big if you can) steps in the right direction and you'll get there.
Progress, not perfection my friends.