“All or Nothing” Means Nothing

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

“Well, here’s some news, sir…I sprint my marathons.”

*Chaos ensues. The client begins to sprint, the client slows down, then stops, then re-starts, then slows down, then stops, then quits*

No matter how quickly you get there, the finish line is the same for everybody. It’s the same color, the same size, the same euphoric feeling, everything is the same. So, why do we feel the need to rush there before we’re ready? If I have confused you so far, allow me to put this into context for you.

The day is January 1st. Ryan Seacrest is recovering from being up all night and streaming the ball drop. The champagne bottles are still on the counter, and you just woke up and made your first move of the new year: a healthy breakfast. After that, you go to the gym, crushing a one hour bootcamp and then getting in extra work on your own in the weight room. Time for lunch; you get a salad. Then, instead of watching TV, you read a health blog and start meal prepping for the week. Lastly, you get into bed before 9 and sleep 8 hours. Then you wake up and have the same healthy breakfast, go to the same bootcamp, go to work, come home, prep some bland dinner, and go to bed early again. Then again, then again, then again. 2 weeks later, you’re frustrated by two things; this is too much change so you haven’t “had a life” in weeks AND on top of it all, you have only lost 2 pounds. In a whirlwind of anger and stress, you cave and devour a pint of ice cream and a bottle of wine. The two pounds are back. Then, you don’t get 8 hours of sleep so you say “SCREW IT” on that healthy breakfast and get that drive thru you used to get. You ate like crap, so what’s the point of going to the gym? You feel bad about how you treated yourself, so you make yourself feel better with some ice cream and wine. Then it starts over again….

Sound familiar?

We are not designed to take on overhaul well. Big change is good in DOSES, but not all at once. Instead of making all of the big changes, make one. See if you like just that one big change. If you don’t, instead of giving up change altogether, just attempt a smaller change and see how you do. If you succeed, add another change. If you don’t repeat step 1. Give yourself a chance to change your approach. Too often I see people give up on themselves, not because they failed, but because they couldn’t keep it up. The time and the sacrifice were too much to take on all at once, and they didn’t even know yet if they LIKED what they were trying to do. Some people don’t even want to change their breakfast routine, but hey, all or nothing, right?

Instead of gunning for perfection in your dive into health and wellness, try to do just ONE thing well. When you do one thing well, it gives you confidence to try another thing, then another, then another. By slowing yourself down, you actually gain a chance to succeed MORE often. When you try it all at once, you either fail or you pass, and we all know that passing rarely happens more than once in that case.

You care too much about yourself to set yourself up for failure. So take a deep breath, look around, pick something you want to work on, and give yourself a chance to succeed. Who knows? You might actually enjoy the work and try it again.

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