The all-or-nothing mindset, is a common obstacle many women face in the quest to become a healthier, more confident version of themselves. But fear not, because this post dissects perfectionism and gives actionable strategies to send it on its merry way.
Understanding the All-or-Nothing Mindset
Most of us have experienced the all or nothing mindset in our health and fitness. You start off on your ‘health kick’, excited and ready to go. You hit the ground running (sometimes quite literally) and make big changes.
But then something happens…
A spanner gets thrown in your way, a challenge comes up and you can’t be perfect - so you go the other way. You descend into doing nothing. You throw in the towel, give up your health kick and go back to your old habits.
Now whilst this seesaw of 'all-in' to 'not at all' sounds fun… it’s not very useful for your health and fitness.
But where does this perfectionist mindset come from?
The Roots: Unveiling the Perfectionist Within
This mindset often traces back to our childhood. I often find there are 3 main types of perfectionists – the overachiever, people pleaser, or FOMO-er.
The overachievers did well in school - they excelled and got rewarded for getting a perfect score on their tests. But that left them feeling like anything less than perfect wasn’t good enough - so what’s the point?
The people pleaser found that if they made everyone else happy first, they’d always be safe and included. So when your partner says, “Shall we get a takeaway, I’ve had a bad day.” Even if you don’t want that, the people pleaser in you says "I’ve got to make them happy first. I’ve got to be the perfect partner".
Finally the FOMO-er. This version of the perfectionist always wants to be included and fears being left out. So they join in with whatever the group is doing to stay part of the tribe. You might be out with friends and everyone else is drinking, you get a drink because you don’t want to be the odd one out. But then you’ve messed up your diet, so you go all out because you’ve got to keep everyone else happy.
These perfectionist mindsets served you in the past - probably as a child - but they’re not serving you now as an adult who’s trying to be fit and healthy.
So how do you get out of these mindsets?
Consistency, over perfection
Despite what you might think - perfection is not the goal. Consistency is. And that’s why you might want to start prioritising consistency over perfection. In fact, that’s the best way to make progress on a psychological level.
Our brains thrive on challenges and learning from failures, but not overwhelming ones. Striving for that 80-85% success rate sparks growth and progress. It's easy enough to do, but not so easy that you don't do it.
Think of it like hitting your step goal or staying hydrated. Even if you're not perfect every day, those consistent efforts accumulate. It's about making progress every day, even if it’s small progress.
If you’re ready to bid farewell to perfectionism and take your habits to the next level, take the Healthy Habits Quiz. It takes less than 90 seconds and you’ll get personalised feedback on how to improve YOUR habits.