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The Problem with “All or Nothing”

March 11, 2020

All or Nothing Fitness

Hands up, if this sounds like you: “I ate a crappy lunch, so I might as well eat a dessert.” “I can’t workout for an hour, so I might as well just not do anything.” “My diet hasn’t been going well this week, so I’ll just quit and start again next week.”

It’s what I like to call an “all or nothing” approach to wellness. Meaning, if you can’t go all in, you don’t do it at all. Sound familiar? I’ve been a personal trainer for 2 years. And believe me, this approach is really common. Unfortunately, it’s just not very effective.

When it comes to health, there are so many things that get in the way: sickness, travel, social gatherings, temptation, our environment. No matter how much you plan, there will always be setbacks. It’s up to you whether those obstacles are just bumps in the road or if they overturn the entire applecart.

It’s time to rethink your all or nothing approach. Here are five tips to help you embrace a middle road between “all or nothing”:

1. Progress > Perfection

No one is perfect, period. Trying to be perfect is just unrealistic. You’re not a martyr — you’re allowed to have a piece of cake. Moderation is part of a sustainable approach to wellness. If you’re making positive changes (even small ones), it’s better than nothing at all! Over time, small changes will turn into big results.

2. Take baby steps to big goals

Start with your big goals, then break the goal down into a concrete plan. If your plan is to lose weight or gain muscle mass, create a game plan. Are you changing your diet or adding in exercise? Good! That’s a start. Then go further and add the how. Are you cutting back on processed food? Can you go to the gym three times a week? Take small digestible steps to get to those big goals.

3. Don’t restrict yourself

There will be times when you’ll indulge on a sweet treat or go overboard on a meal. When there’s a box of donuts sitting in the breakroom… occasionally indulge! And instead of throwing the towel in, get back on track at the next meal. Indulge, enjoy, move on, and do better.

4. Be in it for the long haul

Health changes should be a lifestyle — not a sprint. A 30-day health challenge is great, but the choices you make after those 30 days are even more important. Yo-yo dieting doesn’t work and, in some cases, can be detrimental to your health. When you realize that you’re in this journey for the long haul, falling off the wagon for a meal isn’t going to wreck your progress. The key is getting back on board with it.

5. Celebrate the small things

If you ate a salad at lunch when you really wanted a burger, or you woke up early and took the dog for a walk when you really wanted to sleep in — celebrate that! Be proud of yourself for making that decision! Pat yourself on the back every time you hit a milestone. Nothing is too small to be proud of. You’re making progress, and that’s awesome.


An all-or-nothing mentality just doesn’t work. Set small goals, and start making those healthy changes! Don’t toss your goals out the window because you had one bad day. We all have to start somewhere. If you’re looking for a little help, reach out to us! Our online personal trainers at Vitality Fitness Delivered can help you set goals, get on track and find the balance between all or nothing.

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