The all or nothing mindset is not helpful for anybody, especially for moms trying to get their fitness back post baby. Do yourself a favor and eject it from your memory and reprogram your brain with these simple yet effective tips from a busy mom of four.
What is an all or nothing mindset?
The all or nothing mindset is the little nagging thought that tells you, “Well, since you can’t finish the whole workout, you might as well do nothing.”
This could be with any task in life, but the all or nothing mindset can be especially prevalent in the fitness world. As a mom, this mindset is creating limitations and delaying your results. We already don’t have a lot of time to ourselves and we certainly don’t have time to say, “Ten minutes isn’t better than doing sixty minutes.”
How silly does that sound when you say it out loud. Do we encourage this talk amongst our children’s efforts? “You read one word that’s not as good as reading six words.”
Sounds mortifying when put into that context, am I right? We cheer for our children when they take one step and quickly fall to their cute padded diaper butts. When they score their first basket at the end of the season, we cheer and get so excited!
That’s how I want you to feel about exercising-for even just one minute! If you haven’t exercised in a while, one minute can be quite a huge accomplishment. I’m CHEERING for you! Can you hear it? Go mama go!! What a great first step!
All or Nothing Mindset: How about making non-negotiables that are doable
Let me explain.
You have these dreams and visions for your fitness. They seem monumental and overwhelming with the end in mind. It’s good to have these big far off dreams but:
They need to start as very small tiny steps everyday to gain momentum. Think of your action steps as the start of an avalanche (the non-negotiable final goal).
The making of an unstoppable avalanche (your habits are the avalanche btw)
The end of an avalanche is a very big ordeal. This is your habits in full swing. The avalanche didn’t start that way though. It started when the mountains equilibrium was shaken by wind, rain, hikers, temperature change, etc-this is the same as your decision to start your fitness journey. Something changed in you. You had a stirring. A desire. A change in your equilibrium. Something has felt off-you’re tired, sluggish, don’t like what you see in the mirror or you have had a health scare in your family that’s made you reevaluate your current habits.
Now, as the avalanche progress, it starts to pick up speed. This is the same as you starting with small habit changes and continuing to habit stack. You start by drinking one glass of water in the morning before you drink your coffee. Nothing too difficult for you. This turns into you being hydrated throughout the day so a few weeks after the first tiny change happened you start adding a 5 minute walk after your coffee. This is also doable and realistic for you. Eventually, you’re walking for 30 minutes or more and so you continue to add small changes like this until you are easily balancing a healthy lifestyle.
It’s become second nature and part of your everyday life.
If you try to create the avalanche from the bottom of the mountain-trying to change every “bad” habit you have tomorrow- it’s not going to happen. It’s actually impossible for that to happen out in nature and especially in humane nature. The avalanche starts from the top-the smallest part of the mountain until it’s built up into a huge ruble at the base, the largest part where you see the most.
You’re non-negotiable is that you are going to start your fitness journey and see it through till the end *read the day you die*. Sorry to be morbid but this is a lifelong lifestyle and below are the steps to get there.
1. Put comparison to rest
That brings me to the comparison trap many moms face. You see some really fit mom on social media doing all the things you want to be doing yourself and immediately throw in the towel because you don’t look like her or have her fancy counters where she sells her sponsored supplements she’s making a million dollars off of.
Oof. Yeah, she didn’t start that way and most importantly, this fitness thing is you against you. The sooner you get that into your head, the sooner you’ll see the results you’re seeking.
2. All or nothing mindset or show up daily mindset
Everyday do something to the move the needle towards your goal.
If you don’t have time to go to the gym, do a 10 minute at home workout instead of nothing.
Cookies for breakfast, no shame. Make sure to load up on protein and veggies at your morning snack.
10:00 pm rolls around and you only have 3,000 steps. Walk around your house for 15 minutes and get it up to 4-5k but first do yourself a favor and put all or nothing mindset to bed because something is always better than nothing.
Eventually, it will all get easier and you can show up in bigger ways then. Your time will come to really blossom, mama!
3. Never let more than one day of a missed habit go by
If you were just far too tired the night before to get your steps in, make sure you do it the next day! The longer you stay off the horse that just bucked you off, the harder it is to get the courage to get back to the saddle. All or nothing mindset would tell you to throw in the towel since you messed up. But not you. You are smart and capable of change!
Even if you scale back the habit a bit, always get back to it ASAP keeping the all or nothing mindset at bay. I like to have a baseline for my habits so that I can always find myself with small wins like we talked about in the beginning of this post-remind me to do this with my laundry too. If I fold one piece of clothing and put it away, I’ll have won at laundry for the day. Let me know if you relate to this in the comments!
Back to what I was saying. Say you have only had 30 grams of protein all day and you’ve closed the kitchen for the night. You’re protein goal is 130 grams. What are you going to do? Pout and give up? No. Let’s think about this for a minute. Can you find some deli meat in the fridge or make a protein shake in a blender bottle quickly and with minimal mess to clean up? Absolutely! Now, you’re 20-30 grams closer to your goal than you were five minutes ago. Win-win!
If you let the day go by without even considering your goal, it’ll become several days turns into weeks. Then your avalanche is going with the opposite habits you desired!
Reprogram your mind to see how you can move the needle ever so slightly everyday. One baby step closer. Before you know it, you’ll have changed your life with your habits. You’re future self is rooting you on! Now, take action and get after it, no matter how small it may seem to you or others! You’ve got this mama!