Nothing will derail your fitness efforts faster than all-or-nothing thinking.
It’s the voice that says,
“I don’t have a full hour to work out, so I’m not exercising today.”
“I missed my Zumba class, so I might as well go back to bed.”
“I already messed up breakfast by eating the giant bagel, so I might as well eat this cake and French fries, with a super-sized Pepsi for lunch. And order deep-dish meat-lovers pizza for dinner and a side of wings. And get the milkshake for a snack. And sit on the couch and watch the entire second season of Downton Abbey, while I eat this bowl of ice cream topped with crushed up Girl Scout cookies.”
It’s the voice that says, “I’ve screwed up once today. What’s the use?”
All-or-nothing thinking is toxic to your health. The one poor decision you made this morning does not have to dictate the rest of your day. And by all means, it certainly should not dictate the rest of your life!
You have hundreds of opportunities every single day to choose the healthy option.
- You can choose fruit instead of another bagel and cream cheese.
- You can choose to run up the stairs instead of walk.
- You can choose to drink a few sips of water as you swing through the kitchen.
- You can choose to grab an apple and a few nuts as you’re headed out to run errands.
- You can choose to park at the back of the parking lot and walk.
- Or you can just choose to walk and not drive at all.
- Or you can walk faster.
- You can put out the cigarette.
- You can pull into Panera Bread instead of Burger King.
- While at Panera Bread, you can order soup and salad instead of another bagel and cream cheese.
- You can choose to do a quick 20-minute workout instead of scan your Facebook feed.
- You can choose to lift the 10-pound weights instead of the 8-pound weights.
- You can choose to bypass dessert.
- You can pull weeds instead of scrolling through your Twitter feed.
- You can take the kids to the park instead of Sonic.
- You can order unsweetened green tea instead of a venti vanilla latte with extra whip.
- You can grill the chicken instead of fry it.
- You can choose steamed veggies over a plate of pasta.
- You can order salad instead of nachos.
- You can push away the bread basket.
- You can stop eating before you feel stuffed.
- You can choose to bypass the bowl of cereal (or chips) (or ice cream) (or all three) before bedtime.
- You can choose to go to bed and get a full-night’s sleep.
What a tragedy it would be to miss all the little healthy opportunities in a day, simply because you couldn’t get past your choice to eat the bagel this morning.
Listen to me: So what, if you ate the bagel?
So what, if it was a big ole’ giant white flour bagel with zero-nutrition and full-fat cream cheese, and you ate the entire thing, and licked your fingers, and loved every stinking second of it?
You can still choose to run up the stairs instead of walk. And drink a few sips of water as you swing through the kitchen. And grab an apple and nuts on your way out the door….Failure or success in one micro-decision will not determine your destiny. Your health is rarely the direct result of a one-time decision. It’s the byproduct of the 10’s, turned to 100’s, turned to 1,000’s of micro-decisions you make over years.
Fitness is 80% mental and 20% physical.* That means, on the road to health, right thinking is half the battle.
No, wait…I mean 4/5 of the battle.
(It’s been a while since I converted percentages to fractions and then reduced the fraction.)
Whatever you have done today, good or bad, is behind you. You can only start where you are. So, consider where you are right now and think about the healthy choices ahead of you. Then choose the next healthy thing.
If you want to be healthy, ditch all-or-nothing thinking.
*I made this percentage up.
Tell me the next healthy choice you will make. Mine is choosing to do a short workout instead of heading straight for the shower.
Linking up with Jill Conyers–who, BTW, ran 32 miles!!!!!! Go leave her a comment and tell her how utterly impressed you are.