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Exercise: That All or Nothing Mindset

by jenny sansouci on February 7, 2012

“Hell or glory, I don’t want anything in between.” {fall out boy}

Oh, all or nothing mindset…you’ve made me feel, at times, both fiercely motivated and hopelessly paralyzed.

The all or nothing mindset goes along with my little friend perfectionism. Either you do it the best way possible, or you don’t do anything. Have you ever felt that way? Chances are, you have. I see it every day in myself and almost everyone else in my life.

Especially when it comes to exercise.

Sometimes, I get an idea in my head of what the “perfect” amount of exercise is - whether it’s a 60-minute jog, a 90-minute yoga class, or something else. If I do anything less than that, it’s not worth it, so why bother doing anything?

That mindset can lead to being inactive on days where I could have easily gotten in a nice 20 minute run or done 15 awesome minutes of yoga at home.

Do you find, that if you have too many days in a row of not exercising at all, it suddenly turns into two weeks? The thing is…if you just make SOME type of movement or exercise a priority in your day, you’ll get into a routine where it’s not even a question - you just do SOMETHING. That way you won’t wake up 2 weeks later groaning and stressing about not working out for so long.

Things to remember for people who have the all or nothing mindset, like me:

  • Walking is exercise. It truly is. Even if you can’t fit in your usual workout, take a break and walk somewhere.
  • 15 minutes of yoga at home can get things flowing.
  • Push ups or crunches don’t take long. You can even do push-ups against the wall in bathroom stalls, like Tim Ferriss in the 4-Hour Body.
  • The Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD is just 20 mins long – totally doable.
  • If you’re going out to run errands or going anywhere that you don’t have to dress up, wear your running shoes. Walk a little faster than normal. Take the long route. Walk a few extra blocks.

I know how hard it is to bust out of that all or nothing mindset, especially with exercise. I always want to get my “ideal workout” in – but it’s not always the reality, so these are great things to remember!

Anything else to add? Do you have the all or nothing mindset when it comes to exercising?

 

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Talia @ Bite Size Wellness February 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I can totally relate to this feeling. Thanks for bringing it to light and showing that I am not alone!

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Megan February 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Jenny–great post! My 3 years of PA school life with 12 hour shifts made me SHIFT my thinking when I cant get in a ‘full length’ workout! Sometimes the best I can do is 15 mins of yoga in the am before I head out the door and maybe another 20 when I get home before studying, or a couple 10 minute study breaks at night but I make it a priority to do something every day. I have also worn my pedometer at the hospital a few times just to see how many miles I was logging running all over the place during the day (and I take the stairs at the hospital…always!)! During my ex phys program the director used to quote studies that showed that 3, ten minute sessions of exercise (like walking or running) during the day still promoted similar weight loss in research participants when they were compared to their counterparts doing a single 30 minute bout. The take away point is NOT that its all about the ‘calorie burn’, but that it just goes to show that every little bit you can fit in counts (not to mention the wonders that a 10 minute walk or yoga break can do for you mental clarity and focus!) Thanks for the great insight!

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Elysia February 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Yes I can totally relate! Funny thing is I’m getting back into it and started with yoga and during yoga thought I’m going to challenge myself to do something at least 30min or more a day. That can be any form of exercise being yoga, run, push ups and sit ups ect. but I’m not including walking in my personal acceptance since I walk all the time everywhere not having a vehicle. And just put an app on my phone that has tons of workouts utilizing little or no equipment to help change it up! Thanks for the post:)

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Laura@ joyful shimmy February 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm

OMG I can totally identify with the all or nothing mentality when it comes to exercise. I think it has taken me years to accept that it’s ok to build upon a practice. Sometimes rest days are just as necessary as active days. I’m getting over the flue which has meant slowing down considerably but now that I’m getting my energy back I’m looking forward to slowly get back on track with my exercise routine as it just gives me sanity.

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Emma February 11, 2012 at 4:16 am

I like taking the stairs (I hate lifts anyway!), walking up escalators, doing pushups and dips at work and parking further away from my destination :) little things really add up!

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