I'm sure we all know of someone who has an 'all or nothing' approach to life and either smash challenges or fall at the first hurdle. This mind-set seems surprisingly common when it comes to improving ones health and fitness, which in my experience 90% of the time does not end successfully.
So what's wrong with the "All or Nothing Approach'?
Firstly, people with this mind-set tend to put too much pressure on themselves to succeed, which at first seems great whilst motivation is at its highest, but once this motivation recedes so does the realisation of dealing with this extra intrinsic pressure. If this becomes too much, then the automatic reaction is to re-tract and protect ones self from the potential of failure.
Secondly, the all or nothing approach means that everything in the path toward a goal must go perfectly smoothly and to the plan if the goal is to be achieved. This in-flexible attitude toward personal challenges mean the first couple of obstacles that pop up creating perceived barriers, will de-stabilise the plan and throw it into trouble. This is often where the 'all or nothing' thinker becomes unstuck. As we all know, nothing in life is smooth and obstacles will always pop up along the way, it's how we react and deal with these that have a big impact on whether we achieve our goals or not.
Thirdly, in my experience there is often overly lofty and unrealistic expectations that can arise from an all or nothing mind-set, which can potentially increase the pressure to succeed. This ramps up the expectation to succeed right from the word go, often leaving a bad taste in the mouth if this doesn't go to plan. These heavenly expectations only make it harder to adapt and change tactics when there are bumps in the road.
Many people with an all or nothing mind-set tend to also have addictive personality traits, which can only ever go one of two ways - to failure or to achievement. There never seems to be a middle ground, which often is the more balanced, more consistent attitude to have when planning a future goal. The middle ground is not sexy and it doesn't sell adverts, but it does improve the potential to succeed. If you find yourself taking the all-or-nothing mind-set to life's challenges then try to prevent this and take a more conservative approach for reduced inward pressure and lower expectations.
Stay positive and in-balance,