So often in the health and fitness industry, we get stuck on this “all or nothing” idea. We mess up and so we decide to hit the pause button until we can jump back in. For example, have you ever heard or thought yourself any of the following…
“Well, I just ate three slices of cake so there goes my diet for the week – guess I’ll have to start again on Monday.”
“When the New Year comes, that’s when I’ll start trying to lose weight again”
“I was doing really good on my program but then I got sick. I’ll start again next month when I’m better.”
“Things are really crazy right now. I just started a new job and my dad is in the hospital. I need to push pause on a few things right now and I’ll start exercising again when I figure out my new schedule and my dad is doing better.”
Those are just four examples of the MANY statements I could have listed. Now my question to you is – why? Why do we treat our health journey as if we have to be all in, doing 100% perfect, or else we have to hit pause? So often we either aim to be “all in”, doing everything we are “supposed to,” or we make a mistake and throw in the towel.
When does that work in other areas of our life? Let’s replace some of those statements above with parenting, for example. You could replace it with anything you want – being an employee, a spouse, a student, a friend, a neighbor, your religion, learning a sport or musical instrument, etc.
“Well, I just lost my temper with my kid. Guess I better leave for the rest of the week and I’ll start being a parent again on Monday.”
“They can handle themselves the rest of the year, I’m feeling pretty tired of trying to parent. When the New Year comes, that’s when I’ll start being a parent again. ”
“I was doing great at this parenting thing but then I got sick. My toddler will just have to fend for herself until I get better.”
“Things are really crazy right now. I just started a new job and my dad is in the hospital. I need to push pause on a few things right now, and I’ll start being a parent again when I figure out my new schedule and my dad is doing better.”
Put in a sentence that way, those excuses just seem really silly! You don’t get to push pause on being a parent. Once you’re a parent, you’re always a parent! Some days you may feel like a better parent than other days. When there’s a lot going on, you may need to ask for help, or have the kids pitch in and help too. You may not be cooking a gourmet dinner when you’re sick, but you also aren’t going to let your toddler starve!
Parenting isn’t “all or nothing” – it’s about constantly doing the very best you can. You’re always somewhere on the spectrum of “today I kept my kid alive” and “world’s best parent.” As much as we’d like to be “world’s best parent” every single day, that just doesn’t always happen. And exercise and nutrition are the same way!
Our health habits follow a similar spectrum. If 1 is doing only one positive thing each day, and 10 is perfection, more often than not you are going to be somewhere between that 1 and 10 during any given stage of your life. If you’re at a 3 — the point is, you’re at a 3! And that’s two whole steps higher than a 1! Don’t throw in the towel and head back down to 0 just because you’re not at a 10! And then when dad’s out of the hospital and you get used to your new job, maybe you’re able to bump it up to a 4, or a 5. The point is, you’re always doing something.
Remember, we are aiming to build a lifestyle here. And in life, no one is perfect. At different weeks, months, or years, you may be at a different level than previous weeks, months, or years. And that’s okay. The key is that you throw away the pause button, you ditch the all or nothing mentality, and you move forward with a new focus: always something, always something, always something. No matter how big, or how small, always something.