You’re either a success or failure? Everything is perfect or the end of the world? Do you have an all or nothing personality? Here’s how to stop all or nothing thinking and FINALLY get ahead in life.

Here are a few examples of all or nothing thinking. Does this sound familiar?

  • “I’m an all-or-nothing person”.

  • “I can’t do moderation”.

  • “I either ‘on’ or ‘off'”

  • “If I mess up, I convince myself that I’ve ruined it already and start again tomorrow”

Are you yes… and then no? Are you hot… and then cold?

Well done. You’re officially a Katie Perry song. 

Want the good news? 

You have the ability to stop being an ‘all-or-nothing’ person. 

Here’s what you need to do to let go of your all or nothing mentality:

1. Stop telling yourself you’re an ‘all-or-nothing’ person.

How to stop all or nothing thinking? Stop tellin yourself that this is you! If I told myself every day that I was useless and ugly, I would believe it. And if I told myself that “I’m an all-or-nothing person”, I’d believe that too. 

Being an ‘all-or-nothing’ person is a decision. The more you tell yourself: this is the way I am, the more you become that person.

Stop sabotaging yourself. You don’t have to be an ‘all-or-nothing’ person. 

Action this: The first step to changing a thought behaviour is becoming aware that you’re doing it. 

a). Notice ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking. For example: “I’ve ruined it already”, “I should do more” or “When it comes to health, I’m an all-or-nothing person”.

b). Then, tell yourself: “I am good at balance” or “I can be healthy without going to extremes”. Keep reminding yourself until you believe it. 

2. Accept that ‘a little bit’ really is enough

You might be thinking: 

  • What’s the point in going for a walk or yoga? It won’t really make a difference.

  • If I want to lose weight, I need to go 100% clean or nothing will happen.

  • I can’t just have a little sugar. That’ll never work.

  • Go hard, or go home. I won’t progress if I don’t push myself.

Swap intensity for consistency. Image: Lyndi Cohen
How to stop all or nothing thinking? Swap intensity for consistency. Image: Lyndi Cohen

Honestly? None of this is true. 

A little bit done consistently IS the difference.

A little bit done consistently is exactly what gets you to your goals.

A little bit done consistently is MORE than enough.

A little bit done consistently is ALL YOU NEED. 

Adopt the mindset that ‘just a little’ makes a big difference. 

3. Aim for progress, not perfection. 

When I go for a jog, I run at such a leisurely pace, I think it should be call ‘yog’ (with a silent ‘J’). It’s certainly not a run…! And sometimes, I just walk. But you know what? A walk or ‘yog’ are far better than not doing anything. Going slowly means I enjoy it more.

Yes, I sacrifice intensity because I don’t ‘go hard or go home’ but you know what I gain? Consistency. And consistency, my friends, is what makes you healthy. 

Stop aiming for perfection (which is so hard to maintain) and instead, simply aim to make progress. 

You don’t have to win the race to get to the finish line. 

I don't always stand like this but I am generally this happy when I go for a walk (and get to listen to my podcasts).
I don’t always stand like this but I am generally this happy when I go for a walk (and get to listen to my podcasts).

4. Praise yourself for the small wins

How do you win a war? One battle at a time. 

You also eat an elephant one bite at a time. 

Get good at acknowledging the small wins. Because the small wins add up to get you to your goal. 

Here are some examples of small wins that you can start aiming for – and celebrating.

  • Eating one more serve of vegetables every day.

  • Drinking one less glass of wine, consistently.

  • Exercising one more day a week consistently (or taking one more rest day, if that’s what needs to happen for more balance).

  • Cooking one more meal at home each week.

  • Bingeing one less night a week. (My program Keep It Real can help)

  • Going for a walk.

When you do these ‘little’ things, they add up to something big. 

Not convinced? I’m not a fan of counting calories but this example gives it some perspective. If you burn an extra 100 calories a day (or eat a little less), for a month, you’ll lose 1 kilogram (2.2lbs). Keep that up for a year, and you’ll no longer doubt that the small stuff makes a difference anymore.

You don’t write a book. You write many words, which become sentences, then pages, then chapters and then a book. Start simple. 

Action this: Say out loud (or in your head) “I am proud of myself for __________”. Keep a list of all the little changes that you make. 

Need a little extra support to implement consistent, healthy habits in your life? In my FREE 30-day F*CK DIETS challenge I’ll teach you how to say goodbye to crappy old-school diet advice and create a healthier relationship with food.  Click here to sign up.