15 Ways Your ‘All or Nothing’ Mindset is Sabotaging Your Progress In Life

15 Ways Your ‘All or Nothing’ Mindset is Sabotaging Your Progress In Life

As a recovering “all or nothing” thinker, I understand how hard it is to change your tune, especially when you have such high expectations for yourself. However, I urge you to train your brain to let go of that perfectionism and unrealistic expectations to make room for resiliency, positivity, and balance. Life’s way better on the other side when you let go of your extreme mindset. Here’s how you’re holding yourself back.

1. You’re Creating Unrealistic Expectations.

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“All or nothing” thinkers often have unrealistic expectations about what can reasonably be accomplished. Since you won’t accept a baseline or acknowledge the accomplishments of small goals, you have no idea what can reasonably be achieved. This leads to our out-of-the-park goals that not even a superhuman could accomplish. You may be aiming for the stars, but the moon is pretty cool too.

2. Your Perfectionism is Paralyzing You.

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With an “all or nothing” mindset, something less than perfect isn’t worth anything, so you’ll only do it if you are 100% confident your work is perfect. This will leave you paralyzed in inaction because — newsflash — nothing is perfect! It’s like waiting for it to rain money — it just isn’t happening! Embrace imperfection and start acting.

3. Your Small Wins are Overlooked.

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“All or nothing” thinkers believe the only win is when the goal is met, but what about just being better than you were the day before? The week before? The year before? Any positive step is a means for celebration, and you should take advantage! Celebrate every small victory along the way.

4. You’ll Miss Out On Other Solutions.

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When “all or nothing” thinkers are so focused on achieving their desired result, they often have their blinders up to everything around them, including a better strategy. Since they’re not marking their progress and setbacks healthily, they have no idea if their current plan is even working. A better solution or strategy could be right in front of you!

5. Your Wins Are Short-Lived.

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Being so extreme in your POV means you don’t have time to stop and celebrate the wins you manage to achieve. You’re on to the next one before the dust has settled on the massive feat you just accomplished. In this crazy thing called life, we must take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate the good. Don’t just gloss over it. Put it on a pedestal and revel in it for a while because you deserve it.

6. You’ll Never Feel Content.

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Even if you achieve a goal with your “all or nothing” mindset, did you really? I would bet that it still doesn’t feel like enough. Since you always aim for the impossible or quickly move on to the next thing, you’ll never be content with where you are.

7. You Will Inevitably Burn Out.

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Let’s say your “all or nothing” mindset is working for you (for now). You’re accomplishing goals left and right, but you push through to the next thing instead of stopping to maintain them. Suddenly, you have no energy to work towards your goals, let alone function! This is called burnout, and it WILL happen without balance in your life.

8. Your “Failures” Will Set You Back Further.

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When “all or nothing” thinkers rush to accomplish something, they often neglect to create habits to accompany success, so when you inevitably fail or burn out, all the progress is lost and you’ll have to start again — with less energy and a negative mindset because of that failure. Learn to dust yourself off and keep going.

9. You Experience Negative Self-Talk.

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When you experience what you classify as failure in your “all or nothing” mindset, it’s usually accompanied by negative emotions directed at yourself. As I said above, nobody’s perfect, so you can’t expect that of yourself. You must give yourself grace! Otherwise, you can spiral into that nasty world of negative self-talk and low self-esteem that is not productive in any way. Be your cheerleader; you’re doing better than you think!

10. It Will Increase Your Anxiety.

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As a recovering “all or nothing” thinker with anxiety, I know firsthand how hard it can be to break out of this cycle. You want to accomplish your goals, but the fear of failure and the unrealistic perfection standard is too much to attempt. This kicks your anxiety up a notch, which can be very dangerous for your health.

11. You Will Miss Out on Other Opportunities.

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When we have our “all or nothing” blinders up, we will miss alternate strategies for that goal and other opportunities not even related to it. If you only focus on one area of your life, you are neglecting everything else and, therefore, you may miss out on something incredible. Take the blinders down and allow balance to lead your life. Trust what the universe is bringing you.

12. Your Relationships Will Become Strained.

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Unless your “all or nothing” mindset sets your unyielding attention to improving your relationship, those close to you will start to feel ignored and neglected. If you only allow yourself to dedicate energy towards one goal, this leaves those you care about without. Plus, bringing your unrealistic expectations of perfection into a relationship can also doom it.

13. Procrastination Becomes Your Go-To.

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It can take time to achieve a goal. You’ll only start if the circumstances are perfect. You’ll keep finding excuses not to start because you know you will fail. This means even though you’ve set lofty goals, you’re actually doing nothing to progress.

14. You Develop a Lack of Resilience.

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If you give up because a goal is not being met to perfection, this is creating a lack of resilience. Everyone is going to fail, but it is how you bounce back from those failures that matter. An “all or nothing” mindset stops you from being flexible and adapting to new circumstances, creating skills that build resilience. Learn to roll with the punches and come out stronger on the other side.

15. You Miss Out on Life’s Small Moments.

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As Hannah Montana so wisely says, “Life’s a climb, but the view is great.” You may have big goals you want to accomplish in life, but being so consumed with achieving them means you are missing out on all the beautiful small moments a full life can offer. Slow down and look around. You can find beauty and positivity everywhere and every day– don’t blink, or you may miss it!

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Greta is a freelance writer who runs on coffee and cheap wine.