Your mindset is your pattern of thinking.

It can be an enabler or a blocker.

It’s helpful to examine our mindset, especially at times when we feel like we can’t move forwards and we aren’t sure why.

We’ve been fitted for new shoes, we’ve got nice new exercise gear, but we still can’t seem to get out the door.

There are a few common mindset patterns that I am going to write about over a few weeks that stop us from getting to where we want to go.

The first blocker mindset we’ll look at is all or nothing thinking.

This is a right negative Nancy thought pattern that tells you, if you aren’t putting in 110% it’s not worth trying at all. This is closely linked to perfectionism.

This kind of thinking, that you have to be all in or not at all, stops us from going out for a 20 minute run or walk when we don’t have 45 minutes or an hour.

It stops us from starting at all if circumstances and timing aren’t perfect.

The other side of this type of mindset is that we completely overdo it and burn out; which results in a pattern of full on exercise, followed by periods of no exercise. Repeated burning out the has the impact of feeling like we are not getting anywhere and failing, which in turn affects our motivation to start in the first place. Get the picture? Sound familiar?

The good news is that we choose our mindset.

The first step in this is awareness. Notice your exercise behaviour patterns – are they consistent or do you tend to workout 5 times a week for a couple of weeks then do nothing for a month?

Notice your feelings, thoughts and self talk. Does exercising twice a week feel so inadequate that you’d rather not bother?

If so, all or nothing thinking might be a pattern of thinking for you that’s stopping you from exercising (or other things).

Once you recognise that it’s a problem for you, you can start to address it.

The alternative to all or nothing thinking is middle of the road thinking, which is basically setting some boundaries with yourself.

Firstly, look at what is truly realistic over the long term. If you can’t see yourself doing it in a years time it probably means that you know at a gut level that your lifestyle can’t sustain it, so tone it back a bit. I don’t mean not striving to run longer or faster or lift heavier weights, I mean the amount of time spent training and possibly the intensity. It’s okay to exercise for only 20 minutes a day or twice a week. Shift your expectations to a schedule that is sustainable in the long term. Consistency rewards.

The other thing I would suggest is to be gentle with yourself and practice self compassion. This means having empathy for yourself and shifting your self talk from criticism to support.

Often in exercise, as in life, showing up is enough.


Lee is the Director and Principle Coach at Brightside Coaching.

Her goal is to support you to tune into yourself and create a meaningful and engaged life that’s awesome.

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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