Often we kill our productivity by taking an all-or-nothing approach to our goals or the things we’re trying to do.
By all-or-nothing I mean we try something out and want to knock it out of the park on the first try and when we don’t, we give up.
Over time, we aren’t satisfied and want to give it another try, but end up quitting soon after. It goes without saying this start-and-stop approach to life is super frustrating because we end up going no where.
In this week’s podcast, I share how to toss the all-or-nothing approach to goal getting out the window – and of course I offer some tactical strategies to moving forward even if you’re not getting it perfect.
I’ll see you inside! xo, Janeen
[00:00:00] Janeen: Hey you guys. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. We are talking about all or nothing out the window today on The Mamas Who Do Podcast. I am Janeen Alley, your host, and I am super excited to be with you. Before I dive into the content today, that’s really good. I do have to say it’s very good today, , I wanna talk to you about the app.
[00:00:23] I created an app for you. It is the Mamas Who Do App. You can find it either in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store if you have an Android phone. Both options are available and they’re live right now, and I am super excited. I’ve had some of my clients go through and give me feedback on it.
[00:00:42] The user ability is amazing, but if you are not one of my clients right now and you just wanna get access to some really good content, I have a free course over there called the Follow Through Formula. So go get the app so that you can have access to the follow through formula. There are [00:01:00] seven lessons to the follow through formula that are very easily consumable. So there’s videos and there’s audios. And there is also a P D F.
[00:01:08] If you wanna go through the P D F with me, I walk you through the whole thing. You can fill that out and you will be better at following through on your word to yourself after you go through that mini course. It is one of the best things that I’ve ever put out there, and it is free on my app. One of the things that I am super excited about with this app is, For my clients inside of my paid programs.
[00:01:34] So if you are a member of the Burnout Breakthrough or if you are a member to any of my coaching programs, my either one-on-one coaching program or my coaching membership, it is much easier for you to consume content on the app. It is much easier for you to interact with me on the app and message me directly.
[00:01:53] There is community support and there are even ways to track your progress over on the app, [00:02:00] so it is seriously so good. I’m super excited about it. So you could just check it out for free. Go over and download the app from either the App store or like I said, the Google Play Store, and you can have access to the app in my free program called the Follow Through Formula over there.
[00:02:17] Okay, so let’s get into this all or nothing approach to life that I really want you to throw out the window at the end of this podcast. it is going to, 100%, kill your productivity. If you are somebody who takes an all or nothing approach to your goals. It’s not only gonna kill your productivity, but it’s also gonna kill your growth, it’s going to kill your joy in the process of reaching your goals. And instead, what it’s going to do when we take this all or nothing approach to our goals and to life in general, is it creates this start and stop approach to what it is that you’re trying to accomplish and what it is that you’re trying to do.
[00:02:56] So for example, we give something a go. It doesn’t work out the way that [00:03:00] we want it to, and so we stop. Sometimes we don’t even see that we’re doing this until somebody else calls it out. So I’m gonna call it out right now on the podcast.
[00:03:11] So tell me if you do this, you set out to accomplish something, you tell yourself, okay, I’m going to try this. I’m gonna try to get my kids eat vegetables. I’m going to try to lose weight. I’m gonna start a business, and we give it a go. And, like I said just a second ago, things don’t work out the way that you imagine them too
[00:03:29] and so you give up, you just throw in the towel when that happens. And I want you thinking about what would happen if you tried to go to the grocery store like that, okay? And as soon as you hit an obstacle or a roadblock in your way, or even a red light, instead of just dealing with what’s in front of you
[00:03:49] what so many of us do is we wanna turn around and go back home and start again. We’re like, forget it, I’m done. I’m gonna go home. And sometimes [00:04:00] we start again there and we just stay home. We’re like, I’m not going to the store. It’s not gonna happen. So this isn’t for me. Going to the grocery store is not for me, so we stop.
[00:04:09] If you’re doing this, I want you to stop. I want you to stop this start and stop approach. I want you to stop this all or nothing approach to getting your goals. And it might seem simple, it might seem even silly to have me call it out like this. And when I often am coaching someone and I describe this to someone, they know whether or not they’re doing it.
[00:04:32] They can see it, but we don’t see this happening in real life. We don’t see this happening in our lives usually on a day-to-day. Okay, so when we do this, when we take this all or nothing approach to goals or to the things that we want to accomplish, we end up giving into fear. This all or nothing approach keeps us playing [00:05:00] small.
[00:05:00] When we do this, we’re trying to move forward when we feel like we’re just spinning, right? We’re trying to walk towards something, and we’re just spinning. You think about, you think about walking and spinning at the same time. It’s super hard to stay focused on where you wanna go. It’s not effective. Super frustrating, and I totally get this. I have a tendency to be a little bit more black and white in the way that I think, and I’ve gotten so much better as I’ve become a coach and I’ve coached people.
[00:05:28] I can see this happening for sure in other people’s lives, way easier than I see it happening in my own life. Coaching has really helped me to stop doing this because coaching requires that we get curious.
[00:05:40] Oftentimes when we are coaching ourselves and we’re trying to think about what it is that we’re thinking about, particularly in the beginning, it’s kind of like we’re on the inside of a bottle and we’re trying to read the label on the outside. That’s what it’s like when we’re trying to coach ourselves, particularly in the beginning.
[00:05:56] It’s really hard for us to see what our [00:06:00] brains are doing and how they are generating thoughts and how we believe those thoughts and how those thoughts generate feelings and of course, drive actions and results that we’re getting in our lives. And the reason why I’m bringing this up is because oftentimes what happens when we recognize that we’re kind of doing this all or nothing approach to life, is we start to get really judgmental about it.
[00:06:25] and that Judgment heaped on top of thoughts that we are already thinking that just aren’t serving us very well just is not helpful, . It’s just not helpful at all. So we wanna stay really curious about what’s going on, and when I am either coaching myself or I am listening to one of my clients, I, I really do feel like I’m using a different part of my brain.
[00:06:48] I’m just approaching that whole conversation really differently. If I have a friend come to me who’s really disgruntled about something, I’m totally gonna be right there with her. I’m gonna be super disgruntled right [00:07:00] along with her , because that’s what friends do, right? , but when we are coaching ourselves or when I’m listening to somebody else, you want to, I, I want to keep that head space of curiosity because that helps us to unpack the story, again, without judgment getting involved.
[00:07:19] But here’s the truth, the reason why we choose this all or nothing approach is we don’t like being new . And that in and of itself, I think is kind of fascinating. We don’t like being new. We don’t like failing at things. Because failing, at least from my own perspective, right from my own self, when I fail, sometimes I feel like a loser, right?
[00:07:42] We think we should have so much stuff figured out by now. . That’s what our brains tell us, right? My brain is just like, Janeen, you are in your forties. You should have life figured out by now. , probably, if my parents are listening to this, they’re chuckling right now, right? When we [00:08:00] fail, a lot of the time we feel shame because we’re thinking thoughts like that.
[00:08:05] You should have life figured out by now. And oftentimes what happens when we feel shame is we start spinning out an a shame blame cycle. So when we feel shame, we want to blame. We want to point fingers at someone else. We don’t lose weight. Oftentimes, we blame kids, we blame spouse for bringing home junk.
[00:08:31] right? Our kids don’t eat healthy food, we make it mean we are bad parents. . Okay? When we fail a business, we wanna blame lack of resources or lack of support from our family. Okay? There’s so many different ways that we blame when we feel shame, and this whole cycle just feels like garbage and it’s completely unnecessary.
[00:08:54] Sometimes we spin out in this all or nothing mentality because we don’t know what to do differently, [00:09:00] and we feel stuck. We feel paralyzed, really, because we’re telling ourselves things like, well, I don’t know how. I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know what to try. I don’t know how to do this differently to get what it is that I want.
[00:09:13] And so we just stop. But in truth, we don’t wanna guess because we could get it wrong. , but what if there is no wrong? There’s no wrong y’all . There is no wrong. It’s just us not getting there yet or getting a result that we want yet. But there isn’t a wrong. If we come at our goals from this place of, let’s just experiment with this.
[00:09:38] What if this was just one big experiment to see how I could lose weight or how I could start a business? , let’s just approach it like that instead of running ourselves into the ground to try to get it right, to do it right, whatever that looks like. And again, that’s usually constructs of our own creative thinking.
[00:09:58] right? Again, [00:10:00] not helpful, but we do this. So what if we just let go of that? What if there is no wrong? What if we’re just trying something new. To see what happens and learning about all of it. Just staying super curious about all of it, what’s working, what’s not working, and thinking about ways from this really fun, creative space about what we could do differently to get a result that we want.
[00:10:25] Another thing that I see happening with this all or nothing approach, in fact, I was just having a conversation with somebody on the phone, the other day. and she was telling me, well, I’m just a perfectionist. But I know for myself when I am telling myself things like that when I catch myself trying to be perfect at something or holding back because I’m afraid I’m not gonna get it perfect. That for me is just procrastination with a fancy hat on. But what I’m really doing is I’m just playing scared.
[00:10:53] I don’t wanna put myself out there because again, I might not get it right. Right. I’m probably gonna get it wrong. [00:11:00] And I’m afraid to get it wrong. I’m afraid of being judged, but ultimately I think I’m mostly afraid of that judgemental conversation that I’m gonna have with myself. And maybe somebody else out there in the world might chime in on that.
[00:11:17] Okay. Maybe sometimes that happens. But what it does, all of these approaches to this all or nothing way of being keeps us on the spin cycle, the eternal spin cycle. And we’re dizzy, , that it’s not fun and we’re not going anywhere. So how do we stop this? So I think the first thing that has really helped me to get off of this all or nothing way of thinking, is to recognize that I am on a continuum of learning.
[00:11:52] I think oftentimes when we’re trying something new and we don’t like failing, we wanna get a hundred percent right out of the gate. And I am [00:12:00] somebody who loves a hundred percent. We want to go from zero to a hundred. Right off the bat. We love it getting the gold stars, but that is not the way that it works when we’re doing something new in our lives, right? When we’re doing something new, we’re usually not close to a hundred. We’re usually like five or 10 or 15 on this continuum of mastery towards what it is that we ultimately want. So I hired a new employee last summer. I’ve mentioned this a couple times on the podcast. She’s my niece. She’s my niece in-law actually, and she’s amazing. Little shout out to Lizzie on the podcast and she helps me out with my social media.
[00:12:41] Now this is something that I have tried to do on my own that I have not had a lot of success with because of this all or nothing approach. I would try something and then I’d tell myself things like, I’m not very good at this. This is not working. I’m super shy. I don’t like putting myself out there. I’m not hip enough to be on [00:13:00] social media, , and so I would stop.
[00:13:03] I would stop posting on social media, but this time I’m not making it mean anything about me, which is totally different. The truth is that I choose to believe anyway is I’m totally capable of learning new things, which has been true all along. Actually. I just have been choosing to believe something different.
[00:13:23] But the thing is, is particularly in business, I have literally taught myself how to do hundreds of new things, hundreds just in my business alone. Not, does not include being a mom or being a homeschooler or anything, just hundreds of times just in my business alone. So I could totally figure out social media if I had given myself a chance.
[00:13:43] And the truth is, is I am shy. I’m also not shy. And so this time around I’m just gonna show up and just be myself. That’s the difference this time. And then the last thing when I’m telling myself, you’re just not hip enough like who determines that? Who determines [00:14:00] hipness on social media? I do. There’s not a hip committee.
[00:14:04] It’s just me, . I decide who’s hip on social media and it’s this girl right here. So anyway, back to learning how to do social media. My focus this time around is not only on managing my mind, but it’s also on making sure that I’m getting my systems in place. Okay, I’m checking in with Lizzie every single week, and we’re just talking about, well, how are things going?
[00:14:30] What’s not working? What’s going really well? What could we do differently? What needs to be improved? Okay. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there and I’m totally focusing in on the gains, and I honestly give myself little pats on the. all day long about social media. . Yeah. Okay. Not all day, but at least once a week.
[00:14:54] I’m like, Hey, look at that. I created that. That’s pretty awesome. Okay. So yeah, [00:15:00] that’s where I’m at with that. And six months ago I was not doing that. It was still this, all or nothing. So you want to recognize yourself on a continuum of learning and growth and change. Recognize that and allow yourself to be exactly where you’re at.
[00:15:20] Okay. That kind of leads into my next point. You want to give yourself permission to be new at doing something, even if you’ve been doing something for a while. And again, that’s subjective, right? Who, who cares how long something is, right? How, how do we determine when we should have mastery over something?
[00:15:41] We do. And for me, I just like to kind of take this beginner approach to a lot of things. I’ve been teaching yoga now for four years. . And when I started teaching, I remember thinking, wow, the teachers who have been teaching for four or five years, they know so much. And now I’m kind of in that [00:16:00] space where I’ve been teaching for about four years now, and I still feel like I’m new.
[00:16:05] But to be truthful, this is how I want to feel in a lot of spaces in my life because number one, I know I never stop learning. And number two, I don’t want to. And I think if we feel like we’ve arrived at something, we stop the growth in that area. Right? If we’re approaching something, like we’ve got all the answers and we’ve figured it all out, we are not in the space to receive, to receive more information.
[00:16:37] Okay. . All right, so that leads me into my third thing. It’s kind of nice how these points all kind of segue into the next thing. Okay. So the next point that I have to hop out of this all or nothing space, this all or nothing head space, is to stay curious. I’ve kind of talked about this already on this episode.
[00:16:58] You gotta leave judgment at the [00:17:00] door. You have to. In order for you to give yourself permission to be new and to allow yourself to be on this continuum of growth, you have to stay curious. Curiosity leads us into compassion. It leads us into love. And if you can love yourself to your goal, that is where the magic happens.
[00:17:23] number one, it feels so much better to be on this continuum of growth and be excited about what it is that you’re learning instead of beating yourself up the whole way. Okay? If you’re approaching your life like you’re broken and you need to be fixed, which so much of us do, and me included sometimes, so often, what happens when we’re in that space that we are broken and we need to be fixed we will beat ourselves up with thoughts that we’re thinking.
[00:17:50] I think the reason why we do this is because we tell ourselves, if I feel like garbage enough, then I’ll do better next time. [00:18:00] Now, I know this doesn’t work for me. , if you talk to yourself like that, . Usually what happens is you end up feeling that garbage, right?
[00:18:09] You actually avoid putting yourself out there because you don’t wanna fail because you don’t wanna have another one of those conversations with yourself again, who would? You’re not being kind to yourself when you don’t get it right. So why would you try to do that again? Right? It’s, this is all happening subconsciously, but I want you to be aware of that conversation.
[00:18:33] So the answer is to stay curious. When we are curious and we’re thinking things like, huh, I wonder why I’m thinking like that. I wonder why I feel like I have to get this right, or I wonder what that even looks like, or why am I not giving myself permission to be wrong about this? Oh, it’s because I’m afraid I’m gonna be judged.
[00:18:55] Oh, that’s okay. Just give it a try and see how it goes. Give it a shot. I totally give you permission [00:19:00] to try that and to fail, and let’s just see what happens. Do you see the difference between that and feeling like, oh my gosh, I don’t wanna put myself out there because I might fail and feel like a big fat loser, and then that would be the end of that.
[00:19:12] Okay. Don’t do that. Okay. The last little tip that I have for you, and this is probably the biggest one that I have, this has made such a big difference in my life and the way that I approach my goals to really get my brain to shut off this all or nothing kind of conversation. And it is to pay attention to how far I’ve come when it comes to my goals.
[00:19:38] So for me, this means I celebrate showing up. That is a huge win. I celebrate practicing new things and doing the things, again, big win. I celebrate learning ways to do things better, and when I’m in this headspace, I’m able to see my progress. I read a book last summer called the Gap in the Gain by Dan Sullivan and [00:20:00] Dr. Benjamin Hardy and it is one of those books that I listened to twice on Audible and I bought a hard copy of. This is one that comes up in lots of conversations. My clients know about The Gap and The Gain for sure. What happens most of the time and the way that we think is we set a goal, let’s say, and this is an example actually from the book and the way that they teach this, we wanna keep this, this teaching really simple. So let’s just say your goal is to get to 30, whatever that equals in your mind. It could be a weight loss goal. It could be money in your bank account.
[00:20:38] I mean, whatever the goal is. 30. Okay. And let’s just say that you have progressed to 22, and oftentimes what happens is we get super discouraged because what we’re looking at is the gap.
[00:20:51] We’re looking at the gap between 22 and 30, and all we see in our minds is negative eight. That’s what we’re focusing on. Instead of [00:21:00] being, Hey, look at how far I’ve come. I’m at 22. I had just gained 22, what we often think about is just the negative eight. So again, your goal is to get to a hundred. Let’s say you’re at 10.
[00:21:14] I know for some of you’re like, it’s only 10 . You need to celebrate the heck outta that 10. It’s a plus 10, my friends. It’s not a negative 90, it’s a plus 10. That’s the continuum I was talking about earlier. I think so often what happens, you know, when we’re trying to change our diet, for example, all we need to do is just take a step in the right direction.
[00:21:34] We just need to make a 1% improvement. James Clear talks about this in his book, atomic Habits. He talks about the 1% improvement that we can make towards a goal, but we don’t like that. We don’t like that because it means we’re not at a hundred. But listen, my friends, if you started at zero and you’re now at a 10, you need to celebrate the heck out of that 10, you made it to 10. And let’s say this next week, you make it to [00:22:00] 11 and a half . Okay? That is what you need to focus on. That is the difference between the gap and the gain. And when we’re in the gain, my friends, when we’re in the gain, we are so much more likely to continue along that path.
[00:22:16] But when we’re in that gap headspace. We’re like, forget it. What’s the point of doing this? Why should I even bother. I’m not making any progress because all we’re focused in on is how far we have to go. I was coaching one of my clients last week and she has, she has a weight loss goal and this particular day she had actually eaten everything on her protocol.
[00:22:39] She was killing it on that day. She had eaten every single thing on our protocol, but she also had some popcorn and I think some chips and salsa that was not on her protocol, and her thought process was, I’m never gonna get it, so why should I bother doing this? I, of course, could coach her on why she overate the [00:23:00] popcorn and the chips and salsa for sure.
[00:23:02] But what I was more concerned about was this all or nothing approach to her health and to her food. The truth was she had knocked it out of the park with her protocol. She had eaten every single thing on a protocol. What all her brain was thinking was I overate, I’m never gonna get this. Do you guys see the difference? I hope you do. This is the thing that’s so important with our goals is we need to focus on the gains. Focus on how far you’ve come. I think this alone will help you to throw that all or nothing mentality out the window.
[00:23:40] All right, my friends. That is what I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast. Throwing the all or nothing mentality out the window has made a huge difference for me in my life. So I hope it was helpful to you as well. And if it was, I would love it if you shared this episode with a friend.
[00:23:58] I know we all have [00:24:00] friends who do this. I think this is a very common approach that we take to life. So if you are thinking about somebody right now, I would love it if you shared this episode with them. All right, my friends. Have a beautiful rest of your week. We’ll catch you guys soon. Take care. Bye.