Taking extreme measures might seem like a good way to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. “Going all in” can sound pretty appealing. Trouble is, for most busy people, an “all or nothing” approach is an easy way to hinder progress, especially if you’re trying to build positive habits like regular exercise and making smarter food choices.


Let me give you some examples (you may recognize a few!):

1. 6x a week or never at all.

What it sounds like:
“I’ve been thinking about starting an exercise regimen, but when I start, I want to make sure I can go all in and dedicate myself to it, which I just can’t do right now because I’m going through a really busy phase at work.”

A whole year passes by and you never find the time to start exercising.

2. Eat ‘perfectly’ or keep the floodgates open.

What it sounds like:
“I tried waking up at 5am to measure out and prepare my 5 meals a day for a couple of weeks, but I just got so tired of waking up early and eating boiled chicken everyday. Healthy eating just isn’t for me.”

Instead of trying to get whole, natural foods in whenever you can, you simply eat whatever you want, whenever you want, in gluttonous quantities.

3. Get extremely restrictive with your food.

What it sounds like:
“I’m trying to get fit, so I’m only letting myself eat 1,000 calories a day. I’m hoping to lose 30 pounds by June.”

You expose yourself to things like fatigue, brain fog, low energy levels and poor performance. You may also risk messing with your body’s natural cycles and metabolism.

4. Maximum exertion, every single time.

What it sounds like:
“No pain, no gain! I push until I want to throw up at every session! That’s the only way to work out and the only way I’m going to get results!”

You expose yourself to things like fatigue, brain fog and poor performance. You also increase your risk of getting injured unnecessarily.


I could go on, but you get the point, right? “All or nothing” usually isn’t the best approach for busy people. To actually make exercise and healthy eating work for you, you need to put in consistent effort over a pretty long period of time, so you need to figure out how to make your habits last.

The key takeaway here, if it’s not yet obvious to you, is this:

An exercise schedule or eating regimen that’s ‘good enough’ – i.e. something that fits into your lifestyle and is enjoyable and sustainable (and thus conducive to getting results) – is far better than any (theoretically) ‘perfect’ option that you’ll likely end up hating and giving up after a few weeks.

Sometimes, you’re not going to be able to make it to the gym. Sometimes, you’ll just be too lazy. Sometimes, you’ll drink too many beers and regret it the next day. And that’s all ok. In fact, it’s part of the journey. Awareness and consistency, above all else, are key. Try to get it right 80% of the time, and when you can’t, don’t stress out about it and jump off the wagon head-first. Just show up the next day and keep working towards your 80%.

Be Brave