Something is Better than Nothing

Moderation is something I majorly struggle with in many areas of my life. I’ve written about it several times before, but I feel like I am the prime example of all or nothing. I either eat perfectly, or eat everything. I either work out 5x a week or zero. I have six cocktails or I have none.  I have an extremely productive day on the weekend or else I lay on the couch all day. You get the idea.

This comes true for me with running too. On my MCM training schedule, I had a 10.7 miler scheduled for Saturday of this past weekend. My plan was to wake up at 5am on Saturday and then go running with the Capital Hill Running Club. I’ve even started implementing Friday night movie nights so I still can do something, but it doesn’t involve alcohol and ends early. (I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love by the way and it was AWESOME – highly, highly recommend).

Well, long story short, even though I didn’t drink a sip Friday night and went to bed pretty early, when my alarm went off at 5:00 and then again at 5:15 on Saturday, I couldn’t convince myself to get out of bed and ended up missing the group run.

idiot alarm


Instead of running 10.7 miles, I slept in late and wasted the day away on the couch, watching TV and maybe slipping a few beers in there to cope with the hurricane at hand.

Then yesterday came, and I realized it was my last chance to get a run in on the weekend. I tried and tried to convince myself to do the long run I had planned, but I was just NOT feeling it at all. Thinking about running more than 10 miles was making me cringe, but rather than letting another day go to waste, I headed up to the gym shortly after waking up. I decided to compromise with myself and bang out 6 miles on the treadmill in 58:32 (9:45 pace) and actually felt like a million bucks after.

And you know what? Normally, if I can’t do the whole run I have planned, I am really good at convincing myself to give up entirely and just not do anything. But this time, I knew that doing something would be better than doing nothing, even if I wasn’t up for the entire run on my schedule, and I think I made the right decision. My body, but mostly mind, needed a break, so I gave it one and stepped back on the mileage.  Now, I feel ready to approach this week full force with training and actually feel quite refreshed from stepping back a bit!

I think the bottom line is that, no matter where you are, doing something is better than doing nothing. Going for a 15 minute walk is better than going for no walk just because you don’t have the 30 minutes or hour that you had planned. Doing The Shred for 20 minutes is better that skipping over cross training all together. Oh wait, that was a note to self, wasn’t it? =)

Do you struggle with the all or nothing mentality? How do you overcome it?

32 Comments on Something is Better than Nothing

  1. Holly
    August 29, 2011 at 8:48 am (9 years ago)

    I used to really struggle with the “all or nothing” mentality. I no longer do. I’m not sure what changed, but I just realized that perfection was too hard to obtain and going the “nothing” route made me feel terrible. Some days I’m still too far on the indulgent side, but I never force myself to deny any indulgences and if I really want something, I have it. It took a lot of practice but I’m now at the point where I can actually say no to some cravings. Some I give into, of course, but the ones I don’t I can actually say no to rather painlessly. It just takes practice. There’s a lot of messing up in the meantime, but it pays off.

  2. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    August 29, 2011 at 9:02 am (9 years ago)

    I’m with ya. I seem to self-sabatoge every once in a while. It’s so ridiculous. I’ll be awesome at working out/eating well, then BAM. One day, I just feel “done” and don’t workout and eat through my entire pantry. The middle ground is always harder to find than people say it is…

  3. AbbieBabble
    August 29, 2011 at 9:10 am (9 years ago)

    Oh, Beth, what a perfect post for me this morning- I too, only ended up doing six miles of the long run I had planned. That is WAY better than nothing!

  4. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    August 29, 2011 at 9:10 am (9 years ago)

    Beth I definitely struggle with the all-or-nothing mentality and I get over it the same way you handled it: do something. After our vacation I had a hard time getting back into my training plan, but I did what I wanted – I was “supposed” to run, but instead I went for a walk and did some strength training. Or, I went for a shorter run and did more stretching. Eventually I got back into things.

  5. Stina
    August 29, 2011 at 9:11 am (9 years ago)

    I’ve never actually had a big issue with the all or nothing mentality, but your comment about your body and mind needed a break sums up my biggest roadblock most of the time. I do really really well for a while, and then I just get…tired. I’ll give myself a break, but a lot of the time, it’s really difficult for me to get my act back together after said break.

  6. Jess
    August 29, 2011 at 9:56 am (9 years ago)

    I totally understand. I do the exact same thing when it comes to most things in my life, but in particular exercising and eating. And I am definitley still a work in progress. I think it just takes time and “practice” and having more moments like you did with your 6 miles where you did something, and even though it wasn’t your initial goal, you felt great!

  7. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    August 29, 2011 at 10:13 am (9 years ago)

    Oh ho ho, what a timely post yet again. Except, I very rarely struggle with the “All” part of “All or nothing.” So, it’s mostly just trying to make myself do anything. I’m a work in progress.

    Thanks for your tips this morning! I think I’ll take your tip of walking break after each mile to start with — when you break it down into single miles it doesn’t seem quite as mentally overwhelming…

  8. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    August 29, 2011 at 10:45 am (9 years ago)

    I can easily be all or nothing too. It still takes a lot of effort to remind myself that something is better than nothing and its all about balance. In fact, I know I will have to miss my workout this afternoon so I had to make sure to pray that I don’t let it turn into an oh “what the heck I can stress/emotional eat too”.

  9. Laura
    August 29, 2011 at 10:54 am (9 years ago)

    I am so that girl. Last week was a perfect example. Long days at work, tons of kids activities in the evenings & I just ended up doing nothing instead of at least getting a mile in. The best way I know how to motivate myself is to make myself remember how good I feel even if I just get out and do a little.

  10. Tami
    August 29, 2011 at 10:56 am (9 years ago)

    This is totallly me! I am an extremist on both ends. All or nothing. Glad that I am not the only one who fights this tug-o-war battle.

  11. Lauren
    August 29, 2011 at 11:26 am (9 years ago)

    I definitely struggle with this…and when I figure out a good way to cope, I will let you know. haha

  12. Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio
    August 29, 2011 at 11:31 am (9 years ago)

    I more so seem to struggle with doing “well” in multiple things. I’ll have rockin’ workouts but then I’ll overeat at a meal or I’ll have a great week eating wise but them struggle to get to the gym. I wish I could balance it all out… something I’m working on 🙂

  13. MJ
    August 29, 2011 at 11:32 am (9 years ago)

    That is so me! I’m also an expert at making excuses for not sticking to my meal or workout plan. It is very rare when I do convince myself to do a little something instead of nothing at all, but when I do, I feel great!

  14. Sarah
    August 29, 2011 at 11:47 am (9 years ago)

    I’m an extreme girl too. And lately I’ve been trying to convince myself that something is better than nothing. Though I fall apart sometimes because I’m such a perfectionist that I want it all to be perfect…

  15. Christine
    August 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm (9 years ago)

    I completely agree–I am always all or nothing–I ran the Long Island 1/2 marathon this past May and have struggled all summer to move. I planned another 1/2 marathon the Diva in October, but will not be ready in time. Everytime I start losing weight, I stop. What gives with us??? I would love to learn balance, but how?

  16. Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    August 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm (9 years ago)

    I used to totally struggle with the all or nothing mentality. But now I definitely understand the importance of getting my fitness in – regardless of the shape – form – time – distance… or what have you!

  17. Lisa
    August 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm (9 years ago)

    Something is definitely better than nothing! Even if it’s a “bad run” or I’m just “not feeling it” I always feel better having tried.

  18. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me
    August 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm (9 years ago)

    I totally do. I’m trying to force myself to think 30 minutes is better than nothing! So if I can’t do an hour after work that 30 minutes is just fine!

  19. Rachel
    August 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm (9 years ago)

    I don’t really struggle with the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Instead, I’ll get into the habit of ‘something is better than nothing’ and then will wind up doing really really low intensity workouts and eating unhealthy meals for weeks at a time. I’ll clean my house and be like “okay, I worked out today.” That kind of thing.

    I’m trying to get back into some high intensity workouts but being careful to pay attention to my mental attitudes towards it so I don’t become obsessive or negative, which is my instinctual reaction without hard work and a lot of therapy.

  20. Heather
    August 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Totally have all or nothing mentality, but I’m getting better with it. If I slip with my food choices, instead of continuing down the wrong path I really stop and think about food. BDo I really want more junk? I’m usually able to talk myself out of it. As for workouts, I figure something is better than nothing, so if I’m not feeling a run or gym trip I’ll at least try to do some squats, crunches and push ups at home.

    Sometimes we all do genuinely need a break though too!

  21. Shelly
    August 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm (9 years ago)

    I also struggle with that same mentality. It hit me hard this weekend as well. Mostly my problem is that I will overeat a bit during the day and then feel like my day is ruined. That starts an overeating landslide that doesn’t stop. Usually I skip out on my workout then too. I’m trying to fight all this by telling myself I am only as good as my next meal and my best efforts. How much better will I feel if I at least do something small to get myself back on track? It seems to help!

  22. Maria
    August 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m so guilty of thinking it’s “all or nothing,” but as of late, I keep concentrating on my c25k training and seeing it was “it’s only 3 days a week” and when I’m on the treadmill, it’s only “blank” minutes. I try to think about it in the big scheme of things, like you say, something is better than nothing. I try to minimize the daunting aspect and put it in perspective. It’s most certainly easier said than done, but keep at it girl! You got this!

  23. SlimKatie @ Runs for Cookies
    August 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm (9 years ago)

    I definitely have the all-or-nothing mentality, and I wish I didn’t! That’s something I struggled with my entire weight loss journey. That’s fantastic that you were able to compromise with yourself!

  24. Roz
    August 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth, I definitely struggle with this at times. Yay you for compromise and getting that workout in! Hope this week is a good one!!!

  25. cindylu
    August 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm (9 years ago)

    I struggle with early wake up calls for weekend long runs, but it’s so worth it when I know I got it out of the way early before insane heat and sunshine. Having a long run hanging over your head for a weekend is less fun to me than getting up at 5 am on a Saturday.

    You might want to correct a little typo. Shouldn’t your 6-mile run at 9:45 be 58:32?

    • Beth
      August 30, 2011 at 8:26 am (9 years ago)

      Ohh good catch!! It’s fixed. =)

  26. Madeline - Greens and Jeans
    August 30, 2011 at 7:14 am (9 years ago)

    It definitely took me a LONG time to be able to figure out a way to cut myself some slack and realize sometimes, something is better than nothing. When I’m training for a race and I’m supposed to run 6 miles but I really just run 3 I see if I can swap days around and if not, I just try to remember that it’s just ONE day and in the grand scheme of things, it will all work out.

  27. Jennifer
    August 31, 2011 at 5:21 pm (9 years ago)

    I have this problem too! I’ve been sick for the past few days and I’ve been bummed that I haven’t worked out this week like the past couple weeks where I actually worked out in the morning and at night once or twice a week. But I have to give myself time to feel better and not zap all the energy I have. Next week I’ll get back on it!

  28. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic
    September 2, 2011 at 10:09 am (9 years ago)

    Wow, I so could have written this post!! So true. I am exactly the same way in most areas of my life. If I don’t have time to make the house perfect, I don’t clean it at all. If I don’t have time to accomplish everything on my to-do list, I don’t even start it. And the mentality is even worse in the eating/exercise arena. I’m working so hard to overcome this. I’m so glad you went for the 6 mile run. I’m sure you felt so good after – if only we could remember that feeling the next time we’re tempted to give in to the all-or-nothing mentality.

  29. anna
    September 8, 2011 at 8:31 am (9 years ago)

    STORY of my LIFE!!! It’s awful. I either want to do EVERYTHING or absolutely nothing at all. It’s kind of ridiculous. Why are we programmed like this?! If I do the nothing route (hand in hand with the eat everything route) I feel so crappy! If I do the everything route I get burnt out. Blergh.


1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Something is Better than Nothing

Leave a Reply