Does all or nothing thinking get in the way of you achieving your goals? I used to do this all the time. If I was being "good" on my diet then all was great, but if I made a poor choice, then I would derail myself for the day or the week. If my weight was going down then I felt successful and was more likely to be compliant. If the needle on the scale was stuck, then I thought I was a failure and I might as well eat! All or nothing thinking was wreaking havoc with the changes I was trying to make so I continued to "fail". I was focusing on the wrong thing. Focusing on the result instead of the process set me up for failure.
You can stop (or at least minimize) "all or nothing thinking" by working on the little voice in your head. It's the real culprit. Here's what mine says..."Way to go Cath, you ruined your diet today by having those chips at lunch. You might as well have pizza at dinner." Or "you already had one Cosmo at dinner and blown your diet, might as well have another one". I bet our little voices sound a lot alike, right? Change the message and you can change your results.
Setting ourselves up to make good choices and having a focus on making good choices is key. But, we're human. We're going to do things that aren't always the best choice. But, when we do make a choice to deviate from an established plan, we need to make sure that that one choice doesn't turn into an excuse to take a longer term detour from the path we need to follow to get to the goal. So, in the Cosmo example, the internal conversation is "I've had one Cosmo (and it tasted great btw) but having another one puts me further from my goal. I'm going to switch to soda and lime" or "now that I had chips with my lunch, I want to focus on getting back on plan so I'm going to stick to the dinner I've already planned".
I have to work on this little voice everyday. And I've been working on it for the past year...the longest I have ever been able to implement changes in my life in regard to nutrition and exercise. I know that there are certain things that I do, like prepping my food for the week, that make it easier for my little voice to be a positive influence. And, more importantly, I have learned that one decision doesn't have to torpedo days, weeks or months worth of hard work.