Half-Assing It: The Key To Success

If I can’t give it my all, then I won’t do it at all.  If I don’t think I can win, well why should I try? If can’t put my full energy into it, why bother? I just don’t have enough time, so I should not try to do it.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. How many of you have said something like that?  Come on, we all have at one time or another. Sometimes it may be the truth - you just don’t have the time to take on one more thing.  You could also just be an all or none person. If you can’t give it the time and energy you think it deserves to succeed, you just won’t do it at all.   

My personal belief is that there are times we use those mantras as an excuse, for many different reasons. In my opinion, half-assing it, is the way to go many times. Now, those of you who know me, you probably can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth, right? Usually, once I am in, I am all in, and I won’t stop until I reach my goal. I turn on the energy full force, and come out like a power house. That is all true, but, there are so many times that I believe the intense approach is unnecessary.

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Let me give you a few examples that I am sure you can relate to. I will start with the easiest one to analyze, your fitness program. Many of us have great intentions, especially around January. I’m sure you have all said something like this at one point or another: “This year is going to be different. I am going to work out a minimum of 5 days a week for 1 hour. I am going to eat healthy, cut out sugar, try one of those new diets such as Whole 30 and start eating clean once and for all. And to top it off, I will get a minimum of 7 hours a sleep a night and meditate each morning for 20 minutes to reduce stress and anxiety.” Man, that sounds awesome, right?

I am sure the majority of you can relate. You have your own plan and goals for the year (most of you aiming very high). Unfortunately though, although you had good intentions, it is such a big leap from what  you have been doing in the past that your new goals are almost impossible to keep up with, and well, bam, another year goes by without really changing that much. You completely give up, chalk it up to a number of reasons and the all or none kicks in again next year.

As a health club owner for over 30 years, I have seen this time and time again. It always made me so sad. I knew they set their goals way to high but  hey, I can’t blame them, we all want those instant results. I will say this, it’s ok to aim high as long as you are patient with yourself and know that developing those new habits is going to take time. And this folks, is where I am a big component of half-assing it. Why? Because something is definitely better than nothing.

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I believe 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference! Taking a 5 minute walk, running up and down the stairs, doing some push ups, riding your bike, stretching, dancing, anything. On the days you can’t do your full program, go ahead and half-ass it, just get in the habit of doing something, so your brain and body are still forming a positive habit. The same goes with food. Just because you blew your plan on Tuesday, don’t stop the entire thing for a week. Be kind to yourself, change takes time. So you ate some bread at dinner - unless you really are gluten intolerant, so what, keep the big picture in mind and get back in the game tomorrow. Half-ass it, baby! You didn’t stick to your full food plan, but celebrate what you did stick with.

Now let’s apply the half-ass theory to business. Let’s say you’ve always wanted to start a podcast but are not sure if you are ready or have what it takes. You wait and wait until you find the perfect guests, topics and perfect your radio voice. Well bugger, guess what? You’ll never be perfect!  Just start, you don’t even have to air them at first. Record a few and listen to them, get a few kinks out and send it out into the world. If you are passionate about what you are saying, it will shine through. You will continue to get better the more and more you do it. You have to start somewhere!

What about writing a book? You’ve always wanted to, but you don’t have enough time. You want to have at least a 4 hour block of time. Now, you know where I am going with this. Just start writing! No one has to see it. There is no down side to starting and hey, if you call that half-assing, well then so be it.

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This can be applied to so many areas of your life. A recent one for me was cleaning out my closets. I kept putting it off until I had an entire day to work on them. I eventually realized that is not going to happen for a while, so why not start with 1 hour a day, 2 days a week and see where it leads me. Of course it worked and I gave away 20 bags of clothes over the course of some time. Why didn’t I think of doing it that way before instead of putting it off so long?
As I sit here thinking about the term half-assing it, I realize, it is not really half-assing it at all, just doing something in each area of our lives to reach our goals vs. doing nothing. It is getting over the idea of getting started and accepting the fact that not every day is going to be perfect or 100% successful and that is ok. The most important thing is that each day we make an effort to do something, no matter how little, to fulfill our hopes and dreams. But, no matter what, I hope that you are patient with yourself and kind to others.

Sandy Weston