You don't phone it in. If you're going to do something, you automatically and without even considering otherwise push yourself to do it as well as humanly possible. That doesn't mean you don't screw up or get lazy sometimes. You do. But mostly, if you're showing up, you're giving it all you've got. All or nothing.
This is for all of you who are already harder on yourselves than anyone else will ever be on you.
I am one of you.
My friends in college told me that, my husband tells me that, and my mother tells me that again and again and again. It's why my therapist in Chicago told me it was okay to shoot for 80% instead of 100%. Because my definition of 100% is way off the scale and sends me straight to over-committed, overwhelmed, and totally strung out.
And here's what that means for me when I do something like Beachbody: I hear the trainer Autumn in the workouts saying, "Push! Keep going! You've got this! Don't give up! Get lower! Get higher! Do more reps than before!" and I keep going, speed up, and do more even though I was ALREADY pushing pretty damn hard. I find out that blackberries are better than grapes in the fruit portions, and I switch to blackberries right away, even though grapes are still a vast improvement and are way more in our budget. I move up in weights when my husband moves up, even though my original weight level was still challenging enough for me.
This time around with Beachbody, I've had to work hard to remember to be consistent and also just a little less intense. To do less weight while my shoulder issue resolved instead of pushing it. To be okay with half a workout when I got up a little late instead of screwing up my entire day's schedule to fit in the whole thing. To show up, do the work, and have that be enough.
You don't always need to push harder.
You don't always need to be better than you were yesterday.
You don't always need to give 100%.
Sweet mercy. Right after I typed that, my automatic thought patterning was that next I should say something like, "Of course, that doesn't mean you should just do it all lazy-like either." I had to pause and remind myself that I don't need to say that because YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO DO IT ALL LAZY-LIKE. That isn't even on the menu.
But 80 percent isn't so much on your menu either. And I want to tell you that 80 percent does not mean you have to level up or you might as well quit. If you're not a personal trainer or a semi-professional athlete, 80 percent can be really dang good. Enough to keep it consistent, not enough to make you miserable.
Because what's your goal here? My goal is actually not to "get the sexy V" (though that would be a nice fringe benefit) or to be the most muscular version of myself possible. Those goals are fine; they're just not mine. My big goal: I'm trying not to die earlier than I have to. And also I like feeling stronger, having more energy with my kiddo, and having my favorite skirt fit comfortably again.
My biggest learning from Beachbody-Consistent-But-Less-Intense has been this: For many things, it's okay to show up, to mostly do the work, to have that be enough. If you outsource your decision-making on food and exercise and anything else in the world, don't also outsource your common sense. Your gut. Your knowledge of your own self, mind, and body.
All my loves who are harder on yourselves than anyone else ever will be: you are not alone. I love you however you can show up.