100% is easier than 90%

A friend once said “100% is easier than 90%”. I try to remember that when starting something new. It may seem counterintuitive but it’s true.

Getting up early is hard

I have been negotiating with myself about getting up early to do a mere 30 minutes of yoga.  My alarm rings at 6:15AM but my lazy mind is much happier under the warm covers. This morning, a strange, disturbing dream, woke me up up 6:00AM.  Going back to sleep was out of the question.  

Laziness wins

I was awake. This was the perfect opportunity to get out of bed and motivate. Did I seize this great opportunity? No. Ugh! 

Deep down I am lazy. Why is it so hard to commit to behaviors that I actually want? It goes back to “100% is easier to do than 90%”. Let me explain.

10% wants to be 20%

In the limited instances that I have been able to make lasting change in my life I have been all in.  I am 100% from the beginning. The 100% might mean reading every night for 30 minutes or going for a run twice a week. I have to commit 100% to a measurable action. I can’t give my couch potato brain any space to negotiate. 

If I sense that there is a free pass 10% of the time, my lazy mind will eventually increase that percentage. The 90/10 split slides to 80/20, then two days later I rationalize 70/30. By the end of a week it is closer to 50/50. Once my brain has equal footing I don’t have the staying power to compete. My lazy mind wins every time. Without fail.

Knowing where the exits are

I have started all kinds of improvement projects. I generally fail. I fail because I always leave an out.  The out for me is that 10%. That small percentage. So how do I get around that? I am in 100%. I lock all of the exits.

100% doesn’t mean all the time

Remember that 100% doesn’t have to be all the time. I don’t have to wake up every morning at 6AM to do yoga. That would feel more like 250%. And 250% is a recipe for failure. 100% for me right now is Monday, Wednesday and Friday 6AM yoga. If I can ignore the exits then I will be able to maintain the new weekly routine.  What I’m worried about is the one Thursday night I go out with some friends and get to bed late, and tipsy.  Then Friday morning comes and goes without the 6AM yoga. By the next Monday my lazy mind has convinced me that 6AM is way too early for any rational human being to be doing yoga. I stay in bed telling myself that I won’t skip Wednesday. By then we all know what happens.