You’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge fan of Jillian Michaels’ workouts. One thing she often says is “don’t phone it in!” meaning don’t do a halfhearted job of exercising if you expect to see results. She certainly has a point, and I definitely see a fitness difference when I’m working out at 100% rather than 50%.
Perfectionists tend to think of things in all or nothing terms. Perfectionism says “if I don’t have the time and energy for an intense hour long workout, I’m going to sit on the couch instead.” That’s fine if thinking that way motivates me to put on my exercise clothes and gut it out during the vicious plank circuit, but it’s not a helpful attitude if it keeps me from working out at all.
I think the admonishment not to phone it in is helpful if your problem is laziness or lack of follow-through but it’s less helpful for perfectionists. Sometimes I think perfectionists should be exhorted “Just phone it in!” Just get your running shoes on, just get your bottom in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard, just get the Bible open and your eyes on the page. Tell yourself it’s OK to phone it in, but give yourself grace enough to do something rather than nothing. Yes, 50% is not up to par, but it’s a good bit better than nothing.
It’s good to excel, it’s good to set the bar high, and it’s good to aspire to great things but Perfectionists (and I know you’re out there)? If your choice comes down to all or nothing and you feel yourself pulling toward nothing, phone it in.