The Complete Guide to Stop Half-Assing Everything

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Surprisingly, a lot of people deal with the habit of half-assing. It’s important that we quickly free ourselves from this habit because it can do a lot of damage to both our relationships and to our professional lives.

When I was in high school, I had a natural inclination to either do something absolutely perfect or to not do it at all. Half-assing is very similar to perfectionism. They both can stem from the same problems.

If you’d love to start having a decent routine,  consistently working out, or start knocking your assignments out of the ballpark – then this is the perfect post for you.

1. Acknowledge Your Half-Assing

None of us like to admit that we have flaws. Taking the first step by acknowledging your half-assing is the most important action you can take to improve.

I’m assuming you’re here because you already acknowledged the problem. 

 Good for you!

2. Do Some Emotional Work

Before we start the section, I’d like to ask you to grab a piece of paper, a notepad, or anything where you can jot down your thoughts. 

 And I’d like you to ask yourself the question:

Why are you half-assing?

 Is it because you’re lazy, you’re insecure, you feel angry?

When I was younger, I felt that the adults in my life were taking all of the credit for the things that I worked hard for, so I started half-assing as a way combat this.

Basically, I didn’t want them to get the credit for my hard work. While this is a silly example, some of you may find that you can personally relate to this.

Figuring out the emotions or main cause for your half-assing will help you determine what the best course of action is.

Your course of action will depend on the cause. 

3. Change Your Self-Talk

 A lot of the time when we first decide that we want to stop half-assing, we tend to have this view of ourselves. 

We’re lazy, or incompetent, or we’re not good enough as we are. 

You shouldn’t feel pressured to stop your half-assing for the sake of others or as a result of your incompetence.

You should understand that this journey is for you and you only. 

If you have the expectation that you’re going to stop half-assing for a particular person or for your job, you’re more than likely going to fail.

Instead of thinking that you’re lazy and incompetent, instead, think of how proud you are of yourself for coming this far and for not giving up. 

Think about how amazing and complex you are as a human being, the special characteristics you have, and the perseverance you’ve shown. 

Giving yourself positive self-talk, especially when you fail, will help you to overcome any obstacles you may face. 

4. Embrace failure

 Sometimes half-assing is a way for us to combat the uncomfortable feeling of failure.

 Why try if I’m going to fail anyway?

If you’re a person who feels like this, I want you to remember that everyone fails all the time

Failing is learning and if you’re not failing, you’re not learning.

We try even if we’re going to fail – for ourselves. For our self-esteem, for learning, and for the sake of helping others.

If this is the reason you’re half-assing, I suggest and look more into embracing your failures and building confidence in yourself.

5. One Step at a Time

Now, when you realize what’s causing your half-assery, and you’ve decided to change your self-talk, you can identify the first area you can improve in.

At this stage, you may have many areas where you need to improve. I want you to choose one.

Try to avoid choosing an area because you want to be better externally. (External is rewards or praise from others).

Choose one area, that you personally want to improve in – purely for yourself and maybe even for fun.

 If you choose to stop half-assing for someone else, you will give up.

 Once you stop half-assing for yourself, you’ll be able to stop half-assing for others as well. 

6. When You Should Half-Ass

There will still be times that you need to half-ass things.

Whether it’s a deadline coming up, or you’re completely exhausted, there will be times when half-assing is okay.

Typically, you know it’s okay to half-ass something as long as you’re not repeatedly half-assing it.

For example:

You notice a deadline for a paper is coming up.

You accidentally forgot to block out time for it & now you’re behind.

It may be better to half-ass the paper – than not sleep for three days. 

If you keep finding that you’re waiting until the last minute and turning in half-assed papers, then you know that you need to improve in this area. 

If you find that you’re half-assing as a result of assuming ‘Meh, it’s good enough. I deserve a break’, you need to give yourself more structure. 

Before the session, determine when and how long you’ll take breaks, and what exactly you’re going to be accomplishing before you allow yourself to take a break. 

If you notice that you’re half-assing something, do not allow yourself to take a break. By taking a break, you’re rewarding yourself for half-assing, which continues the cycle. 

7. Stop Allowing Invalid Excuses

Because of the self-care movement, a lot of people have lost touch with what is and is not a valid excuse.

 I am all for self-care and the importance of giving yourself a break, but it’s still important that we don’t use self-care as a way to procrastinate or as an excuse.

Valid excuses look like this:

  • An unexpected event occurred
  • You’re sick
  • You’re mentally not okay
  • It doesn’t impede your productivity long-term

Invalid Excuses look like this:

  • When you could have avoided an outcome
  • You just don’t feel like doing something
  • You’re rationalizing bad behavior as ‘out of your control’
  • You’re hurting your productivity long-term

It is still a case-by-case basis, which just means that sometimes these invalid excuses will be valid.  

Think about the excuses you make to yourself and whether or not you’re being honest. Ask yourself, ‘Are you really being truthful right now? Is this excuse a way to allow yourself to procrastinate or half-ass?’.’

It’s important to stop making excuses and it’s also important that you’re still taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Sometimes, when we’re mentally not okay, we can use this as an excuse to not do anything. When it becomes a long-term problem, it’s important that you stop using it as an excuse and decide to get help or take action.

Because at that point, we’ll continue to be unhappy if we stay in the same position and don’t change.

8. Review Daily

At this point, you should have determined the steps you’re taking, you’ve recognized invalid excuses, and you’ve chosen the first item you’re going to stop half-assing. 

Now, it’s important to set up a system so you can track your progress and improve. 

After each day of improving your half-assing, write down the good and the bad. What excuses did you make? What can you do to avoid using these excuses tomorrow?

Reflecting and experimenting will help you to make adjustments that are personalized for you and your situation.

9. The Habit of Half-Assing and The Perfectionist Trap

It’s not a secret that half-assing is a habit.

 The great thing about habits is that you have the power to change them.

If you think that you are too far gone or you’re too lazy to actually accomplish what you’re wanting to in life, don’t give up on yourself just yet.

Although it will be hard and it will take a lot of time, you can learn and teach yourself how to be a better human and to accomplish the things you want in life.

I also don’t want you falling into the perfectionist trap either. 

When we stop half-assing things, sometimes we feel the need to do them absolutely perfectly.

 Think of it like this:

You should be towards the right end, not in the middle, but definitely not in the far right or left. 

There comes a time where you’re spending too much time on something and only improving a little. Find that sweet spot where you try your hardest and bring the best result, but you don’t end up wasting time by perfecting everything. 


Stop Half-Assing Everything Mindmap

I really hope this article helped you to become a more productive and happy person.

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