Half-assed living is a slippery slope. We pick and choose which things we’ll do our best at and the things we’ll only do well enough to get by, pretending we can balance it. But half-assing is like a slow-acting poison—it penetrates your mind over weeks and months, until one day you wake up and realize…

You forgot what whole-assing feels like. (And your solopreneur career has tanked!)

That’s the path of least resistance, for ya. The more you half-ass, the easier it is to half-ass and the harder it seems to whole-ass; which is why it’s virtually impossible to do anything well if you aren’t committed to doing everything well and with pride. It’s why most people aren’t successful even in the things they’re most passionate about.

Because once you’re okay with less than 100% efforts, you’ll start half-assing your work, your relationships, your fitness and your self-improvement. And bit by bit, your quality of life will erode to the point where you wake up and wonder where the heck your life just went and why you still aren’t successful as a solopreneur even though you feel like you should be.

If you’re at that “WTF happened to my life?” point, which so many of us find ourselves in no matter our income bracket, this article is your wake-up call. It’s time to stop half-assing and to start taking pride in everything you do.

Real world benefits of taking pride in everything

My little sister had the most beautiful baby girl in the world a couple days ago. So I got her a card, sat down, and told myself, “you’re going to write the best damn ‘New Baby’ card you can.” I spent thirty minutes writing several brief but meaningful messages to the new baby, to my sister, to the daddy, and even to the new big brother. And when I visited today and shared the card, my sister and her husband told me with tears in their eyes that this was the best card they’d even received. Period.

I didn’t need to take so much pride or put so much effort in writing that card. But because I did, I strengthened the relationship with my family and proved that I care, which makes me feel awesome about myself.

I was able to take pride in writing that card because I had taken pride in everything else I had done in the day leading up to it: I made my bed perfectly, I wrote the best article I could, I took pride in my body and exercised consistently throughout the day, I did all of my success routines (journaling, meditating, etc.) to the best of my ability. So when it came time to doing something that most people would have half-assed by getting a premade card and signed it, I automatically went HAM and took pride in it. And it made my life and the lives of my loved ones a lot better.

Taking pride in everything is the reason I’m a successful writer and coach today.

There have been times where I relapsed into half-assery, though.

Last year, for instance, I got fired from MindBodyGreen—the publication where 95% of my clientele came from. They said that the quality of my writing had diminished and they were moving in a different direction. I couldn’t blame them, though…I knew I had been giving C articles all along.

I reserved my A work for the publications I considered more prestigious. And because I didn’t take pride in every single article I shared on MBG, they recognized the lack of effort and fired me, which evaporated the $5,000 per week income I had worked so hard to create.

I struggled like a gored wildebeest for six months just to be able to breathe again (and even sprouted five or six new gray hairs in the process). But all that anxiety and suffering could have been avoided if I had taken 100% pride in everything I submitted—no matter which publication. Looking back, I can trace the half-assed attitude to a drop off in my journaling and exercise habits. I told you, half-assing is poisonous!

I hope you’ll learn from my pain.

Your new whole-ass attitude

I’m sharing this article because I know that if it was so easy for me to fall back into a half-ass mentality, being a frickin’ coach!, then there’s a good chance you’re struggling too.

So, like I said at the beginning of this article, this is your wake up call:

  • Where are you half-assing and feeling bad about?
  • What things are you currently taking a ton of pride in?
  • What things do you wish you took a ton of pride in but never seem to anyway?
  • How much pride do you take in the little things: like making your bed, caring for your appearance, and taking amazing care of your body?

Reflect on these questions today and make a promise to yourself and a game plan to take pride in everything you’ve half assed. Get someone to keep you accountable.

Then get a 3×5 index card and write down your new mantra for the next month:

I take pride in everything I do.
I always give my 100% best effort, no matter the task.
I’m getting everything I want in life because I work harder and take more pride than anyone else.

Begin your morning with this mantra and repeat it ten times each day. And before you get up and around, write out in a daily planner the top 5-8 tasks you will do to the absolute best of your abilities. Make the most beautiful bed you can. Then take pride in your body by exercising. Take pride in yourself by encouraging yourself all day for the amazing things you do. And when you finish the day, journal about the things you did with pride. (It’ll make you feel absolutely incredible about yourself!)


If you follow these steps, you will become an infinitely more confident, grateful, and successful person. Your finances will improve. Your relationships will improve. Your fitness will improve. And when people ask you how you’re kicking so much ass, you’ll answer,

“It’s because I make my bed every morning.” And you won’t be lying!

If you really want to start taking pride in everything you do, consider my 10-week transformational coaching program. 

Originally published at millennialsuccess.io


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist, Fitbit.com, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!