2 reps or 3?


I’ve been trying really hard lately to get back into shape, or at least set some better fitness habits. I’ve been going to the gym on a decently regular basis (for me), I’m working out with a trainer once a week and I’m trying to eat better. Baby steps, but motion in the right direction.

The other night, I was at the gym working out by myself. I’d done 15 minutes on the bike as a warm-up and now I was working my way through an ab workout I’d found on Pinterest.

Nine exercises. Sixty seconds each. Three times.

Simple enough, right?

I should back up and tell you that, when I’m working out by myself, I get bored really easily. That boredom usually leads to the lazy part of my brain taking hold.


Lazy Voice: Well, you’ve already got two reps in.

Rational Voice: Yeah, but I’m supposed to do three.

But two is already better than none.

Yeah, but I’m supposed to do three.

But you’ve already been here a half-hour. Aren’t you ready to go home?

Yes, but what’s another 15 minutes?


I can’t be the only one that’s had this inner battle between the Lazy Voice and the Rational Voice, right? It’s like the devil and the angel on your shoulders from all those old cartoons. The two sides of your conscience – the one that knows what’s right and what’s wrong. The one that knows the easy way out vs. the one that knows you’ve got to put the work in.

The question is: which one wins?

This inner battle doesn’t only come into play during workouts.

Have you ever had one of those days at work where if you just put in another hour you’d be so far ahead for the next day, but in reality you just want to cut out early and hit up happy hour?

Or what about that 30 minutes after dinner where it would be really helpful to start a load of laundry so you’re not rocking the sweats tomorrow, but sitting down for a binge-watch of Orange is the New Black just seems so much more appealing?

Lazy vs. Do the Work. Right vs. Wrong. Effort vs. Indulgence. It’s a battle for the ages.

So how do you make sure Do the Work/Right/Effort wins out?

I’m not sure there’s any one answer. For me, it’s making sure the self-talk of that voice is louder. It almost takes on the tone of Rocky or Denzel Washington a la Remember the Titans or (because I’m a former gymnast) Bela Karolyi circa 1996 Summer Olympics.

Let’s go! You can do this! Put in that 15 minutes! Finish that report! You go, girl! 

By making sure my supportive inner voice is loud, powerful and encouraging, 9 times out of 10 it wins the battle inside my mind. My workout the other day? I finished all three reps and I walked a mile before I headed home. And I felt better for pushing through.

What do you do to make sure your Do the Work/Right/Effort voice is the victor? Share in the comments!



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