Low Bar

My friend Oliver introduced me to the Low Bar concept years ago;

Set the bar low and leap over it.

As someone who is consistently feeling underacccomplished, this concept is is met with skeptism and curiousity.

But what the hell, setting the expectations high and falling short hasn’t really been working for me for the last 40 years, time to try something different.

Mostly joking but in all seriousness, setting the bar high often leads to anxiety and feelings of failure within me and I am still not convinced that my behavior changes, as in, I work harder.

I am doing an experiment and applying the “low bar” concept to several aspects of my life this month, including my professional shift that is starting this week as I go fully independent in my teaching, You can read more about Gracefulfitness Pilates here.

As far as my physical “goals”, here’s my Low Bar plan for the rest of the month:

  • Walk 1 Mile Day
  • Do Tabata-style* Planks Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Spend 10 Minutes A Day on Mobility

Even as I wrote the above “plan” my brain screamed, “that’s not enough!!”.

Then I remembered last month. I set running mileage goals and Pilates goals and I totally missed the mark. As a result I felt embarrassed, a little bit of shame, a sense of failure. I had set completely self-imposed meaningless expectations on myself and fell short. Again.

These are my bare minimums, my low bar. I am in Portland, Oregon for the next month or so, spending time with my sister and her family. She’s due with her second baby next week so life is uniquely unpredictable right now. Perfect timing to be kind and realistic with my expectations both professionally and personally.

So why set expectations at all?

I do well with freedom & flexibility but I also like loose perimeters, checking things off the list, a measurable sense of accomplishment. This is especially true when life is out of the ordinary and out of established routine, as it has been the last 7 months and is again for me with this trip.

Do you tend to set the bar high or low? Do you leap over it no matter how high you set it or do you tend to throw in the towel if the expectations are high?

Anyone want to join me for my Low Bar Plan, or make your own?