Why I Only Do The Bare Minimum

Simplify Life Jennifer Dene Wellness

Why I Only Do The Bare Minimum

I’ve started teaching Pilates at a new health club in Los Angeles. It’s the type of place where membership costs more than a small car payment and everyone wears black. It’s also walking distance from my house, and that counts for a lot in this city.

Pilates in a gym-setting tends to be very fitness focused. This means more ab work and higher repetitions than you would find in a classical session. It may not be how I do it at home, but when I give them what they came for I’m rewarded with satisfied moans and groans.

Yet no matter how much I work their core, there are always one or two women who feel the need to do more. When everyone else is packing up their mats and heading to the locker rooms, I watch these women do another 50 sit-ups or five planks.

Doing this is not only unnecessary but when done with poor form and already fatigued, it’s also unsafe.

(Plus, it just really frustrates me!)

You know the phrase — work smarter, not harder.

After following this advice for the last couple of years I’ve noticed that I can reach my wellness and lifestyle goals with much less fuss and fanfare than ever before. 

I ask myself: how can I make this easier and more enjoyable get the same results? And then I take action on the most simple answer I can come up with.

Here Are Some Examples

  • Five perfect-form Rollups (a Pilates mat exercise) will be more effective than 50 subpar sit-ups. They also take a fraction of the time and reduce the risk of abdominal separation
  • Walking on an incline burns fat and tones my legs faster than strolling on a flat surface, which means I can reap the benefits of a half-hour walk in just 15 minutes
  • I might not crave salad for breakfast, but I can blend a bunch of green vegetables with banana and nut butter into my morning smoothie
  • I don’t have time to meet with girlfriends every week, but I can easily send a quick text or pick up the phone to say thinking of you
  • Getting dolled up for date night isn’t going to happen every day, but spending quality time with my husband can, by simply turning off our phones and having a good chat over dinner or a walk

Of course, I am by no means perfect at simplification and implementation. To this day I struggle with my old negative belief that I have to do more to be worthy. But after practicing the “just enough” philosophy, I’ve realized that it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to reach my goals, feel satisfied, maintain my results, and not wear myself out in the process. It’s a foolproof way to simplify life.

I bring this up today as I wonder if there are areas of your life in which you’re trying too hard. Think about your goals — including those related to home-cooking, exercise, weight loss, self-love, friendship, work, and finances — and ask yourself if you’re overcomplicating them.

Often, all it takes to reach our goals is doing the bare minimum on a regular basis. Continued implementation of small actions will positively impact your progress more than sporadic surges of great effort.

It’s worth trying, don’t you think?

Take Action & Put This Strategy Into Practice

  1. Write down your number one wellness or lifestyle goal
  2. Figure out the most straightforward way you could meet that goal (without any superfluous floundering about)
  3. Commit to taking simple action(s) every day, but don’t do anything above and beyond that
  4. Give it some time and see what happens — I bet you’ll be surprised

As always, let me know how it goes.

With love,



P.S. Keen on Pilates? Try my 18-minute Pilates Resistance Band Workout here.


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