Before I begin, I would like to caveat this blog by saying I’m not a writer. It’s not something I’ve ever really explored because it isn’t within my comfort zone. So when I was asked to write this blog, instinctually my response was a heck no! And then, I took a pause and recognized that this was a chance to do something different, something scary and decided to go for it and explore this opportunity for personal development.
There’s a lot of great self improvement advice out there in the mediasphere and it can get overwhelming with posts suggesting ‘simple’ changes. And yet, many of these simple changes that are suggested often set you up for failure. What do I mean by that? Let me break down what has worked for me and try to explain why.
Ironically I like to keep things simple too. Maybe ‘simple’ is the wrong word here. ‘Achievable’ is a better word. An achievable journey is a good way to describe my approach. It also translates into the world off the mat, which is where yoga has offered me the gift of growth.
Make your daily goal an achievable one. Instead of giving yourself the goal of ‘1 hour of exercise per day’ give yourself the goal of ‘I’ll sit on my mat every day’ or ‘I’ll put on my running shoes every day’. It’s so easy that it sounds silly. However, that’s exactly the point! By making it so achievable, it sets you up for success every day, and that feels good. And chances are, once you’re sitting on your mat or wearing your running shoes, you’re likely to do something more, which is a bonus and will make you feel even better! There are some days where I’ll sit on my mat, and, after a couple minutes of meditation, I’ll get up and on with my day. Most often though, I’ll end up exploring what my body needs in that moment and spend 15-30 minutes on myself. I feel accomplished going into my day because I’ve achieved my goal and it’s only 7am.
Play. As we grow older we sometimes lose our sense of play. Everything becomes serious and therefore lacks enjoyment. It becomes a chore. I would have zero motivation if my yoga practice were serious all the time. This is why I call my ‘workout’ my ‘playtime’ instead. This simple switch in language opens you up to a new sense of curiosity and willingness to explore the possibilities without an expectation of the outcome. Plus you can be silly, giggle, let loose! So what if I face plant? Who cares if I fall on my butt? I can learn from these and change what I’m doing so that maybe next time I get a different outcome. It becomes fun to try new things and often I’ll surprise myself with what I’m capable of. If you do happen to fall on your butt, shout Success!, get up and try again. It reduces those voices of criticism or expectation and makes it easier to get up and try again.
Stop comparing yourself to that person on Insta who can do the dream pose you’ve always wanted to do and can’t do. Maybe it’s just me but at some point or other, we’ve all seen someone we admire and wish that maybe one day we could do that same thing. Every person has a different challenge, every person has different capabilities, different bodies. Nobody is the same and therefore there’s little value in comparing yourself to someone else. Changing that mindset of comparing versus celebrating their successes is freeing. You get to be impressed without putting that pressure and disappointment on yourself, telling yourself you’ll never be able to do that thing. By removing that narrative, you open the door to the possibility of learning, of trying, of playing and growth.
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is one I’ve already mentioned in my intro and it has become one of the most powerful lessons both on and off the mat. Hold up a mirror to yourself on what your instinctual response is. We’ve all been in a pose that’s felt super uncomfortable but how have you reacted? Do you back away without trying? Do you try once and if it’s a no-go you give up straight away? Ask yourself where else in your life you respond this way. Is fear preventing you from personal growth? What if you leaned in instead. What would happen if you allowed yourself this moment of discomfort and what would you learn from it? Chances are, the only person stopping yourself from greatness is you.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why it’s called personal development. It takes time. It’s why yoga is a practice, it’s not perfection. There’s no yoga police and no one-way of doing something. You don’t need to be flexible. You don’t need to be strong. The only thing you need is yourself. To show up, try it, see how it feels, play. If it’s not your thing, cool. Find something that pushes your boundaries, makes you uncomfortable, gives you the ability to challenge yourself. Only you can decide to be awesome, to make the time for yourself every day. It doesn’t have to be Instaworthy, it’s about showing up for yourself and seeing where that journey could take you.
The possibilities are endless if you allow yourself to consistently lean into them. And here we are, at the end of the blog and guess what, I don’t think I face planted on this one. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be either.
Seize your opportunity to face plant! What is one achievable journey you’re willing to take?
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