Here is what I normally do. I make a decision to start a new exercise routine and to do it vigorously. Or I say I’m never drinking a soda again, when in fact I drink a small countries worth of Coke and Big Red per day. Or I tell myself, I am going to write 10,000 words a day when I struggle to write 1,000 words a month.
All or nothing.
Go big or go home.
But here is what I’ve learned from that. Not just from my own decisions but by watching an entire society make decisions the same exact way. It just doesn’t work.
This time, I’m trying something different. I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s work on shame and loving yourself and being imperfect. (I am convinced she did all those years of research just for me, or she’s been secretly watching my life for 40 years.) One thing I’ve learned is that I suck at extending grace to myself.
I don’t just suck at it, I actually don’t ever do it. I rarely, if ever, allow myself to fail, falter or be human in any way. Maybe most of us do that. That’s why, when we start something and it doesn’t work out in the first few months, weeks or even days, we just give up. Not because we couldn’t follow through, but because of what we tell ourselves when we don’t follow through. We say things like, “I suck.” or “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough.”
In starting this self-imposed challenge of 30 days of Yoga and 30 days of writing, I almost quit before I even started. November 1, Wednesday night, I’m driving home from teaching a youth group and BAM it was like a lightening bolt hit my head. I can’t even begin to explain the pain of this headache that snuck up on me, most likely from the cesspool of allergies that linger around my city.
I crawled upstairs, yanked out my contacts, slithered into my jammies only to remember that November 1, Wednesday, was Day 1 of Yoga. I had written earlier in the day, but I had not done Yoga, because, well I’m a last minute kind of girl when it comes to doing things that involve me. I laid on the bed, arm over my eyes, wondering how I was going to do this. I knew I couldn’t live with the impending shame if I skipped Day 1. Honestly, that would be pathetic.
The old way of thinking would have forced myself to find a 30-45 minute Yoga video, and cry my way through it, and then shame myself anyway for doing too much and making myself sick. Instead, I decided to find a gentle Yoga, one for headaches…to bring healing, so that I can take a step in the right direction and to make this whole process NOT the burden it could easily become.
So Day 1 I did Yoga with Adriene, Yoga for Migraines
Day 2 I wasn’t feeling much better so I stretched with Yoga for Bedtime
But today, Day 3, after a cocktail of Zyrtec, Tylenol & Sinus Meds, I was able to tackle Yoga with Adriene Day 2.
Sometimes just making the decision to do what I set out to is accomplishment enough. It doesn’t matter what Yoga workout I do, or how many words I write. I intend to push myself, but what I won’t do anymore is expect unreasonable things of myself that are going to set me up to fail.
I’m human, I will get headaches and allergy attacks. I will sit in front of the computer and not be able to form any creative or inspiring sentences. I will not feel like it, or want to, or have time to. But I will DECIDE TO. I will wait patiently for the ball to come across home plate and swing when it feels right. And maybe by the end of this 30 days I will knock one out of the park.
What are some goals that you have that you need to grace yourself a little so you can accomplish them?