“It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to”
I admit that I am on the very bottom of rungs in the world of yoga ability. I am impatient and sadly very inflexible but I keep going because I know that the outcomes of this persistence will be worth it both mentally and physically. A few days ago as I was struggling to maintain my twisted pretzel shape and beating myself up about my incompetencies in my yoga class, I took a breath and told all the little voices in my head to be quiet. I then asked myself a question, “Instead of being negative and focusing on what you can’t do (yet), how about reflecting on what you have achieved so far?” I had made the effort to get to the class and there was a whole lot of stretching (and pain) going on and although it probably didn’t look particularly pretty, I was actually doing yoga.
Most of us usually celebrate our biggest successes in life such as a new job or a career win without acknowledging how important our smaller yet sometimes more significant achievements are. In the world of health and your own personal performance, worthy milestones might be eating breakfast after many years of skipping it, getting out to exercise in the rain, cementing an exercise routine, completing your first 5 or 10km run, losing 1kg, reducing your cholesterol levels, engineering an extra hours sleep every night, taking time out for yourself to relax, having the energy to get out and play with your kids, implementing a handy strategy to reduce stress levels at work or just plain feeling good about yourself.
I work with a lot of high achievers in the sports and corporate world. Both are very disciplined, work very hard, have crystal clear goals in mind but are their own harshest critics. Whether it is a World Championship placing or successful negotiation of a deal, they cross the achievement off their list and keep going, often without giving themselves a high five for a job well done. What about your list? Are you crossing things off it without reflecting on what you have achieved and giving yourself the recognition you deserve?
Weight loss is a perfect example. I hear people flog themselves about their inability to lose more than 1kg each week or downgrade the achievement of ‘only’ losing 5kg. Have you ever considered that every time 0.5kg breaks its friendship with you, you have just waved goodbye to the equivalent of 500g margarine or butter? And what about the fact that you are feeling and looking pretty awesome and your clothes sit rather nicely on you now?
Patting yourself on the back for putting runs on your physical and mental health board is essential to a long term win but you could formally recognise your successes by writing a daily, weekly or monthly report addressed to yourself. Writing a self-report is a great tool that enables you to hit the pause button and reflect on your successes and wins.
Whether it is exercise, food, stress or sleep, stop focusing on what you’re not good at or what you haven’t done yet and celebrate the smaller yet hugely significant successes along the way. After all, its those incremental steps that get you across your own personal finish line.