When I was instructing yoga, I often had to correct would-be students’ misconception that physical flexibility was a prerequisite of being able to practice. However, I would immediately follow that up with “but you have to be mentally flexible”.
Flexibility of the mind is what allows us to overcome obstacles and challenges. It determines whether or not we see situations as an ordeal or an adventure. Sometimes, it also means that we need to lower our expectations of what we are capable of and/or choose to be kind to ourselves when those challenging occasions arise. It really comes down to perspective, does it not?
There have been a lot of reminders of this lesson throughout the week. I had set my expectations for training a little too high even though I knew family time would be my priority. For the first half of the week, even though I was really enjoying time with my boys, I was lagging a bit in the mornings and was a little mad at myself for slacking off on the mileage when I had just started to build some decent momentum.
Today was a turning point, though. As the negative mental chatter began to activate, I reminded myself of the need to be flexible (as I used to say to my yoga students, “on and off the mat”… meaning all of the time).
So my long run to work on building my mileage won’t happen this week… Big deal! I created a flexible training plan that allows space for me to adjust,as needed, due to illness, travels, or whatever else might be thrown my way. I have plenty of time to make up for it so it really is not a big deal.
So I won’t reach my target mileage for the week… Okay, that’s fine. There are a lot of great training weeks ahead and even though next week was scheduled as a light week, I essentially just switched them. That’s cool too.
So I splurged on a couple of dinners out and a little extra wine this week… good food and wine are a pleasurable part of life and should be enjoyed! I’m very attentive to making sure I’m fueling my body well 80% of the time so a couple of treats here and there won’t hurt.
So I’ll have to work harder next week… Sounds good! In fact, bring it on! It will be a good distraction as I adjust to a little wave of change for the next few weeks.
Sometimes, scratch that, ALL OF THE TIME, you’ve just gotta go with the flow and make the best out of whatever situation you’re faced with. By adopting a flexible mental mindset, you can overcome little setbacks while planning how you will transition to whatever is next. Like everything else, in order to get better at doing this, it takes repeated practice.
If you find that you beat yourself up for x, y, or z, take a moment to analyze the situation and see it if you can change your mental mindset to one that is a bit more flexible and forgiving.