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Goals, disruptions and baby steps.

Hi there. Something I’m keen for bright rebel to do this year is to grow and reach more people. As part of that, I’m committing to a weekly blog post which will appear on a Thursday. My aim is to share some reflections, give you some tips and to offer up some coaching questions. But if there is anything in particular that you want, please do let me know! If there’s a specific issue you would like addressing, I’d be really happy to focus on that.

Today I did my first yoga session of the year. As usual, it has left me feeling more balanced (in all senses) and refreshed (which is particularly impressive as my 5 year old was up at 2 and 5 this morning so I’m not really in my most rested place). As we entered the relaxation phase, I did find myself wondering why I don’t do more yoga on my own. I have a great app (Asana rebel) that even on the free version has a 5 (ish) minute work out of the day. Can I really be telling myself I don’t have 5 minutes a day to be more flexibile, strong and relaxed? Well, yes. Because I don’t schedule it, it’s the first thing I don’t do when I feel busy.

Now this was less of an issue for me when I was half marathon and triathlon training, but due to an ongoing injury, I’m off running, I hate cycling in the winter and my local pool is closed due to a fault (has been for a few weeks; no end in sight). So my fitness levels have fallen and I’m beginning to notice. Not only physically but emotionally. I am, without doubt, much more irritable when I am not regularly exercising. There is a physiological aspect to that (endorphins released during exercise makes us happy but for me there is definitely also a psychological element.

I think part of it is to do with chasing goals, so when I train, I know I’m taking action on my goals AND I’m getting closer to them. These are two separate components.

Taking action is the step needed after goal setting and formulating a plan. Too often, it is the step where people fail. But the good news is, if you have chosen the goals that really are what you want and you have planned well, then taking action starts to feel surprisingly good, surprisingly soon. If it doesn’t there is something wrong with either your goal or your plan. (And I would suggest looking at whether you have made your action points too ambitious, as this is a very common error.) When I train, even if I’m still plodding and slow and need to walk some of my last mile, I still feel good because I am taking action consistent with my goals.

The more consistent that action is, the faster I see myself getting closer to my goals. Which is also a good feeling, even if sometimes it is slower than I would like.

What’s been happening to me lately is typical of anyone suffering a setback. The fitness goals I have are just not achievable without further injury recovery, so I’ve abandoned them. Whereas really what I should be doing is amending them in the light of my actual circumstances (instead of wishing that my circumstances are different or pretending that I don’t care. They aren’t and I do). What do amended goals look like? They might be the same goals but a different time frame. They might be goals in a completely different sphere. If you spend time thinking about what you can really achieve given your setback, you can come up with goals that suit you. This isn’t just about injury, it could be any type of setback.

My new fitness goal then is to rebuild lost strength and flexibility so when I can run again, I have a great base to start from.

The other psychological part of why I feel good about working out is to do with taking time out for myself. I love to be busy but it can be an overdone strength for me and I have a tendency to leave myself as a last priority, unless I keep focussed on wellbeing. My time to train is also a good time for my busy mind to decompress. Sometimes when I run I listen to a podcast or a book or my running playlist. Sometimes I just switch off and don’t think at all. It’s my time in my mind or out of it.

So now I’m realising that having missed a lot of my training time, I’m missing out a lot more than just the physical. My plan is to make sure I take at least 5 minutes a day for yoga. That may not sound much but usually doing 5 minutes makes me feel like doing more. Baby steps are great for overcoming setbacks and I'll be pushing out of my comfort zone again soon!

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