Consistency and Compassion
Meet Your Goals With Kindness
As some of you may recall, I like to set an intention every New Year. This is usually a single word which summaries a desired state that I want to embody in multiple aspects of my life. In other words, how I want to live this year.
My 2020 intention was consistency. I know, right! Oh, I know.
I’ve honestly at times felt like this year is making a mockery of my naive 31st December 2019 self. You want to be consistent, do you? Let’s throw a pandemic, life upheaval, loss and grief your way. Can you still be 100% consistent now?
Well, honestly, no. And I’m learning to be ok with that.
I’ve always been an action-oriented person. That said, it’s pretty hard to take consistent action when the world is as it is this year. And if you’re feeling frustrated with yourself, I’d like to pass on my learnings to you too.
You’re Doing The Best That You Can (Even When That Feels Hard To Believe)
We go straight into survival mode when we are faced with stress. That means that a lot of our larger goals temporarily go out of the window – because it is too hard to find consistency when we’re in survival mode.
If you find yourself leaning into old habits that provide comfort, give yourself some compassion. This happens in survival mode when our nervous system is feeling overwhelmed with stress or fear. Notice whether you are leaning into these habits for comfort or to numb out. Shaming yourself over this won’t change your behaviour and will probably make you feel less emotionally safe.
Instead of jumping on the shame train, imagine you are surviving on your own in the wilderness. Oh – and there is a pack of hungry wolves on the prowl nearby. Survival mode engaged. Training to improve your cardio skills would probably help you outrun the pack if needed. However, you’re probably not going to manage going for a 10km jog every morning in this scenario. Equally, deciding to cut calories or try a new fad diet is not likely to happen (assuming food is available). Instead, getting food, water and shelter would be the main priorities for survival.
Our limbic system doesn’t recognise the difference between the stress of work deadlines (or global pandemic) and the stress of being killed by wolves. Lack of physical and/or emotional safety will not give us the mental aptitude to consistently ‘go hard’ at our goals.
You Will Not Succeed If You Are Beating Yourself Up Every Step Of The Way
I’m straight up grateful as anything that I’ve had a consistent home yoga practice for so many years. I honestly don’t know how I would have navigated this time if this practice hadn’t been so embedded in my life. Major thanks to my yoga mat, my meditation cushion and my learned self-awareness for getting me through this year. And a special shout out to all the cookies that provided me with comfort in 2020. I appreciate each and every one of you.
I’ve learned that it’s ok to rest on the days that I don’t have any form of yoga practice. No matter how much I would love to perfect my pincha mayurasana right now, I am not pressuring myself to show up in this way every day. Some days, simply taking 5 slow breaths is my yoga practice. Beating ourselves up is often the reason we don’t stay consistent.
My favourite phrase this last month has been ‘give yourself a permission slip’. Like, give yourself permission to have a nap or read for 5 hours straight or eat cookies if this is bringing you comfort. From a yoga perspective, give yourself a permission slip for your yoga practice to look however you need it to on that day. If you see taking 5 slow breaths or having a sweaty power yoga hour as equally important and valuable, I promise you that your yoga practice will be kinder and more consistent.
You will not succeed if you are beating yourself up every step of the way. That mindset will never let you recognise your achievements as success.
My favourite phrase this last month has been ‘give yourself a permission slip’. Like, give yourself permission to have a nap or read for 5 hours straight or eat cookies if this is bringing you comfort. From a yoga perspective, give yourself a permission slip for your yoga practice to look however you need it to in that moment. A practice of taking 5 slow breaths is equally important and valuable to having a sweaty power yoga hour. With this mindset, I promise you that your yoga practice will be kinder and more consistent.
You will not succeed if you are beating yourself up every step of the way. And if you do, that mindset will never let you recognise your achievements as success.
Get Creative With Your Consistency
So how am I handing my ambitious intention of consistency in 2020? I’m transitioning it to ‘consistently creative’ (and I even gave myself a permission slip to do that hah!). Creativity for me can be an intuitive free-moving yoga practice, or writing, filming, art, photography. I’ve even redecorated half of my house. My definition of creativity also involves consuming creative content, new ways of thinking and problem solving. This is all really helping my mindscape to become more creative.
You can get creative around specific goals too, e.g. to become more physically active. Play around with your movement practices – find a few that bring you joy. Change the time and durations of your activities so you don’t feel trapped. Allocate some days for skill-based training (e.g. handstands or refining push-up form) and others for working out. Make sure you are resting enough as well.
And on the days where you’re feeling the stress and it’s making it impossible to do anything? Remember the wolf pack, and give yourself some space. Watch videos or read resources about your chosen movement practices. That way you can continue to be in that inspired place without overly-stimulating your frazzled nervous system.
“Safety Is Not The Absence Of Threat. It Is The Presence Of Connection” – Gabor Mate
Let your intentions and goals act as flexible shapeshifters, so they can take the form of what you need at any moment. Give yourself a permission slip to do what you need, not what you think you should do.
I spend SO much time with coaching clients on this very topic. If you want to honour yourself and move out of the failure/shame cycle, my transformative coaching program is for you. Book a free discovery call today, where we can discuss how to meet your goals with consistency and compassion.
Where are you pressuring or shaming yourself in your life? Explore how it feels to get creative around your goals, and enjoy the process. Leave a comment below to let me know how it goes!