Thoughts on mastering success

Thoughts on mastering success

And the value of habit

We are meant to move - both our bodies and minds. Often we get stuck in stillness, habits that hold us back, or thought patterns that restrict a growth mindset. So, how can we all be more successful in keeping movement as a consistent part of our lives? The first and most important thing is to establish what success means to you - not to anyone else. 


It’s helpful to think of success as a process, rather than an end result. Our brains can conceive  big ideas, but executing them requires a more broken-down approach. If you seek to accomplish a handstand in yoga, but never done an inversion you, won’t have lasting success if you just keep trying to stand on your hands. First, you would need to make sure your wrists are flexible to bend at a 90-degree angle. Second, you would need to get comfortable with your head being up-side-down without the added stress of trying to balance. Third, you would have to address the muscles that need strengthening to hold your body up. 4th, 5th, 6th…and so on. Finding the reward in the process rather than the result will help you continue on the journey. Truly, celebrate every small win. It lets our brain associate the practice with joy rather than agony. 


Sometimes wins are disguised as failures. Sometimes, we try, try, try - only to fail. Nothing works. Last week you balanced in a handstand for 10 seconds, this week you can’t even get your feet in the air and you’re falling down over and over. Progress isn’t linear and sometimes (often, and more than any of us want) the win is simply not giving up. We have to outsmart our emotions and have faith that even though it feels like things are going poorly, the struggle actually sets us up to have a huge advancement, usually just lurking around the corner. Have faith the work you’re doing and the improvements you’ve made will bring so much more to fruition very soon. Powering through is a win. It builds grit, determination, and we need those things too. Each time we don’t give up it makes it easier to stick with it the next time the desire to quit comes around. 


It’s important to distinguish the difference between quitting and resting. As much as we want to work towards our goals with a strong dedication, we aren’t machines (turns out!). Human brains and bodies get tired. Life interferes. Get comfortable with the idea that if you need to take a break, that’s ok. Have a plan (A, B, C) for getting back into it. Maybe you’re burned out on the handstand practice and it’s deeply unappealing. Ok! Do some Yin yoga to soothe your mind and really relax the muscles you’ve worked so hard. Don’t even think about going up-side-down. Come back to the handstand goal after a week or so, having given your body some new, more calm experiences. As valuable as habits are, so is valuable the ability to deviate from them from time to time - and to come back to them. 


Identify your idea of success. Embrace the process with greater value than the result. Celebrate the small wins. Stick with your determination when things don’t work. Know that doing so will add money to your grit bank account. Get comfortable with resting. Embrace the notion that your habits need not be so rigid that they break. Stay curious, and believe that success is possible. 

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