One very important aspect of training and moving towards a goal, whether personal, work-related or athletic, is self-compassion. Instead of beating yourself up over mistakes, set backs or bad days, cheering yourself on is a key feature of achieving your goals. My dad once told me, “Be your own best friend.” This tidbit of fatherly advice has stuck with me over the years and helped me pull myself out of a whirlpool of self-doubt on my darkest days. Responding to your inner critic as you would speak to a best friend is a great way of defeating the downward spiral. Being able to forgive yourself for mistakes and cheering yourself on as you work toward your goals is so important in all aspects of life.
This morning, on my normal hump day run, it seemed as if nothing was going right. My GPS watch couldn’t find the satellites, I misjudged the temperature and wore the wrong running apparel, and my legs were absolutely done-zo from box-jumping two days in a row. My mood on the run was flirting with miserable. I had to stop and walk, something I rarely do, and even repeat my mantras out loud (also something I rarely do, as I’d like to be seen as mostly sane when I’m out in public) to get through the miles. I finished, with my slowest pace on record and a frustrated pit in my stomach. Instead of feeling exuberant and refreshed from my run, I felt exhausted and beat down. When I went to make a post-run smoothie, a “treat” and departure from my usual overnight oats for breakfast, my NutriBullet jammed and I had to exert all the leftover strength in my muscles to pull apart the mixing cup from the motor. I was about ready to lose my sh*t as I sat on the kitchen floor covered in Purple Power Smoothie.
I took a deep breath and I focused on the fact that I finished. I didn’t give up and walk home halfway through my run, I finished the five mile loop that I normally do. It was slow, and it was hard, but I did it. I didn’t quit.
I feel when things don’t go necessarily how you want them to, it’s easy to get on the Debbie Downer train and beat yourself up. But the fact of the matter is, each step you take – regardless of the perceived “good” or “bad” outcome, is a step toward your goal. Each attempt is a learning experience. Today was a good practice on not jumping on the self-bashing train and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Hey – even if they weren’t perfect, I still propelled my legs forward for five miles – and that is still an accomplishment.
So in the spirit of self-compassion, be nice to yourself today. You’re the only you that you’ve got. And hey, I’m human. I may not be jumping for joy after that less than great run, but at least I can willingly employ self compassion to mentally steer myself away from being a total Negative Nancy today, based solely on my running performance.
Happy Hump Day! Spread some peace, love and booyah.