About three months ago I made it a goal to reduce my stress and anxiety. As a part of my action plan, I decided to swap out two days of my high-intensity workouts for two days of yoga. It was the perfect swap. I found myself more centered and my body was getting stronger with additional rest and stretching. I was giving myself two hours a week of mindfulness and breathing.
When Thanksgiving rolled around and my yoga studio announced a new challenge, 25 yoga classes in 30 days, I was ready to jump in! By nature, I am a competitive person. I love challenges, goals, and metrics. I began to get excited, putting on my game face and planning for the 30 days to come. “What days could I attend two classes? How many classes would I need to attend in a week?” I was going to kick this challenge’s ass.
My first two weeks started out strong. I was on track to meet my goal. I was feeling great! Then week three came. Things at work, and in my personal life, started to pick up. I found myself stressing about attending my weekly classes, “I missed class two days in a row. Shit. How am I going to make that up? Maybe I can do a triple on Saturday.”
That’s when I caught myself. I wasn’t focusing on my purpose for completing the challenge, which was to reduce my stress. I was focusing on an irrelevant metric and it was stressing me out. Rather than going to yoga to clear my mind and feel better about myself, I was forcing myself to hit my quota. A habit that many of us do too often in our daily routines. I took a breath and started to reflect. I got honest with myself. First, I had no interest in going to three yoga classes in one day. Second, I was stressing myself out trying to make it to classes, when the purpose of attending class in the first place was to de-stress. Third, I wasn’t finding a balance.
In 30 days I ended up attending 18 yoga classes. I am damn proud of that. Badass status. More importantly, I enjoyed the classes I attended and I didn’t sacrifice the time I needed to dedicate to personal and professional aspects of my life.
With the new year and new year’s resolutions, I think it’s important to reconsider how we look at our goals and how fluid these goals are. Yes, metrics can be important, but let’s be honest… we are busy people and life is going to get in the way. We need to make sure that the goals we’re looking to set aren’t getting in the way of how we want to feel.
I wanted to attend more yoga classes to reduce my stress and be more mindful. In turn, I ended up doing the exact opposite. Be okay with doing less or “missing the mark” if it leads to an overall increase in happiness. Know when your goals are going to make you feel better and when they are too much. Don’t be afraid to adjust and say no.
What did “failing” the 25 class yoga challenge teach me? Be true to my intentions. It’s not about a number. It’s about how it makes you feel.
Life is happening. Go for it.