You Are Your Biggest Champion and Biggest Competitor
One of the harshest lessons I’ve learned since becoming an adult has been that you are both your biggest champion and biggest competitor. It’s all very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and involves a strong sense of self-awareness. On the one hand, we are evolving creatures constantly looking to improve ourselves while on the other hand, we allow self-doubt to take over and sabotage our goals.
Most recently, I set out to achieve the handstand pose. To motivate myself I began a 100 days of yoga challenge on Instagram. I knew that by starting this challenge publicly I would feel a sense of accountability toward my followers. Motivated by both wanting to achieve the pose and public accountability, I believed that I would be diligent and honest toward meeting my goal. However, as the days went on and I wasn’t making the kind of progress I was hoping, I began to feel a lot of self-doubt. I would become self-critical of the videos thinking that they were bad quality, the lighting was not flattering, or my apartment was not nice enough. I would also be critical of myself thinking that I was not good enough to be posting yoga poses on my page. I thought to myself, how can you be a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and not be able to do a handstand? I also criticized my body type and my inability to effortlessly float into the pose. And worst of all, I noticed my followers on Instagram decreasing on a daily basis which made me even more self-conscious about the whole challenge.
Then it finally occurred to me that it was not just about achieving a physical pose but rather about achieving a level of self-trust in being able to eventually achieve the pose. Our self-doubt cripples us and tricks us into believing so many falsities about ourselves. We become our biggest competitor and critic that actively work against our goals. That is why many of us give up half way through anything we set out to do, be it losing weight, starting a business, or finishing a passion project.
Learning to trust yourself is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself. It will allow you to take yourself to greater prosperity and living a happier life based on your terms. Anytime I followed other people’s advice, I found myself more confused and unhappy in the end; and the only person I ended up hurting was myself. The first step in doing so is by understanding that your may not necessarily achieve your goal on your first try and that’s ok. I realized the importance of self-care and not being so critical. I noticed that with daily practice, my handstand was getting better and my posture was improving. I also noticed that with taking a couple of breaks in between my body was able to heal and my mind was becoming more clear. Anything physical starts first in the mind and transcends through the body therefore, it is important to first be mentally equipped to achieve your goals.
The second step is understanding that no one is going to make you achieve your goals but you. Nobody was standing at my door or pulling me out of bed to practice my handstands. On a daily basis, I had to develop the courage and make the choice to practice my handstands. They say practice makes perfect but it only works once you develop the habit to demand more out of yourself.
The third step is to know your limits. Don’t overexert yourself because that can lead to injury. This is a really important part of self-care. Goals are a really great way of helping you become a better and stronger person both physically and mentally. Goals are also a great way to learn more about yourself, what works, what doesn’t and how to respond accordingly. Be kind to your mind, body, and soul.