As a teacher, telling people to lower their expectations rather than raise them, feels like blasphemy against everything I know. Everything.
But experience – and repeated failures – have taught me that sometimes it’s the best way forward.
At this time of year, I find that my body and mind long to slow down. Perhaps it’s because it’s the end of the year or the dark mornings and nights; maybe it’s the cold or all the extra social engagements/shopping trips; whatever the reason, I find myself in this place every year whereby I feel drained.
The main side-effect of this feeling? Keeping up with good habits and making good choices suddenly seem so much harder.
In the past, I’d battle on… attempting to follow the same diet and exercise regime that I’d follow in the middle of Summer. Determination. Perseverance. Willpower.
Did I mention those repeated failures?!
Refusing to adapt or ease up my expectations was just a set-up for disaster. Because I never had enough determination, perseverance or willpower. So when I didn’t make it out for that morning run, or one Mince Pie turned into three, the guilt and self-loathing would begin immediately.
I’m all about making good choices, but I really something sometimes you need to be flexible or at least realistic. Just accept that you’re probably going to exercise less this month and you’re very likely going to eat and drink more.
This month, I’m laying my expectations somewhere in the middle of awesome and disgusting. I’m keeping up my evening Jiu Jitsu where I can (this isn’t difficult because it’s literally my ‘friendship fun-time’); I’m generally switching morning runs for home workouts or gym spins, with some lay ins mixed in; and diet-wise, I’m just going to listen to my body and eat what I like mindfully, stopping when I’m full.
I don’t want to end December feeling heavy, grumpy and defeated. That’s just not the way I want to begin 2019. But nor am I willing to spend this month in a cycle of denial, restriction and emotional self-abuse.