Thinking in absolute terms is an easy habit to fall into but not an easy one to break. Some of them include the idea that if you can’t do something right or perfectly, don’t do it at all. Another favorite is all or nothing. In theory, it can be helpful to approach life this way, but in practice it can make you want to quit or give up before you’ve even started. Another way of approaching things is to allow for modifications when necessary. In doing so, you will be amazed at the possibilities that open up and your ability to stick with a plan, even if it deviates from your initial vision.

I recently agreed to do a work out called The Twelve Days of Christmas at my gym. Without going into detail, I will just say that it was a horrible workout for even the fittest people there. But for me, it was hell before it even began. Since my concussion, I tend to get anxious in situations where I have to make quick decisions or remember anything too complicated. When I arrived, I immediately began to panic because I was unfamiliar with many of the 12 exercises we were supposed to do and that coupled with the large group of people in attendance, sent me over the edge. I had to walk outside and take deep breaths and even hid in the bathroom for a while. I almost grabbed my car keys and left my husband there to find his own way home, but that morning I had mentally dedicated the workout to someone special so my soul wouldn’t let me flee. I finally told my coaches how I was feeling and explained that I didn’t want to quit, but I couldn’t do the workout as is. Without hesitation, they jumped up and said, “It’s no problem, we can make some modifications so you can get it done.” Like that, the problem was solved, and I was able to finish out the year with a feeling of accomplishment instead of frustration and guilt.

I learned two things from this experience: ask for help when you need it and that most things in life don’t operate in absolute terms. Modifications are often necessary and sometimes even better.

Image source: Geoff McFetridge