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Re-defining what 'good' looks like

Like me, you will likely have your own definition of 'good'. Your unique standards for how you go about your day, your life.

Each of us internalises what 'good' looks like - subconsciously measuring ourselves against our own quality monitoring system - on a micro level in our day to day actions and behaviours, but also long term goals, challenges and life achievements.

Our self-esteem and self-worth becomes very attached to those standards, as we constantly assess whether who we are and what we’ve done measures up to meet our own expectations.

I’m currently having a very real time lesson on this as I realise that my own definition of ‘good’ needs regularly recalibrating, that it is not fixed and takes quite a lot of mental strength not to get sucked into negativity and detrimental comparison.

I’ve been experiencing a number of painful small injuries since the new year which have thrown my usual activities and exercise out of sync. This is challenging because I have always exercised and moved.

It’s not something I do now and then, it’s part of me.

Not being able to go for a run when the sun is out, lift heavy things, or even do some vigorous yoga is very restricting.

It’s as mentally challenging as it is physically and I’m leaning into all my coaching tools and techniques to remain positive.

12 months ago, my ‘good’ would have been daily yoga, running 3-4 times a week and a couple of strength sessions.

By my usual standards, what I manage today, would have been classed as ‘lazy’ and ‘not even worth it’.

The same standards don’t apply.

My ‘good’ is not the same.

So we have to reset the bar. Here are some lessons that you may find useful if this resonates:

1. Focus on what you can control - In challenging times, it’s easy to get sucked into grumbling about what you can’t do. Instead, re-focus on everything that’s within your control and what you can influence - your behaviours, choices, routine, actions, self-talk. For me, that’s ensuring I get my steps up each day, stretching, rolling and calling on the experts to help me and keeping a check on my negative chatter.

2. Practice gratitude - There is always something to be grateful for, and turning your attention to these things can completely change how you feel; from that of lack, to abundance. I might not be able to do what I could before but I can still do so much and I am truly grateful for that.

3. Letting go - Redefining what ‘good’ looks like means a shift in perspective. It requires you to let go of preconceived notions, comparisons and expectations, and instead, tune into your own inner compass. Write yourself new goals that you can track progress against, ones that are aligned with what’s important to you.

4. Chance for growth - If you too are restricted in some way or can’t engage in something that you want to, ask yourself ‘what can I do instead?’. Use this as a chance to try something new or get outside your comfort zone. I’ve started swimming at a local pool (I hate swimming) and I’m choosing to see this as something I can improve while waiting for my body to heal. Can you learn something new, try something or restart an old hobby that you’ve let go of?

So for now, I will take the daily walks, the regular trips to the physio, the massage gun (not to be confused with a relaxing massage!) and a quick trip to the pool! That is my new ‘good’. And no doubt, in a few weeks, I’ll be readjusting that again.

As a coach, I regularly work with clients who are going through challenges, or navigating difficult times - helping them to be kind to themselves, extract the lessons and apply the learning. It doesn’t mean I don’t struggle sometimes too - I do! It is a good reminder that progress is not linear, we all hit bumps in the road, but this too shall pass.

Redefining what ‘good’ looks like is not a one-off event but an ongoing process of growth and transition. It's about embracing your journey (with all its twists and turns), knowing that the destination is not a fixed point but a continuous unfolding and relearning.

So I wonder if you have a ‘good’ that you need to update? If so, please feel free to share it with me below.

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Redefining what 'good' means

Navy blue background with the words 'redefining good' in white through the middle.

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