**Guest Blog from Joanne Dowds MISCP**

As some one who struggles to drink coffee and walk at the same time the tasks which many Olympians face are unbelievably complex. That is why us, mere mortals watch, in a mixture of fascination and awe. And the bit that we see is the end, the very peak of all that they have been building towards. Diving, gymnastics, sprinting,  events that last seconds, belying the weeks, months or even years of  preparation which can only be described as tortuous, thinking of all that single minded focus just makes me, well, tired.

Rio 2016

Currently with exercise, in fact, any life choices, I am trying to be kind to myself, if it feels good, I will do more; if it doesn’t sit well, I am leaving it alone, for now. It has meant less gym time; this time last year I went to the gym most days, for a combination of fitness and practical reasons (I didn’t have a functioning shower in the renovation project/hovel) but now it is sporadic at best. More yoga, still a work out, still exercise, just different, less push required, easier to get myself there.  You never regret a training session after its done so sometimes it is important to push through this reluctance, but at the minute it feels like punishment and that’s not what I want exercise to be, feel or mean to me.  So for now this ‘being kind’ philosophy is working. There is something to be said for movement because joy comes through movement, the confidence of knowing what your body can achieve, moving because it feels good. Not in competition with anyone but your self and your previous performance

I can train hard, I like achieving but winning against a treadmill at the gym isn’t a realistic option. In yoga striving is actively discouraged.  I don’t like competing, in fact, I hate it. I am not sure if my aversion to competition is an overexposure to sibling rivalry (I have 4 sisters- yes 4) or because I really hate losing. Either way I will avoid it at all costs.

However the notion of persistence, patience and working for achievement really works for me. But sometimes you do need to leave the shit on the floor and walk away, whether it is dreams, goals, people or places. There is a benefit in not necessarily admitting failure and quitting but changing, evolving to move forward.  Hence if I’m not feeling= I’m not doing it. Leaving behind what isn’t working with grace, while trusting that future replacements will be a better fit because I have found them through enjoying the process rather than being focused solely on the achievement of an outcome.  (Disclaimer– obviously there is some boring adult stuff that we all need to do and don’t enjoy, bills etc).

Therefore I have packed away my dreams of being a competitor; I will sit it on the shelf beside the ambition of being in a band, writing a book, nailing a back flip in a leotard or running a marathon. I am not saying never, I m just saying it’s not important to me right now.

I am taking this evolving thought process and the fact that I had couscous for dinner as signs of maturity!

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