Thwarted Plans

by Glynnis McDonnell, M.A. 

This past Sunday was going to be the perfect, laid back day.  I was going to do a little work, ride my stationary bike, watch some Netflix, and take my dog for a long walk.  It was going to be GREAT!  I planned to do my work and exercise first because those feel like chores, and then let myself relax.

Things started off without a hitch- I woke up, had breakfast, and completed some work.  I then went to turn on some 30 Rock reruns to watch while I biked (because, sadly, I hate to exercise, and only do it without misery if I watch something funny while I’m doing it)…but my Netflix wouldn’t start!  I couldn’t figure out how to fix it (technology, admittedly, is not my forte), and my husband wasn’t home to help.

I thought through my options: 1) I could bike then without the hilarious antics of Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy; 2) I could bike later in the day when my husband got home and could help me fix the Netflix problem; or 3) I could give up on biking for the day and just relax.  I was not loving any of these options, and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  I was thinking, “I work hard all week, and I should be able to bike and watch 30 Rock when I want to on the weekend,” and “This is the worst!  All I wanted to do was get my biking out of the way early, and now I can’t unless I do it without my preferred distraction!”

After spending a few minutes brooding, I realized I was not doing myself any favors with the way I was thinking about my thwarted exercise plans!  Sure, it was disappointing that my day did not go as planned, but I was proceeding to ruin the rest of my day by demanding that things should have gone my way and thinking about how terrible it was that they didn’t.  In reality, there is no reason that plans, even perfect laid back Sunday plans, HAVE to go my way.  Similarly, while it wasn’t great that my day did not go as planned, it certainly wasn’t terrible- I can think of many events that are worse than not getting to exercise when and how I had originally planned.

In the end, I decided to pass on biking for the day- I got a little extra work done so that I’ll have less to do later, I went on a walk with the dog, and I watched 30 Rock after my Netflix was fixed.  I’m glad that I didn’t let myself get side tracked for too long by my irrational beliefs that the day should have gone my way and that it was terrible my plans were thwarted.  If I’d spent too long focusing on those thoughts, I probably wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the parts of the day that did go right!

Glynnis McDonnell, M.A.

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