Consistency / Flexibility - are they mutually exclusive?
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
We all know that consistency is important in losing weight, getting fit, getting a job done, maintaining relationships, living life. We also know that flexibility is important - plans change, weather changes, situations change, people change - and we need to go with the flow.
But there are times when being flexible means being inconsistent. Or being consistent means being inflexible. Sometimes you just can't be both at the same time.
We can all think of cases where we can be both: I plan a nice walk after work, I have a route mapped out, and then the weather report is wrong and it's pouring rain by the time school is over - so I need to be flexible so I can stay consistent with my exercise, I need to find an alternate plan, I need to exercise indoors somewhere, somehow. (I usually go walk the mall or Home Depot or just walk in circles in the house or do vacuuming or something.)
But there are cases when being flexible prevents us from maintaining consistency, or when being consistent precludes flexibility. On weekends or days off, I'll sometimes have a big brunch, moderate lunch, light dinner - and then DH brings home chips or cookies or ice cream "for emergencies" (which means while he watches whatever sport thing is on TV) and of course I'm tempted - but since I had planned on a light dinner, I don't have the calorie deficit to entitle me to a splurge - to be consistent with my cals, I need to be inflexible and not eat whatever the junk food is, even a small portion. (So I missed a whole bag of double chocolate Milano cookies!)
There are other times when some outside force (such as a boss) is inconsistent, forcing us to be flexible, but there's a domino effect which changes a whole line of items that shouldn't be flexible. Case in point - last week the principal announced we'd have a faculty meeting on Tuesday, after school. So when DH and I went to buy new TVs (the old ones both died in a thunderstorm), and the man asked when he could deliver and install them, I said Wednesday, because I have a faculty meeting on Tuesday. So today (you guessed it!) Mr Principal announces the meeting is postponed until Wednesday. I can either miss the meeting (and risk his annoyance) or call the TV place and postpone til Thursday, which of course means on Thursday I can't do the things I had planned to do.
So - I have no conclusions. I have no words of wisdom. Sometimes we can be both consistent and flexible. Sometimes we need to be inflexible to be consistent. Sometimes we need to be inconsistent in order to be flexible. Sometimes the choice is out of our hands.
And like all serenity prayers, the key is having the wisdom to know the difference.