I have been thinking about this topic on and off for a while. My trainer and I talk about mental limits in relations to my work outs and my progress. He will encourage me to think beyond my mental threshold, to push the limit just a bit.
Last Friday, I ran as a warm up and I managed a 9.45 minute mile. I was only planning to run a mile anyway and generally speaking I run it at about 10 minutes or 10.5 minutes. That is the speed I can manage for the first 2 and sometimes the 3rd. I was so excited. I was done running that mile before I knew it and I had not even taken my normal break. I had gotten past a limit. We will see if I can repeat this in the future, but having done it once I think I can.
My diet is full of limits. I have to watch and be very careful, but I do not feel limited. I feel like I have so many good and healthy and tasty choices. If I follow the eating plan I only have upside. I feel great, I look great, I sleep great and I am seldom sick. It is amazing. So while there are limits I am not limited.
Limits can also be goals. Well manageable goals. In my life as the pro-bono leader of a not-for-profit, I have tried to set manageable goals. I am demonstrating how to work effectively within manageable limits. It is great to dream and aim high, but in order to feel productive and that we are accomplishing something, it is doubly important to work within the limits of a situation.
I will also say that some limits should be revisited from time to time and perhaps rethought. A limit or limitation today, might not be there 6 months from now. Limits are not always static, some limits really are dynamic.
I hurt my ankle the end of January. I fell over one of E's trucks. Wow, did that hurt. I have had to baby the ankle and not run and ice it and just generally be kind to it for a while. Then I had to slowly begin to exercise it, within the pain-free limits until I could do just a little bit more and a little bit more each day. My 2nd run after this time of recovery and I ran my fastest time ever. Some limits are there for a reason. I respected the limit and I was rewarded for my patience.
Other limits need to be over come, gently and thoughtfully, but they are there and they may have served a purpose for awhile, but it the limit feels limiting or if you keep tripping over it, while seeking progress of some kind, then I think and am speaking from experience, it needs to be examines and dealt with. Good limits feel good, they are purposeful. Bad limits, hurt or at a minimum get in the way of progress.