If my first goal with flexibility was simply to become the most flexible I could, now that I've seen how far I can push myself, I've slightly changed that initial goal into a healthier, long term, safer one. I want to be able to train for many years, not pushing always to the max if that means risking more injuries, working on balancing my flexibility and strength on both my sides (I'm almost where I don't have a prevalent side anymore!), avoiding spinal compression and low back overwork, taking care of my existent injuries and work on ways around them. After all, I'm not getting any younger.
Too often we don't talk about injuries, like it's something to be ashamed of. I know for many people injuries are a reason to stop and quit for good contortion, flexibility training or any training, but it shouldn't be that way, injuries happen to anyone, it's your attitude toward them and your ability to mold your training around them that make you able to safely keep improving. I don't have major injuries but having small ones that won't go away it's a sign you have to start thinking about the future and avoid doing what hurt those body parts.
The last year of training was probably my best and most productive one, because I finally adjusted my training to fit my own needs, without wanting to do at all costs EVERYTHING. I asked myself, "do you want to do all tricks in the world, but ending your training soon because of too many injuries, or do the tricks your body accepts, do "pain free", and keep at it for many years to come?" Of course I decided for the second one, but it wasn't so obvious to me till this year. I always had an attitude on training like all or nothing, but contortion/flexibility is so intense and it makes your body feel so capable, yet you realize how delicate it is too. So that's my goal now, training smarter and better for myself. If training is therapy, meditation and healing to the mind, why wouldn't you make it the same for the body? Training hard and hurting yourself don't mean the same thing ;)