Sure, it may seem like “one” missed practice isn’t a big deal, but here is why consistency and showing up matters more than you realize.
It’s 2:30pm, and with a morning practice, a day full of classes and relentless eating and snacking already behind you, another swim practice looms ahead. Taking stock of your day you begin to think that maybe you are better off taking the rest of the day to yourself. In these moments it can be tempting to pull the rip chord on account of illness, homework or straight up disinterest.
Sure, it might just be “one” practice, and in the long term a single missed workout won’t make much of a difference to whether or not you eventually achieve your goals in the pool.
But that “one” missed workout (let’s be honest here, if you’re having these thoughts it’s probably not just going to be one workout) has larger implications than just our goals in the pool.
Here is why you should brave the feelings of “I don’t feel like it” and go to practice today.
The reality is that there will always be days where the last thing you feel like doing is going to the pool. You’re tired, grumpy, and a fresh season of your favorite TV show just got released on Netflix. Some of these days will be exceptionally challenging, and even the top athletes in our sport aren’t immune to these types of days.
Here are a few reasons you should make it down to the pool for practice (besides the whole getting better at the swimming aspect):
You build integrity to yourself.
If you’re constantly waffling and flaking on the the things you say you are going to do, you are conditioning yourself to be the kind of person who doesn’t take his her own goals seriously. Keeping your word shows you that you are capable of commitment.
Sure, waffling on occasion might not feel like a big deal, but when you stick to the deals you’ve made you develop a level of invaluable confidence in knowing that if you set out to do something it will be done. Period. Regardless of motivation, external circumstances, or how you’re feeling that day, you will keep the integrity of the promises you make to yourself.
Commitments to the team matter.
Is there anything more disappointing than being the teammate that people can’t rely on? You probably have already swum with this teammate at some point, the swimmer who, when they miss practice, isn’t given a second thought as to why they aren’t there. Or it becomes noteworthy when they actually do show up to practice.
The promises and commitments you make to yourself matter, and so do the commitments you make to the team and the goals you guys have for the season.
One of the benefits of swimming with a team and a group are the communal goals and the momentum that they create. It is times specifically like these where that commitment helps to pull you along.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
I recently discussed this exact message recently with the subscribers of the newsletter. How doing the seeming benign things well can have a compounding effect on the other, larger aspects of your life.
Consistency, attendance and effort in one area always bleed over into another. It’s no accident that high performance achievers in one area tend to excel in others as well.
When you are able to suffer through the off-days to get your swimming workouts done you develop a type of resiliency and attention to effort that cannot help but bleed into the other areas of your life.
It’s never just “one.”
Making exceptions is a dangerous thing. Once made they can spread like wildfire. Don’t underestimate your ability to reason your way out of something.
Draw a clear line in the sand for your workouts. There are things where you have to miss training, things like a family emergency, illness/injury, and so on. Draw a clear line between those and days like today.
Once you start making exceptions for things like “I just don’t feel like it today” the slippery slope of excuses and rationalizations becomes treacherous and endless.
You’ll feel better after.
It would be impossible for me to count how many times I grudgingly showed up to practice, expecting nothing and feeling rugged, only to emerge from the water an hour and a half later grateful that I’d shown up.
While there have been plenty of times I’ve had my mind racing before practice trying to justify bailing, I’ve not once ended up regretting showing up and doing the practice. (Low expectations tend to have a way of creating higher than expected bounce-back reactions –“Hey,that wasn’t so bad!“).
Often we fall into the line of thinking that because we aren’t feeling super motivated, or because we are stressed out, that we can’t have a good practice, and as a result, there’s no point even going.
In these moments you will surprise yourself. Some of the best practices I’ve had occurred in moments where expectations were hilariously low.
Keep in mind that when all is said and done, nobody ever regretted going to the pool and giving a good effort.
Is this a call to go to workout no matter how sick you are? Or when you are neck-deep in overdue assignments? Or when you have a serious family emergency? Of course not. There will be days where the last place you need to be is at the pool.
But for the rest…
See you at practice.