“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Excellence in the pool, whatever that may mean for you, requires not only focus on improving technique, on showing up and consistently working hard, but in installing these behaviors and actions as habits.
When doing the little day-to-day things at a high level in and out of the pool becomes habitual, there is no limit to what you can achieve in the water.
Each weekend after your week of training has completed, sit down and ask yourself the following 3 quick questions.
Not only will they give you a chance to go over the week that was, they will help you capitalize on where you are doing well in your training, while also highlighting areas you can improve moving forward. (Cause hey, improving is kind of the best.)
1. Did I achieve the habits and goals that I set out for myself this week?
Be honest with yourself. Keeping a log book or a simple calendar can help you keep track of when and where your habits are sticking, and when they are coming unglued.
Acknowledging the reality of your training habits is the first step in trying to improve them.
2. What are the things I can do to make my goals and habits easier?
Developing good, strong habits take time. And they also require you making them as easy as possible to achieve.
Sometimes all it takes to make those habits stick is to remove some of the barriers that are currently holding you from implementing them.
If you are having trouble getting to bed early, create an environment to make falling asleep as easy as possible. (So no phone in bed, or caffeine at night, and so on.) If your nutrition choices tends to take a plunge in the middle of the day at school pre-pack healthy snacks.
Habits are hard enough, each week strive to make it a little easier for you to lock them in.
3. If I stumbled, was it because I tried to do too much, too fast?
Scaling your new, awesome habits is critical to being successful with them. The desire to make big change overnight is appealing, but almost always ends poorly because we get overwhelmed trying to do too much.
If your new habit is to do 8-dolphin kicks off of every single wall, and you are currently only doing 1-2, you know that sustaining that kind of overnight improvement is going to be tough. Ramp it up to 3-4 dolphin kicks, and once that becomes a piece of cake, level up to 5-6 kicks per wall, and so on.
Give the following questions a try for a few weeks and let me know how it goes!