How do successful swimmers do it?
Those swimmers who always seem to be amped to get to practice, perpetually engaged and motivated to be at the pool, even when the weather is dreary outside, they are injured, or it’s the tail-end of 7 consecutive two-a-days?
Elite swimmers find a way to get themselves motivated, even when their circumstances dictate that they should have no reason to be.
Here are 7 ways to get your swimming motivation levels topped-up:
1. Shave Down Your Goals.
Having too much going on is the curse that comes with the blessing of living in today’s day and age. We all have so much going on with school, work, friends, family and of course, swimming. Trying to do too much can rob you of motivation. Spreading our energy, focus and time into a ton of different things will only water down your efforts. Pick that one goal you are intently amped on – and chase it ruthlessly. This single-mindedness will give you clarity and push out the noise.
2. Find Motivation from Other Successful Swimmers.
Whether it’s being around elite swimmers, or later in life, successful entrepreneurs, I’ve found that surrounding myself with people who are kicking ass at what I want to kick ass at is a fantastic way to get motivated. It’s impossible to not have their ambition and drive rub off on you.
Personal development speaker Jim Rohn put it well—“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Take a look at the people you spend the majority of your time around, and seek out people whose success you want to emulate if necessary.
3. Do Something Today.
Dreaming big is okay. It’s encouraged. But once that euphoric, hopeful phase has passed, and you start to think about what has to happen for that goal to come to fruition, you can start to feel discouraged. What if’s start to proliferate your thinking, and doubt plants its ugly seed firmly into the fertile soil of your mind.
Combat this by breaking down your goal to the smallest step, the first one of which you can do right now. It’s important that it is something you can do today, even right now if possible. Putting it off until tomorrow, or worse, “someday” is a prescription for acute procrastination.
4. Do Something Every Day.
No matter how small, do something every day that is pushing you forwards. Success is a habit. So said Aristotle—
And that Aristotle guy was a smart dude. Doing something every day towards the achievement of your goal gives you something outside of the daily incremental improvements – and that is momentum.
Not just something you learn about in physics class (p=mv), momentum is a component of success that isn’t talked about very much.
And understandably, have you ever seen or touched momentum? It’s something you feel, an experience, something that seems to just happen.
Momentum isn’t created through planning or thinking. It’s experienced through action. The more you act, the more momentum you create. So go create some on a daily basis!
5. Embrace the Challenges.
Failure sucks. You know it, I know it. It can demoralize you, knock you off what you thought was impregnable footing, humble you… You get it. However, when you use failure as fuel you take away its lethality. It’s sort of like a well-executed jiu-jitsu throw – you leverage your opponents weight against them.
How to perform this piece of jiu-jitsu wizardry?
When failure shows its ugly mug, and the initial sick-to-your-stomach sensation has subsided, step back and look at what happened and ask yourself, “How can I make this the best thing to ever happen to me?” Once you do this, failure won’t seem so scary, and you will be hopefully more willing to tackle those big greasy goals you have for yourself.
Best part is that this tactic works for just about anything; a bad swim, break-ups, accidentally deleting every single music file on your iPod. (Okay, maybe not the last one.)
6. Accept that you are going to have bad days.
As awesome as we are (and yes, you are awesome), there are going to be days where we feel anything but. Nothing seems to go right, everyone is annoying us, and no matter what we try to do, it only seems to make it worse.
The good news is this – these days happen to absolutely everyone.
The even better news – it will pass quickly.
Knowing that those dips in motivation is just a brief hiccup in the grand scheme of things can be enough to get through it.
7. Do some sleuthing.
Learning why your motivation levels are soggier than a bathing suit that’s been left in a wet towel for three days is a great way to anticipate and reduce the impact of future dips in motivation. How do you do this? Tracking things like your sleep, workouts, stress-levels and even diet can help you detect patterns. Understanding why your drive is low helps you put it into perspective.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of losing motivation is not knowing what brought it about. Go through your log and see the patterns so that you’ll have bright, flashing “Warning! Low levels of motivation ahead” lights in place for the future, giving you the opportunity to deal with it before it strikes.
Boom! 7 simple and powerful ways to accelerate your swimming motivation.
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About the Author
Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer turned publisher and writer.
He has a regular column with SwimSwam.com, SwimSwam Magazine, as well as USA Swimming’s Splash Magazine. His writing has also been featured on NBC Universal, STACK, Swimming World Magazine, and more.
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