Enjoying things along the way
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
I love open water swimming but in the past I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with swimming events. I would get to the finish, people would say, 'did you enjoy that?' I would answer yes but inside not feel the same. I would then go home and enter another event. I was hooked. I know that sounds a bit mad and I know swimming is supposed to be fun. I'm not speedy or the best swimmer so for me, it is a fun activity rather than a competition. I used to forget that though. I would be hard on myself and although I looked forward to the event, I would get so nervous it would upset my tummy and this is not what you want at all, particularly not when you are going to be stuck in a wetsuit!
I would push myself and finish, then be mad at myself for not being quick enough, not swimming straight enough and zigzagging around ha ha. There was always some reason to be tough on myself. So instead of finishing and being proud of myself I would be all down and of course tired.
I do love swimming and I started to enter events where time isn't so important. I enter swims where it's about the scenery and enjoying where I am. Even at these events, other swimmers will ask what time did you do? I think this is perhaps about their time rather than mine. Entering events is addictive and each year I set myself new challenges, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Now though, I make sure I silence that inner critic and I enjoy the moment. The pressure comes from nobody else other than me. I used to worry I was too slow, that I wasn't good enough, that I wouldn't be able to keep up. Then at the end my critic would steal my joy! Now I am taking away the pressure and enjoying swimming so much more. Instead of there being pressure to train for an event, I try and enjoy each swim along the way, whether that's in the pool or a lake. I do love swimming and my mind was getting in the way. It was interfering and putting me under pressure.
If I'm walking from A to B, I am really good at connecting with and seeing what's around me. so now I try and do the same with goals. If you set yourself goals as I do in swimming, work and life, it's important to not just focus on that end point but to really enjoy and appreciate the journey along the way. Often it's those moments that are really special. Without that goal they may not have happened but it's those moments that make life great.