I have returned AND I’ve survived my first goals toward overcoming my fears! Yeah – high 5!
As you may know one week ago I came out (quite possibly an unfitting term to use here) and declared to the Facebook world that I am terrified of jumping into water (in conjunction to the consequential ‘survival’ swimming that ensues). I knew with public acknowledgement (and the intention to inspire others) I was going to be highly accountable for my following actions. May I just say, what a liberating action that was! If you are contemplating doing something resembling this to inspire change in your life may I heartily encourage you to take the step and do so.
As you may recall from my previous entry I encouraged you readers to set small (and achievable) goals which were to serve as stepping stones to success. So to demonstrate that I have practiced what I preach I set myself the following:
1. Prepare the mind – fill it with success and empowerment:
I made the most of the opportunity that whilst doing house work I listened to YouTube clips comprising of keys to overcoming fear and personal success stories (not to mention those superb combinations of inspirational speeches and soul-stirring music: let’s be honest now, we’re all teary suckers for these). I made the decision to fill my mind consciously (and subconsciously) with this empowering material. I knew that my attitude and approach toward this is instrumental to my success.“Mountains are only a problem when they are bigger than you. You should develop yourself so much that you become bigger than the mountains you face.” Idowu Koyenikan
2. Pick up decent swimming gear – yep, spend yo’ hard-earned monies.
You may be thinking right now, “um.. so you went shopping..? Yay you..”. Well, in conjunction to publicly acknowledging that I was going to slay my anxiety-related foe, spending my dough on decent (and costly) swimming gear meant that I would be frustrated if I did not get out and actually use it. So, I went into a sports store and started by purchasing the sexiest possible set of Zoggs available. Rockin’ them too may I add. Especially those red marks that remain around your eyes when you take them off. Next step is to spend a little extra and purchase myself a Trisuit (reasoning to follow below).
3. Start small – building my physical and confidence-related muscles:
I made the decision to commit to swimming laps at minimum once a week. This is to refine both my swimming skills (as due to time of avoiding this activity I have become let’s say.. backward) and increase my confidence about being in water. Thankfully for me I have two magnificent individuals who are keen to do this activity at the drop of a hat. Both are positive and uplifting and as I have already discovered, one of which is full of praise and swimming-related knowledge (not to mention he may look spankin’ in those tri pants.. daaaay-um).
4. Keep it positive and light-hearted – instil those regular injections of fun:
Heard of or visited an Aqua Park of late? If not close your eyes and picture floating, inflatable giggle-filled fun. Feel free to come prance around it with me sometime over the next few weeks. There’s bound to be tittering, tumbling and more likely than not untameable frizzing of my not-so-glamorous mane (further humour for you).
5. Have faith in yourself – commit to an event:
For me this means registering for a sporting event. As luck would have it there is a “Just Tri It” racing series held every few months in my local area. It’s basically a shortened Triathlon (two distance options: swim 300m/bike 10km/run 3km or 600m/20km/6km) so I can ease myself into the concept of swimming for extended periods through open water. Next race is in 10 weeks. Perfect! Next on the WTB list, a road bike and that aforementioned hot-to-trot trisuit..
6. Keep it real – put things into perspective:
This wasn’t a goal as such, but more so a reminder that I am embarking on a journey that is going to take time and perseverance. As I was swimming my first few laps I was dealing with anxiety and frustration with my decreased level of competence in the water. After a lap I took a moment to reset my mindset and reminded myself that I had similar experiences when first beginning to train in long distance running. I recalled that time in my life when running 2km was an accomplishment. It hurt, I couldn’t breathe and if that long-legged man wearing shorts tighter than mine lapped me one more time I was certain I was going to pounce and cut off his ponytail. However, with time and dedicated training I can now successfully run a half marathon (21.1km). Start humble and work towards excellence.