What I Do When I Feel Like Giving Up

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Hello Swimmers.
Today was one of those days.
You probably know it well enough…
Where everyone seems to be cutting you off in traffic. Where everything breaks down. The people in your life are acting the fool.
And of course, training goes…well, pretty much the worst.
We all experience these sliding-backwards days. Sometimes in streaks that amplify their effect and instill a sense of panic—“Forget improving, I just want things to get back to where they were!”
Here is what I make myself do when I feel the walls closing in and want to give up:
Cool off.
If that means going for a two-hour walk listening to some classical music, so be it.
Or going to the movies with your friends to distract yourself, so be it.
Or talking to a loved one who can help reason you down off the rash-decision cliff while you are holding your rash-decision axe.
Have you ever ended up regretting something you did well?
Of course not.
So if you are feeling like giving up, if you feel like the world is stacked up against you, or you just don’t feel like it, go to the pool, and swim well.
You don’t need to have the best workout of your life.
You don’t even need to swim fast.
Just swim well.
It’s shocking how even just a well-performed workout can help make us feel.
Go back to basics.
When I am feeling frustrated it is usually because I am over complicating things.
If you are doing research for a paper, and you have 16 different browser tabs open you know a little bit about what I am talking about here. The clutter, the complication; it makes things more confusing and overwhelming.
There is a great power and calm to be found in simplicity. When you focus on one thing, and one thing only we feel more in control of our effort.
If you’ve hit a roadblock in your swimming return to the fundamentals.
“If you’re worried about getting 2% better first make sure you are doing the other 98% right.”
The pain is temporary.
It’s hard to see past the malaise that we are presently. Because we are experiencing it right now we believe that it’s going to be like this forever and ever and ever.
The workout you are dreading will end shortly enough.
The exam you are cramming your brains out for will pass.
The long week of training will be over in a few days.
You’ve been through worse, and there are more tough times to come, but as you know from experience, you will make it.
We oft forget how resilient we truly are.
Make yourself a couple very little goals.
Nothing quite unshackles us from our apathy and misery than forward movement.
Action, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, shakes loose the feelings of being trapped and stuck.
Sit down, pull out your log book and write down a couple basic things you want to do today in practice.
Think small. Super small.
These small wins, small steps, baby-steps—whatever we wanna call them—might be small in nature but their importance take on a value disproportionate to their size by the momentum they help generate.
A couple small wins today lead to a couple more small wins tomorrow. And the day after that. And again the day after that.
See you at the pool.