So imagine my surprise when I headed to the pool in Seattle today only to find many reasons why swimming at this point in my life just won’t work. The “flow” just wasn’t coming for me back in Seattle – even with the sun shining.
Here is where my head was at:
–Why, oh, why are swim goggles so complicated these days? The nose piece is funky and hard to work with and there is some claspy thing that makes it hard to tighten the straps!
–What do you mean I can’t fit into the same size suit I wore in college! That size now reveals all the bits and pieces on my backside that I apparently did not have 20+ years ago. Yikes. It takes so much work to squeeze into the suit (think Spanx) that I am left sweating and out of breath. I feel as if I have had my workout for the day before I even get in the water.
–Oh my God, this water is too hot! I feel like the pool has been mistaken for a hot tub. How can I work out when the water makes me just want to lounge around with a margarita in my hand?
–Ouch! I have a cramp in my foot! About 20 laps into my swim I develop a cramp in my right foot. Next I get a cramp in my left. I hang onto the side of pool in desperation and knead my feet until the cramps go away. What the heck? The swim Gods clearly do not want me in the pool.
–I can’t breathe. I have to stop! Once I work out the toe cramps I decide to swim a mile – what I used to swim in a college swimming race and I did it all at once…and fast. But swimming a mile 20 years later takes a lot longer and requires stopping…more than once. I am humbled.
–I am way too old to share a shower with a bunch of wild children! I finish said mile only to head into the locker room to find it overflowing with small children…no free showers, no place to park my stuff, no corner to quietly get dressed. I leave said pool nearly two hours after starting the whole process.
Yes, things were going downhill quickly.
All the best intentions to incorporate some swimming into my routine and many, many thoughts as to why this new found plan will not work!
So on my drive home I took a deep breath and made a mental note of what my heart said about my swim:
–You feel so amazing! I find that a good workout can induce the same after-effects as…you know what I’m talking about. I have a little pep in my step and I feel calm and peaceful. The endorphins were clearly flowing.
–That was just the beginning…think of how you will feel if you stick with this! If I give up now I will never know what can come of getting back into a pool. If I stick with it who knows where it will take me? The adventurer in me thinks it would be fun to do some open water swims and it will take some time to get there.
–You swam for an hour and you are not sore! Swimming is a whole lot easier on the body at my age than running or tennis (two of my other favorite activities). It’s non weight-bearing exercise that gives my joints a much-needed break.
-That was FUN! When all is said and done…the number one reason I might stick with a new swimming routine is because – ultimately – I had fun. It feels good to be back in a pool after all these years and I enjoy it! And FUN is the BEST reason for starting and sticking with any exercise routine.
So tell me – what are your “foot cramps” when it comes to exercise?
What do you do when you find yourself with a million thoughts telling you to forget it…when the excuses are plentiful and prevent you from getting out the door?
We get to choose our thoughts.
Every negative thought I had today about swimming and the pool could be turned into a positive. And I recognize that I can let go of the negative thoughts and find better feeling thoughts that are true for me and give me energy to move forward.
You can do this too!
Every time you find yourself with a list of “cannots,” take some time to make a mental note of why you “can”.
Then dare to choose all the reasons why you CAN do something.
Write those reasons down. Tape them to a computer or a bathroom mirror. Remind yourself daily of why you choose exercise at all…
Before you know it you will be the change you finally want to see…all the better feeling thoughts you choose will compel you to start an exercise routine and stick with it. Your “foot cramps” will not hold you back. Instead, you will be able to move forward under any circumstance.