As you may or may not know by now, I am definitely a creature of habit. I get comfortable in my routine, and have difficulty changing things up. While it’s good to be willing to try new things and be flexible, I think there is also something to be said for having a routine. I feel the most calm and in control when I know what to expect and have a clear plan. Also, I function my best when I am doing things that I am comfortable and confident in doing.
As I mentioned the other day, I have been trying to swim as a way to maintain some fitness while I am recovering. Swimming is definitely NOT something that I find comfortable and I am certainly not confident in my abilities. To make matters worse, I have to go to different gyms to use indoor pools. Talk about a change in routine!
So the easy thing for me to do is to give up on the whole swimming thing. Trust me, I considered it and actually put off even attempting to swim for weeks in hopes that I would find something else that I could do while I’m not running! Finally, I put on my big girl panties and said that I would do what makes me uncomfortable, knowing that after it became a habit I would gain some level of comfort.
On Tuesday morning I made my second attempt at swimming this week. I went to a gym I had never been to before (and got lost driving there in the process!) It’s like a mile away from where I live but in an area of the city I never go to and one that I wouldn’t feel comfortable running around in the dark. When I finally found the gym and got inside I had to ask the lady at the desk to show me where the locker rooms and pool were. Turns out they were in completely opposite directions! Like seriously, I’m supposed to walk through the gym where people are working out on machines in my wet bathing suit to get back to the locker room? Ughh.
So anyway, there were only 3 lanes and they were super small but luckily there was a lane free when I got there and I didn’t have to share. I am so scared to share a lane with someone because I would really worry about swimming into them or kicking them or spitting water on them or something. I’m not exaggerating at all.
And can we just talk about how intimidating it is to have a lifeguard staring at you the whole time? You can’t try to tell me that they’re not judging- I mean how could you not? What else are you supposed to do while you’re sitting there?
I survived my 30 minutes in the pool and made my way back to the locker room (after getting lost walking through the gym….nothing is ever easy…) and took a quick shower before heading home to get ready for work. The other thing about going to these other gyms is that I need to be done early in order to avoid rush-hour traffic, because it could literally take me 20 minutes to drive that one mile once traffic starts. (Sorry- I feel like I am always complaining about weather or traffic- I guess you know my pet peeves).
Not to totally get off topic- but can I just say that we are supposed to get snow on Friday?!? How is this happening…
Anyway, back to the point of this rant. I made it through two swimming sessions and nothing catastrophic happened. I may have dealt with traffic and gotten lost a few times but lessons were learned and hopefully that won’t happen again. And I am now more experienced swimmer by 60 minutes more than last week.
I was thinking alot this week about how and why we develop a love for the things we do- like running or yoga or swimming or whatever it is and find ways to be successful at those things, even if they don’t come naturally to us. I don’t know of many people who developed a love for an activity when they were forced to do it.
I hated running when my field hockey coach told me I had to do it.
I didn’t like ballet but in order to compete in other dance programs it was required that I take it.
I’m pretty sure I only loved gymnastics when I was 12 because I was “cut” from the middle school team that I had half-heartedly tried out for.
But then I realized I wanted to be a better field hockey player, so I took my running a bit more seriously and realized it wasn’t so bad, and eventually learned that it was a great activity that I could do to stay in shape without needing a gym membership.
I realized that I wanted to better in all areas of dance, so put more work into ballet, and learned it wasn’t so bad. Especially when my dance teacher told me that I was at an advanced enough level that I could start doing pointe.
And as for the gymnastics, I never quite recovered from being cut from the team, but I guess you can say that I am making up for it now by working on inversions in yoga.
So just like I learned my lessons the hard way growing up, I’m hoping I will gain that intrinsic motivation to swim, in the process of being “forced” to do it while I am not running. One day I will look back and know that it only helped me to be a more well-rounded athlete and take the time I need to recover and get back to running safely.
We also gain confidence by trying new things that make us nervous. As Michele explained the other day, we need to learn how to fall, and then be able to rise after falling or failing.
Hm, maybe I was never really able to fall well because I never got that chance to do gymnastics. At least now there is no pressure to make a team- talk about adding more stress to the already difficult teenage years! But my point is, these things never came “easy” to me, but a little effort can make all the difference. The recipe for success seems to be the appropriate amount of motivation, effort, and confidence. Skill is helpful, but not required.
Are there areas of your life where you had to develop intrinsic motivation for an activity before you could truly put a solid effort into it?
Do you have a fear of of trying new and/or challenging thing?
What was the last new activity you tried? How did it go?