The Tummy Team is passionate about helping you live the life you LOVE! That often starts with core rehab but hopefully continues with you being able to live the life you were meant to live. For Kelly that includes competitive swimming. This month Kelly attended the US Masters National Swimming Championships, and she shared her journey with each of you.
As a part of this series, Kelly is sharing the steps she has taken (and coached thousands of clients in as well) to set and meet goals that bring you joy and get you back to living the life you were meant to live.
Step 1: Find Something You Enjoy!
The first step in the process is to find something you enjoy. Don’t just do what other people are doing if you don’t like it. I tried to run because my girlfriends liked to run and I ended up hating it and dreading it every day. Get creative. Think about what brings you joy or what makes you feel alive. You do not want it to feel like a chore or something you have to do. YES, hard things are hard but if you like it you can do hard things.
I swim not only because I swam in highschool and college but because I love being in the water. I love the solitude of it and I love the community of other swimmers. I love that I can drown out the sound of the world for an hour. I love that I can stretch out and float and use my muscles in a completely different way than I do the rest of my day. I like challenging my body to do things I did not think I could do. I like having a partnership with my body again where we work together.
When you are looking for something to do or something to return to be sure you are choosing something that feels like a deposit in your bank more often than a withdrawal. This is the first step of setting and making meaningful goals that fuel your soul and body.
Step 2: Create a Routine
No matter how much you love something or how motivated you are if you do not create a routine you will not be successful. I have a master’s swim team that trains multiple times a week and I pick 3-4 times that I am able to build into my weekly routine. My swim practice is built into my schedule like a work or medical appointment that I do not cancel. It is on my calendar and my family and staff know that I am unavailable during that time.
Creating a routine helps you be consistent when you don’t always “feel” like going. It is on my schedule so I go. I never regret going, but I do regret not going. Obviously there is grace built into this schedule but it is an exception not a rule that I miss my swim practice.
How can you create a routine and prioritize your goals? It is hard at first but it is not about time it is about priorities. When you make it a priority, you make the time.
Step 3: Find Your Tribe
It is a million times easier to be consistent long term if you have a community with like -minded goals and interests. This has been vital for me. I have a masters swim team filled with a great group of swimmers that all train together. I have a coach who pushes me and keeps things fresh, but most importantly I have a swim partner who has been training in my lane or the lane beside me for the past several years. We trained in a pod during the pandemic. We create workouts for each other when we swim on our own. She is faster than me, but we push each other. We laugh, complain, encourage and support each other in and out of the pool.
If you are setting goals (even in a pretty individual sport) it is so much easier with a partner. Find a group or recruit a friend. Be a support to someone else, and see how great it feels. There is no way I would be swimming at this level without my swim tribe.
Step 4: Share for Support
Include your friends and family in your journey. For a long time I kept my swimming to myself. I did not want to come across as bragging or seeking attention (I still don’t), but what I have learned over the past several years is that my friends and family want to support me. They might not understand swimming, they might not want to go to a swim meet (it’s not much of a spectator sport), but they want me to do my best and they want to hear about it. So share with the people who care about you. Let them cheer you on. Allow them to be inspired and motivated by you.
When I first shared my swimming journey with The Tummy Team community years ago, I was blown away by the enthusiasm and genuine support I received. My swimming journey seemed to have little to do with my work as a PT, or so I thought. What I have come to realize is that we all need to see how others have overcome injury and challenges and have reached for something they had lost for a time. My swimming journey gave others hope that they could get back to what they loved to do too.
So share and embrace the support of others. Their excitement can be exactly what you need to meet your goals.
Step 5: SHOW UP!
Often half the battle is just putting my suit on and getting out the door. Signing up for the meet or event. Joining the team. The hard part is simply showing up!
Someone asked me if I win any events at Nationals. My answer was “no” but I shoot for the top 10 in my age group. Top 10 in the US. Nationals sounds pretty impressive, but honestly there are thousands of women across the country in my 50-54 year old age group that are faster than me. They just don’t sign up to race. I place in the top 10 because I show up.
Yes, I work hard. Yes, I have some natural talent. Yes, I train all year. But if I don’t show up nothing happens.
You have to stop making excuses. You have to not let fear control you. You have to not care what other people are doing or thinking. You just have to show up. Consistently show up.
Step 6: Be Inspired
Simply stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, look for opportunities for the success of others to INSPIRE YOU! Life is too short to long to be someone or something you are not. The goals I set are to help me be the best version of ME not to compete with someone else. This is not easy. It can be so tempting to feel less than when someone else is doing something you seriously long to do. But that seems to be a recipe for discontent and misery.
Instead, BE INSPIRED. Look for and celebrate the victories in others. Allow yourself to be impressed and encouraged and wowed by them. Celebrate their achievements like they are your best friend and truly allow yourself to marvel at talent, dedication and perseverance.
For me, this mindset takes the pressure off of me and my crazy old school competitive nature. I have so much more fun. It keeps life in perspective. I want to be on a team of encouragers and celebrators not in a pressure cooker of stress.
Do you struggle to celebrate the success of others? Does it make you feel like you should do more or be better? It can be hard to admit but it can also rob you of the joy of doing something you love. Try to look for stories that inspire you to be your best self and see if that changes your experience.
Step 7: Learn From Others
One thing I have learned about myself is that I need a coach. I will never challenge myself enough or be creative enough without the help of others. If I am getting into the pool by myself I will swim for about 10 min and be ready to get out. I can just go through the motions and while it is better than not swimming at all, that type of “training” does not help me swim my best or meet any goals.
I have had different coaches over the years. I also have my swim partner who challenges me and encourages me to do things I would not do by myself. I also follow other swim coaches online and read articles and watch videos about swimming. I look up different workouts online and ask other swimmers what they do to train. I mix it up and do different things that I would have never thought of on my own.
You don’t have to do this alone. Find others who have done what you want to do and learn from them. This will help you meet your goals and help you meet some great people. It keeps it interesting and helps you stay motivated.
Step 8: Celebrate Your Accomplishments!
Notice how I did not say, celebrate meeting your goals? Sometimes you will work really hard, do all the great things and still not meet your goal BUT you accomplished so much along the way. Celebrate the entire process. Mini steps, especially hard training sessions, small victories, EVERYTHING.
It takes dedication and perseverance to stay committed and consistent and nothing in the journey is wasted. Look for milestones to celebrate not just the final “goal”. This helps you keep your eyes moving forward and creates a lifestyle of activity not a journey with one single destination (“and then what?”).
This lesson was hard for me to embrace at first because I can be very goal driven and single minded. But my swimming journey does not end after this meet at Nationals. I was training with such focus to meet some swim time goals “before I turned 50” and then the pandemic hit and I did not meet any of those goals. Yes, I grieved it for a bit. But ultimately, I want to be strong, painfree and the best version of me for the rest of my life and swimming is a part of that. So I need to not get too focused on any one goal and instead celebrate all the steps along the way. The big ones and the little ones.
For me, swimming at Nationals is more than just an accomplishment, it is an experience. Being there around 1000’s of other swimmers of all ages all doing something they enjoy is pretty powerful. There is this palpable fun and supportive attitude at Masters swim meets. Everyone helps everyone. We laugh at ourselves, we cheer for each other, we celebrate complete strangers when they clearly did something cool. We don’t care what anyone looks like in their swimsuit. We don’t worry about much. Yes, we want to do our best and yes we take the swim meet somewhat “seriously” but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It is something I want to be a part of as long as I am physically able. Here are a few highlights from this event.
Do you have something you are longing to get back to or even something you want to start brand new? We can help you. It might start with rehab but it might start with just a consultation with me. Take a look at how you can set up a 1:1 eSession HERE.
Look at more options on how we can support you as you heal your core and meet your goals HERE.