6 Tips to Keep You Chasing Your Swimming Goals When You Feel Like Giving Up

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.

No matter where you stand on the ladder of swimming prowess, from age grouper to top male or female swimmer on the planet, there are days where we just aren’t feeling it. Where we start to think that maybe we aren’t cut out for our goals, that our abilities aren’t all they are cracked up to be, or simply that we are going nowhere fast.

These moments can be frustrating, which only seem to perpetuate the cycle of feeling down in the dumps in regards to your swimming. (Feeling bad about feeling bad is quite possibly the worst.)

It’s natural to experience some doubt occasionally. If, on the other hand, you have been experiencing these more consistently, and are beginning to seriously to rethink your swimming goals, than here are 6 things to remember when you feel like you are on the brink of giving up:

1. Everyone Else is Struggling Too.

We imagine success to be this straight-forward thing. After all, when we watch our swimming idols all we ever see is the results of their hard work, not the wake of strife and frustrations that ultimately propelled them there. Everyone has their own set of challenges and difficulties, no matter how good of a front they put on when they are on deck, or how high atop the podium they climb.

2. Don’t hope for good luck.

Good luck is nice, but it is not something you can depend on, or waste time and energy hoping for. When you start wishing for good fortune you are doing two very important things: dismissing your own talents and abilities, and removing yourself from the equation. Depending on luck means things are now completely out of your hands, and up to fate. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know fate well enough to leave my goals in it’s hands.

3. Get in touch with the reasons you started.

It is very difficult to maintain the enthusiasm and excitement we felt at the beginning of the year over the long stretch of a full season. As the hard swim workouts accumulate sometimes we need to remind ourselves what we are doing and why we are doing it.

Homework time! Grab a piece of paper and a pen — writing this down will really hammer it home compared to mulling it over or thinking about it — and write out the following questions and your answers:

  1. What are the reasons that I want to achieve this goal? List 2-3 reasons for why this goal is important to you. This is the simplest way to get in touch with your original set of motivations.
  1. How will you feel when you push past the resistance you are feeling now? Think back to the last time you kicked down the wall of resistance that was in front of you. Yeah, that time. How did you feel afterwards? Proud? Like a certified O.G.?
  1. Will you regret giving up a year from now? Imagine yourself a year from now. A year smarter, a year older, and hopefully a year further along. Is “Future You” going to be pumped about you having quit today?

The answers to these three questions should put you back in touch with the inner fire you possessed at the beginning of the year.

4. Success is a process, not an outcome.

We get so wrapped up with achieving a specific time, or placing, or qualifying for a team, that we forget that true success in the pool is the day-to-day process, the daily stretch to go just a little bit further, the ongoing effort to get a tiny bit better than we were yesterday. It’s about making today’s swim workout just a little bit better than yesterday. Stop thinking about the mountain of work ahead of you, and direct all of your attention and efforts at the very next step, and nothing else.

5. There is always a lesson.

Looking at our shortcomings and failures isn’t particularly appealing. After all, who in their right mind wants to relive and analyze a moment or time where we underperformed? For some the sting of a bad swim is too strong to allow for analysis. We’d rather brush it aside and distract ourselves than come to terms with why the performance happened to begin with. Use failures as feedback so that you can move on more intelligently.

6. Momentum swings both ways.

Ever notice that when you are in a groove of nailing good practices that it becomes easier to do so? That it gets easier (and dare I say even fun?) to devastate workout after workout?

Unfortunately, the same thing happens in the other direction. When you miss one workout, or have a sub-par practice, it gets easier to whiff another one. If you feel the your efforts swinging in the opposite direction, stop, take a breath and focus on putting one good practice together simply to break the streak.

All it takes is one good practice to turn it all around.

About YourSwimBook

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9 years ago

What about trying a different training method or just focus on perfecting your techniques or even changing teams & coaches?

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national-level swimmer, swim coach, and best-selling author. His writing has been featured on USA Swimming, US Masters Swimming, NBC Sports Universal, the Olympic Channel, and much more. He has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 …

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