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.
It’s crazy how much of an impact our attitude has when it comes to the way we perform in the pool.
On days when we are riding high, with life seemingly bending to our will, even the toughest of workouts is met with an optimistic and determined front. And yet, when we feel bummed out, or pessimistic, the tough stuff in the pool becomes even tougher.
“Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude.” – Ralph Marston
Being positive-minded when you are going through those heavy bouts of training, where exams and assignments are piling up, can help make the challenging stuff easier to handle. When we are optimistic we are able to better brace ourselves for the difficult chapters in our swimming career, and perhaps most importantly for the team, you contribute to developing an environment where everyone – and especially you – are primed for success.
1. Get better at failing. If you look at the way you take and handle setbacks as a skill, something you can actively work on, than you are light years ahead of those swimmers that take every failure – large and small – as an indictment on their abilities. Look, setbacks are gonna happen. From the age grouper to the multi-Olympic, multi-gold medal winning athlete.What separates those from who allow failure to define why they quit and those who choose to make failure a re-direction in their journey is the outlook they have. Decide to work on improving the way you handle failing.
2. Journal some gratitude. By now there is no doubt that at least one of your friends on Facebook (perhaps even yourself) has taken some form of the gratitude challenge. (For the uninitiated, you write out 3-5 things you are grateful for on Facebook each day for a few weeks.) Research has shown that this actually works, and that redirecting your thoughts to the good stuff in your life that you have in your life increases happiness and decreases stress. You certainly don’t need to post it online for the world to see, spending a few minutes at home logging it into a notebook or log book works just as well.
3. Celebrate the victories. Especially the small ones. If you are like me, you tend to undervalue the impact of your small wins. Because they aren’t the big, life-altering victories that cause massive change, we gloss them over, ignore them and bypass them. Which is too bad. Although having three really good practices in a row, or doing bilateral breathing for the full workout, or doing every meter with awesome technique isn’t a world record or gold medal, these small wins are still worth recognizing and celebrating.
4. Be solutions oriented. It’s easy to point out the faults and shortcomings of not only ourselves, but of those around us. When things aren’t going our way the quickest route is to latch on to the problem and dwell on it. Rather than piling on to yourself (or others) seek a solution, a path forward and offer constructive criticism. When we seek solutions we are moving forward, making progress. Making excuses and offering criticism without guidance keeps us stuck in place.
5. Remember that attitude is a choice. We make a metric ton of choices on a daily basis. What we are going to eat for breakfast. Whether or not we are going to pay attention in class. Whether or not to unfollow or fully unfriend the chronic meme-poster friend on Facebook. The mental approach we take on, the attitude we carry around with us, is dictated by us as well. Simply thinking about having a better attitude can often be just the thing to have it improve. Being conscious of the fact that our chosen attitude is our prerogative is better than allowing our attitude to be influenced by others and left up to chance.
6. Don’t let the negativity of others infect you. This one is a little more sneaky. We don’t often notice how the people around us influence us until much later. Hang out with a complainer for the course of a day and you can’t help but latch on to some of that negative energy, catching yourself complaining by the end of the day. Hang out with positive-minded people, however, and you will find their optimism to be infectious. If, according the law of averages, we are the average of the five people we spend the majority of our time with, what does that make you?
7. In the words of Ghandi, be the change. When you are positive with others around you, supporting their goals, making for a more positively charged training environment, caring about your teammates, you cannot help be become more positive with yourself. Seeing the positive within yourself comes with seeing the positive in others. The effects of this may seem simple, but they are profound. When you choose to be the catalyst for creating a positive environment in training, and when you and your teammates encourage one another and foster an environment that pushes everyone to succeed, everybody wins.
YourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers. It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more. Learn 8 more reasons why this tool kicks butt.
NEW: We now have motivational swimming posters. Five of ’em, actually.
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