Should I retire or keep swimming?
This is a big question that many athletes come to, at some point in their careers. There is no right or wrong answer, no black or white. One can decide to retire and come back later if they choose. They can keep swimming and stop in a year.
Yet, often after the Olympics, we hear about many athletes stating that they are officially done, and some left on the fence about what is best to do for their own selves. For people close to representing their countries in international competition, especially the Olympics in 2016, the bigger question of “Does this motivate me?” needs to be asked.
There is only one person you have to check in with, and that is yourself.
Before you answer the questions below, go ahead and take ten slow deep breaths – breathe in through your nose, let your belly rise with air, and then open your mouth, exhale and relax the belly back to normal….and say AAHHH if you want to also….:)
Okay, yes, this may seem silly, but…
This will help you get out of your conscious mind and stop rationalizing what is “right” and help you get into the deeper place within you (subconscious, intuition, your heart where answers often reside) to know what is best, or what you really want.
Do you love to swim? Do you get motivated to go to swim practice, do strength and flexibility work, mental training, and whatever else you commit to, to be your best in the pool? Does it still excite you? If you answer yes to these questions, then it seems like you likely have your answer.
Do you have unfinished business in the pool? Will you always wonder what could have happened if you stop now? Or, can you feel satisfied knowing you have given your best up until now?
What do you receive from swimming? How do you get to give back by swimming?
What do you gain by retiring from swimming and doing something else, whether for your life, or for a little while? Or, staying active and fit, but at a much less serious level? Answers will come as you pay attention.
And know, that ultimately, you are the one who needs to feel good about the decision.
Whether you continue on or retire, if you made the decision that is best for you, you will feel energized with what you decide.
Katrina Radke is an Olympic Swimmer, and Bestselling Author of Be Your Best Without the Stress, where she shares her own Olympic story, and tools for you to realize your true potential.
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