Hey Swimmers: Here’s How to Actually Keep Your Resolutions This Year

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.

First things first—Happy New Year to all my soggy-bottomed compatriots out there!

At this time of year many of us are staggering between holiday training camp workouts and the epic feats of eating happening at the family dinner table. (New Years Day workouts were always spectacularly punishing.)

With a new year comes fresh promise, an opportunity for a renewed sense of direction. For most people, and swimmers are no different, this means setting resolutions for the year. With the change of the calendar comes (hopefully!) some reinvigorated ambition towards achieving greatness in the pool, whatever that means for each individual swimmer.

While the motivation to create resolutions is natural, and seemingly now another cog in the holiday wheel, it probably comes as no big surprise that most people have a really hard time keeping their resolutions. While close to half of Americans will make resolutions this year, only about 8% of them will achieve it according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Need some suggestions for creating a resolution this year? Here are 17 resolutions for swimmers to get you started.

Here are a few ways to help make those pesky resolutions stick around so that you can swim fast and stuff:

Be aware of the triggers behind your slip ups.

The key to staying on track over the long haul is getting back on the horse. In a separate study resolvers were followed for two years, and when resolvers fell off the wagon a common theme was that just prior to slipping off they noted feeling a lack of personal control (duh), “excessive stress and negative emotion.”

In other words, the “ah whatever, screw it” moments when you are annoyed, stressed and frustrated with how things are going. When you feel that emotional state creeping up on you, be aware that its creating a prime situation for you to ditch on your goals.

Social support will prove influential.

I have written ad nauseum about surrounding yourself with people who are not only vested in your success, but who will help push you along by providing a positive and supportive environment for you and your aspirations. It turns out that keeping resolutions requires this as well. Successful resolvers noted that positive social support was instrumental in keeping their goals/habits/resolutions going, particularly after the six month point.

Partnering up with a teammate, or posting your goals on sticky-notes around the house so that the family fully understand your resolve, and sharing your goals with your coach are all ways you can help foster an environment that will produce success for you in the water.

Keep it simple.

Making New Years Resolutions is kind of fun. You get to think about awesome stuff without actually having to act on it immediately. And who doesn’t like themselves some consequence-free dreamin’? A common problem is that the feel-good nature of it snowballs from one to a handful of resolutions in a hurry. The key is to picking one thing and doing it well.

After all, even having one resolution is difficult. You are going to slip up on occasion with just the one, but can you imagine the number of slip-ups you will have by having 5 or 6 of them? A big, stinky, demoralizing pile of slip-ups, that is how many.

Fight the urge to go all multi-taskey on your resolutions (like I should talk—I have 12 tabs open in my browser window right now) and pick one thing and one thing only.

Take it one day at a time.

A year is a long time. A really long time. Thinking about keeping your new goal/habit/resolution over the course of that 12 months can be a little daunting. Instead, focus on today and the next day. And that is it.

Getting past the first few weeks appears to be the major determinant for whether you keep at it all year long, in other research 76% resolvers still keeping at their resolution at day 30 lasted the full year. Instead of worrying about being able to keep your goals in tact over the long haul, focus on keeping strong until February 1.

And lastly…

It’s a process. And that means it is going to be bumpy.

Anytime you embark on leveling up your swimming (or your life in general) you anticipate a smooth, frictionless journey. By now we should understand that this is exactly the opposite of how it works, and yet, we keep hoping for it.

There will be days where you fall off. Where you are sick, or tired, or both sick and tired, and that is fine. It’s normal. Just make sure that you don’t beat yourself up mentally to the point that you miss the next day as well.

About YourSwimBook

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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About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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