It is often said that our greatest challenges give us the strength to grow. I have found this to be particularly true during physical challenges such as a race.
Back in September 2012, I completed my first (to date) triathlon in Banff. It was an abnormally warm September day in the mountains, but this didn’t make up for the fact that the lake we swam in was absolutely FREEZING. I anticipated the swim to be the most challenging for me anyway, but I was not prepared for how cold it was that day! I knew that once I completed the swim, the rest of the race would be a piece of cake, I just had to make it out of the lake! The wetsuit offered unexpected buoyancy, and as my goggles were fogging up, I relied on the kayak to bump into me to let me know I was swimming off course (yes I was that girl- I was quite the spectacle I’m sure). At one point I told myself to calm down, and that this was not the most difficult thing I would have to endure in my life. It was 500 m afterall, and all I really had to do was to keep rotating my arms. Thats it. I could do that, so thats what I did...and before I knew it, my hand was hitting the bottom of the lake and I had done it. I had survived the swim.
I will never forget that lesson, and truly feel that the underlying premise can be applied to any life experience. Maybe not the rotating of the arms part (ha...although that would definitely lighten the mood!), but in the following basic steps:
1) Identify what it is going to take at this moment. Not how long, or how hard, but what is the one thing you can do to move you forward, right now.
2) Decide that you can do it.
3) Do it!
Seems easy, but I will be honest, I remind myself this often when I feel overwhelmed about something. How does this apply to health? Really in whatever manner you want it to. Are you struggling to lose weight? Are you in chronic pain and feel hopeless that you will have a life of ease again? Have you had a lifetime of unhealthy habits you are now trying to undo? Just take one step at a time. Focusing on what CAN be done and following through will provide faster gains than you realize! Or as Dory said, "Just keep swimming"... ;)