We’re lucky in Australia to have glorious summer weather that just begs for New Year’s Resolutions to stick! If your resolution for 2018 is to get in the pool more often, make sure you stick to it by following these simple tips.
Pinpoint why you’re making your resolution
Unless you understand why you’re making it, it’s hard to stick to a resolution. Your reasons for creating a New Year’s Resolution don’t need to be the same as everyone else’s – maybe you want to swim more because you want to get outdoors more, challenge yourself to try a new sport, or even eventually teach your kids to swim. Whatever your reason, make it clear.
Have you ever made it your New Year’s resolution to go to the gym seven days a week or completely avoid processed foods only to get to mid-January and give up? We’ve all been there… The key to keeping to your resolution is to start small. Maybe you begin January with two swim sessions a week, then increase to three or four when you feel ready. If you’re short on time, maybe for you it’s more about learning to prioritise your swimming time and gradually increasing your 15-minute morning session to a 45-minute workout most days of the week.
Make it fun
Let’s face it – if you already hate hauling yourself out of bed at 6am two days a week for thirty laps of freestyle, chances are you aren’t going to want to do it four days a week. Sticking to your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be a chore and you’ll much more likely to keep it up if you make it fun. Maybe it’s trying out a new pool every few weeks, racing yourself to beat your PB or taking a friend along with you. Do some experimenting and find what makes swimming fun and exciting for you – maybe you’ll even find that what you enjoy is the experimenting itself!
Make it a habit
Habits are hard to make, but they’re also hard to break. Behavioural psychologists suggest that all habits, good and bad, follow the same pattern – Reminder (what initiates the behaviour/habit), Routine (the habit itself) and Reward (the benefit you gain from that behaviour/habit). To make getting to the pool a regular habit, you need a regular reminder. Take a bag of your pool gear with you to work, or leave it by the door in the morning, and it will likely remind and motivate you to get yourself to the pool. Make it so easy that you barely have to think about it, and you’ll be a regular swimmer in no time.
Keep your long-term goals in mind
Sure, there are plenty of short-term benefits of getting in the pool more often. You’re likely to build muscle mass, feel happier and perhaps lose a few kilos – but what about in the long run? There’s no doubt that short-term goals are important, but a New Year’s resolution is just that – a resolution for the whole year! Looking a year or further down the track, what do you want your life and swimming to look like? Swimming is sure fantastic for fitness, but perhaps your long-term goal is to live a healthier life and avoid chronic disease or illness. Practicing your swimming often is sure to gradually improve your lap time, and perhaps it’s your goal to compete in the future. Whatever your long-term goals are, keep them in mind to keep you on track to reaching them.
Tell your friends!
At your next catch up, ask your friends what their New Year’s resolutions are and let them know of yours. They’re sure to ask you about it as the year progresses, and you’re more likely to stick to it if there’s someone holding you accountable. Plus, how amazing will it feel when you’re the only one who has kept to your resolution!?