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3 Simple Ways To Learn to Swim Faster (Or Learn Nearly Any Other Skill)

3 Simple Ways To Learn to Swim Faster (Or Learn Nearly Any Other Skill)

Because I had never seriously done anything athletic before, I really wanted to join a sports team in high school. I went down the list of all the sports at my school. Every time I played a sport with a ball, the ball consistently found its way to my face. So, nothing with a ball. Then, the list got very short: running, wrestling, or swimming. I took some swimming lessons when I was in elementary school, so I decided that I’d found my sport. I asked my swim team friend how I could join. I needed to make the team by swimming faster and learning butterfly. In doing so, I learned not only how to swim faster but how to build any new skill, like writing or dancing.

1. Get someone/something to keep you accountable

Nothing feels better than starting a new activity like that new yoga class or that new diet. But reflect back on all the times you have tried to change your life. You will find a lot more beginnings than endings. Why? Because starting is actually a lot of fun. It isn’t too hard to try something new when it feels exciting and different. The hard part is what happens between the beginning and the end- and a swim instructor or workout partner, for example, can help you with just that. Think of those moments when you feel as if your body cannot lift itself out of bed; when absolutely anything sounds better than going swimming or going to the gym; when cleaning your desk suddenly jumps to the top of your priority list.

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Your mind will give you every excuse possible not to improve, but having an instructor you have paid for will make your consistency a lot easier to maintain. Instructors are not the only options either. Joining a club, team, or even a competition can all help you to push yourself by providing an imaginary gun to your head- with social pressure as the ammo.

2. Do not talk about your new goal

Think about your very successful friend, the one that is going to Harvard or has a nice job. There are usually two options: 1) That person brags about their accomplishments, not what they plan to do, or (the more pleasant, common option), 2) Everyone talks about that person’s accomplishments for them.

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In both these examples, the successful person doesn’t prioritize talking about what they plan to do.

Here’s another way to see this in action: say out loud: “I’m going to lose weight. Tomorrow, I’m going to meticulously plan out my calories for each meal by writing it in the Notes App on my phone. Then, at 8:00pm everyday I’m going to jog for 3.576 miles.”

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Feels good, doesn’t it? Imagining yourself putting on your running shoes. Imagining yourself eating some kale. But learning new skills requires getting your happiness from actually carrying out your plans, not just the satisfaction of verbalizing them.

3. Recognize that failures are bound to interrupt you

I remember periods in my swim career where I had a really tough workout and then my times got faster. So, as long as I pushed harder, I should have kept continuously improving, right? Nope. Sadly, there will be periods where you push harder, but you just can’t make your times faster. Or you can’t understand that math problem. Or you get an injury that prevents you from achieving your goal. And that’s okay.

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Point #1 is great for getting you through those hard times. Perceive obstacles as something else to work on, like a new drill that will better your form or improve your breathing. Then, when you are able to, you can go back to your regular approach. Switching up your regime can keep things fresh and less stressful.

By working with the YMCA instructor, I improved my times enough to join the swim team. Then, the swim team helped me to improve my times and form with grueling morning practices. Now, it has been two years since I have been on a team. But one of the best feelings you get from acquiring a new skill, is its lingering control over you. Every so often, I seriously feel like I need to strip off and get into a pool and complete some laps. These thoughts belong to the same guy who once dreaded taking a 30-minute lesson to learn butterfly. Follow these tips and soon enough, you won’t need to push yourself: your new hobby will push you.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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