Monday, July 21, 2008

Change and Habit

My swimming instructor is teaching me to breath on the left side. My current habit now is to turn my head to the right with each stroke of my right arm. This is causing my neck to stiffen and isn't efficient in the water.

So now I'm learning to swim three strokes (one, two, three, turn head to the right to breath-then one, two, three, turn head to the left). As I struggle with this new habit I'm sucking down water, I'm sinking and gasping for breath, my neck is bothering me and I can barely swim 200 yards as I flail around in the water trying to get my body in alignment.

I feel like a baby. And yet my turning my head to the right with every right arm stroke is just a habit, something I learned to do. And that means that I can learn to do something else to replace that habit as long as I practice it.

My swimming instructor's philosophy: "If people are willing to change and to practice that change, then people are capable of anything." I realized the simple, awesome truth of this statement. Annoying habits are just that, habits. This means they can be changed with practice. I couldn't swim at all as of last November, but now I can swim 400 yards without stopping. This is not a miracle. This did not happen overnight. It was hard work and training, but mostly it was all about breaking everything down into manageable pieces, learning them and practice, practice, practice.

It's not easy, but it's very doable.

If I can swim, I can do damn near anything including learning to breath on the left side. I'm wondering what other "good" and "fun" habits I can cultivate now.

1 comment:

anne said...

yaaaaayyy MT! I am very proud of you - thank you for sharing!