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Try-It Tuesday: Go Jump in a Lake!

open-water-swimming-1Do I look nervous? I was nervous. Terrified may be a more accurate description.

I go swimming at my Y all the time, and even though it was out of my comfort zone when I started, I’ve been swimming 2-3 times per week for more than two years and I’m very comfortable with it now. Sliding into the pool is like slipping into a warm bath to me. Very soothing. Very relaxing.

But I’m training for my first triathlon, so guess what that means? The swimming portion is done in open water, not in the safety of my Y. I’ve been dreading this for a couple of months now. My excuses were endless: the water’s too cold, I don’t know where to go, I don’t have the right suit. And on and on. But slowly the excuses started to wear thin and I knew I was just gonna have to do it.

I decided I’d have more luck if I:

  1. Had someone go with me – in this case, my 18-year-old son, Robert – so I wasn’t facing it alone (and also would be less likely to chicken out).
  2. Announced to all of you beforehand that I was gonna do it, compelling me to make good on my promise.

Sometimes a public declaration that you’re going to do something you find nerve-wracking is a way to hold yourself accountable. The potential for failure was still there, but my desire to not look like a complete coward outweighed my anxiety.

So here I am, facing my fears!

open-water-swimming-1I gotta admit, it unnerved me even though I did it; the cold, dark water, the plants swirling around underneath me, touching my arms and legs occasionally, completely freak me out. I dunno know why they do, but they do.

Facing your fears and holding yourself accountable in one area of life carries over to other areas as well. When I made a commitment to compete in a triathlon I knew I would have to face this. I could have listened to those voices in my head, the voices that told me I didn’t have to do this. I could back out and no one would know.

Just like all those times when I cut myself slack on my poor food choices; no one would know.

But I knew.

Before I lost weight I broke promises to myself all the time, and eventually I stopped trusting myself. I didn’t believe I was capable of carrying through with anything really difficult, because I did it so rarely.

Constantly making excuses undermined my self-esteem. You may feel, as I did, that you’re not capable of doing things that are difficult because you let yourself off the hook all the time.

But just ask yourself, what if I really tried this time? What if I put everything I had into my weight loss effort this time? What if I stopped making excuses and started keeping my promises to myself?

I’ll let you in on a secret.

open-water-swimming-1You end up with a look like this on your face.

Feels pretty damn good actually.

Maybe it’s time we tell our fears to go jump in a lake!

C’mon, we got this!

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