That last sentence has a power that few of us realize. How much transformation might we all experience in our swimming — and possibly in life — if our goal for each practice was to enjoy swimming more than you ever have.
I’ve often written that my goal in nearly every practice is to swim better than I ever have. Setting the bar that high leads to a sense of Purpose and Focus that’s rare.
It also prods you to define ‘better than ever’ in flexible and insight-producing ways. Most swimmers have difficulty seeing beyond the time on the pace clock as a measure of how well they’re swimming. But the most important – most lasting – quality of swimming should be whether it makes you feel better in body and mind.
I’ve also learned that swimming with mindfulness and purpose consistently puts me in a Flow State, which is just another way of saying Bliss. It’s Flow that makes swimming addictive, that draws me eagerly to the pool. Rosita’s anecdote made me realize that my true swimming goal is to have the same experience as her friend — to have more fun than I’ve ever had .
That prompts me to ask: Why not pursue Kaizen Happiness as well as Kaizen Skills — to gain the ability to access ever more profound states of sheer joy, and steadily increase your ability to access those states at will.
So here’s a suggestion for practice planning. Make it your explicit goal to practice in ways that:
Make you feel better — even amazing – physically.
Make you feel better about yourself.
Make you ever more passionate about swimming.
For the next month, try using those as your standards and goals, instead of the usual objective measures of endurance, speed or even skill, and see how much the objective stuff improves when you focus on increasing joy instead.