Enjoying every stroke

Will power is elusive. There are several habits, routines, rituals and skills I have fallen short on executing. It seems paradoxical that the hardest things to sustain are the ones we are most convinced is good for us.

Terry Laughlin was a swim coach with an eye for detail. He observed that competitive swimming emphasised strength building over technique. There was not enough attention paid to harmony and symmetry – finding the streamlined path of least resistance. This feeling of slipping effortlessly through the water feels delightful in comparison to the red-faced struggle that is pure strength training. The key is to enjoy every stroke. If a particular stroke does not feel good, the input needs to be adjusted until it does.

This is the key to persistence – to frequently check-in on ourselves while doing it and observing if we are enjoying in that moment. If we are not, there is a disconnect between intent and execution.

When I think of building a habit, I try it for one day. If I pay enough attention to it, I’ll know if I enjoy it enough to return the next day.


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