Focus on the things you control

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Going to hit you one of the old clichés today…

Focus on the things you control.

There is a lot of uncertainty right now. When, where and how we can get back to those struggle filled early morning trainings, threshold sets, and pulling on our favorite racing suit… well, who knows. But while it can be tempting to focus on the things you cannot do, you can drive that relentless focus and drive towards the things you do control.

Things like:

  1. The self-talk that you use with yourself.

Now we talked about this last week, but I am going to say it again for emphasis. If you had a narrator for your life right now, what would it sound like? Would it be like the Google Maps or Waze voice giving you directions?

  • “In 600m, turn left and get down on yourself because things are unfair.”
  • “In 15m, take the second exit at the roundabout of self-pity and apathy.”
  • “In 1000m, you will have failed to reach your goals for the season.”

While these examples are geared to give you a laugh, the self-talk you are using makes a massive impact on how you persevere through this and reach your destination. Choose to be purposeful with the language you use. Your thoughts become actions. Use self-talk that acknowledges the situation at hand but also reminds you that you are built for this kind of adversity. You got this.

“This sucks, it’s not fair, and my goals in the pool are toast.”


“Yep, this is hard, this is challenging, and everyone else is experiencing hardship too… What can I do today to get me closer to my goals?”

  • The way you react to tough times and adversity.

Yes, this moment is challenging. But there will be swimmers who will come out of this better and improved because they focused on how they reacted to adversity instead of the adversity itself. Times are tough, but the swimmer who makes the best of a tough situation positions themselves better moving forward. Even though you cannot swim in the pool, and your usual routine and schedule have been upended, you can make the most of the situation. Improving your core strength. Getting into an awesome pre-hab routine. Doing yoga to up your mobility game. You cannot always control what happens in the world, but you can always control how choose to react to it. You are in control of your own thoughts and emotions.

  • The effort you give in all the things you do.

For those of you that were on our Zoom call two weeks ago, you will remember the activity where you went and got a snack. For those of you reading this now that were not, we are doing them every Friday so come and join. I got each person the get a snack from the kitchen. Then write down their biggest goal in our sport. We then thought of someone that had achieved that goal before. Maybe not someone that we knew personally but a Cate Campbell, Mitch Larkin or Matt Wilson. We then looked back at our snack of choice and asked the question: Would the person that I just thought of, that has achieved the goal that I want to achieve, would they have picked what I picked?

Letting things slide, dropping the personal standards you have for yourself when no one is watching, or when things are not “normal” is tempting. I get it. Most days it is a struggle to get out of my trackies and be active and productive. It is an easy opportunity to let my standards take a vacation. I won’t lie, it’s been tough. But if there is something that I have been telling myself over and over again, it’s this… Champions are champions all the time, not just when things are easy or when the situation is perfect. Which means… Do your dryland to the best of your ability. Look after your loved ones to the best of your ability. Embody the mindset and life of a champion, even if that means you cannot get in the pool and do it in the water. The world deserves your best. You deserve your best. Especially today.

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