I’m learning to optimize my environment to build a habit without relying on willpower. Willpower is overrated. Environmental design is the key.
Inspired by the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, I’ve identified 10 things you can do to build and sustain a habit of swimming. I try my best to hit every point, but do miss some (or a lot) sometimes. That’s when I break my streak.
Here are the 10 tips to help build and sustain a good habit of swimming:
- Surround yourself with swimmers: Join a club. Ask a friend to go with you.
- Book off time on Google calendar for working out: The location and time are clear.
- Have a designated ready-to-go swim bag: Fill it up with Essential Items for swimming. Need help? See this checklist for packing your swim bag.
- Make it obvious: Place your bag by the door. Hang your sPARKA in the living room. Keep a post-swim treat near your keys. Set up calendar reminders.
- Nap: A quick nap to help re-energize you for an evening workout.
- Eat: Take a light snack before swimming. Have a nutritious meal after the workout. Refuel to build a stronger body.
- Reward yourself: “That was hard, and I did great!”. Have a treat: chocolate milk, pancakes, pasta, or a massage. The only way to sustain interest in swimming is if you enjoy it. By rewarding yourself with verbal praises and nice treats, you're choosing to experience it positively.
- Prioritize recovery: Refuel with nutritious food. Rehydrate. Stretch. Sleep lots and regularly.
- Build a “ritual”: A warm up routine that carries you into the workout. This is my routine: Nap, snack, grab my bag and go, meet my club on deck, dryland stretches, 400m warm up, main set.
- Never miss twice: There’ll be days when you’re tired, hungry, loaded with junk food (we’re human), and/or in a terrible mood. Give yourself a break but return to it as soon as you can.
I hope this helps! Try them, tweak them, and good luck. I believe in you.