What setting yourself a challenge can do for mindfulness

In August I set myself a challenge and signed up to take part in Aspire’s Channel Swim Challenge – 22 miles in 12 weeks. I’m a pretty good swimmer – I was on the swimming and water polo team throughout school so I wasn’t worried about the swimming aspect. What I really wanted was a mental challenge and something to focus my energy on.

Kirsty's Aspire Channel Swim

Let’s face it… life can become mundane. You get into a routine and week days can just become one big blur. If, like me, you spend most hours online it’s important to take a break. So I set myself this challenge to shake things up a bit, to spend some time away from technology and to just be with my own thoughts (God, help me).

So, what has taking part taught me?

  • I can let go. I don’t actually have much time to think because I have to count my laps and the minute I start thinking about other things, I lose count. But this doesn’t matter as I’m away from distractions and I can just swim back and forth counting in my head. It’s quite therapeutic actually. I enjoy the way the water feels as I cut through it and I’m just focused on the moment.
  • I’m less stressed. We all know that exercise is good for stress levels and I find that swimming in the morning helps me relax for the day ahead.
  • I’m pretty fit. I’m 8 weeks into the 12 week challenge and I’ve gone from 10 lengths (in a 20 metre pool) in 4 minutes to 10 lengths in around 3 minutes 30 seconds. Not bad!
  • I’m more competitive than I thought. I’m constantly trying to swim further and quicker. I set myself a target (usually 100 lengths) and then when I reach it, I push myself to do a little bit more.
  • I can live without my phone for an hour and the world won’t fall apart. This one for me is the most important.

Added benefits of doing this challenge is that I feel fitter, I’m making healthier food choices and have even lost a few centimeters off various body parts. Score!

Fancy a challenge? Find something you enjoy but that will push you and go for it!

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