How to get motivated


There’s a reason you started swimming.  There’s a reason you keep training.  But sometimes, especially if you haven’t gotten a best time in a while, and it’s 4:45am, it’s hard to feel motivated.

“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it.”

Michael Phelps

Here are 101 ideas to keep you inspired:

  1. YouTube epic swimming performances
  2. Write daily goals
  3. Start a swim journal
  4. Have some fun! An occasional fun day won’t derail your training program
  5. Put reminders of your goals in places that present the biggest barriers to your training (Display your goals on your dashboard, next to your bed)
  6. Go all out for one full practice – notice how it feels
  7. Write a success list
  8. Work on a specific technique
  9. Make a plan and move forward
  10. Create systems to distract from pain (count tiles on the bottom of the pool, breathe rhythmically)
  11. Swim in a new pool
  12. Get a new app
  13. Go for a swim without speed or distance in mind
  14. Buy a new suit
  15. Swim happy!
  16. Ask yourself why you do it and put reminders of that where you can see it (pictures of your family or friends, beautiful scenery, healthy bodies)
  17. Swim a faster time
  18. Put your feet up and get some rest
  19. Write a personal swimming history
  20. Establish new long-term goals
  21. Take the pressure off
  22. Go a little slower
  23. Boost your pre-swim blood sugar
  24. Create a blog and post daily achievements
  25. Keep a positive swimming commentary going in your mind
  26. Choose a mantra to swim with
  27. Take a swim in the ocean
  28. Remember past peak performances
  29. Forget time
  30. Sign up for a meet
  31. Create a playlist or Pandora station to listen to before practice
  32. Make a delicious meal or snack that’s ready for you when you get home
  33. Read motivational quotes, put them where you can see them
  34. Think of your favorite swimmers
  35. Swim odd distances for personal bests (75 meter freestyle; 150 meter backstroke)
  36. Read a swimming book
  37. Play with the lines on the bottom of the pool (swim really fast between 2 lines, hold your breath until the 4th, make up rules as you go!)
  38. Buddy up and challenge each other
  39. Read about past Olympian success stories
  40. Remember how fit and strong you are becoming
  41. Make a massage appointment for the day after a hard practice
  42. Watch inspirational movies
  43. Swim with your dog
  44. Swim through the rain
  45. Feel the water on your skin
  46. Dress silly
  47. Pay up! Make a money jar based on distance swam
  48. Turn things around – use a bad performance as motivation for a good one
  49. Become a swimming mentor
  50. Take some breaks
  51. Swim for a reason – charity
  52. You always feel better after a swim than before
  53. Gold star sticker on the calendar each time you reach your goal
  54. Focus on the competition
  55. Be realistic
  56. Live in the now
  57. Forget about the big picture – quit overthinking it, swim for today
  58. Eat healthy and get lots of rest
  59. Try a triathlon
  60. Listen to your stroke – hear the sounds of your body in the water, the bubbles of your exhale, and let your day’s stress disappear
  61. Invest in good gear
  62. Smile! Fake it till you make it!
  63. Ask for help
  64. Get yourself a trophy
  65. Write a list of reasons why you love swimming
  66. Make a commitment and keep it
  67. Set goals for technique execution
  68. Begin slowly
  69. Do interval training
  70. Pretend someone important is watching
  71. Remember and recreate flow experiences in your mind while you swim
  72. Think about how swimming lines up with your personal values
  73. Take it one lap at a time
  74. Feel your heart beating, your lungs working
  75. Be grateful
  76. Help put a smile on someone else’s face
  77. Your are one step closer to becoming the best version of yourself
  78. Decide to learn something new about swimming or about yourself every day
  79. Focus on improving the process, not just the outcome
  80. Remember, swimming is fun!
  81. The more you practice, the more prepared you are to race
  82. Have a beginner’s mind
  83. Be nice to yourself
  84. Feel proud of your effort
  85. More practice = more confidence
  86. More confidence = more success
  87. Visualize success
  88. Sing your favorite song in your head
  89. Get excited!
  90. Feel like you’re flying
  91. Surround yourself with positive people
  92. Challenge yourself regularly
  93. Reflect: What went well? What didn’t go well? What did you learn?
  94. Focus only on what you want to achieve today
  95. Let go of what you can’t control
  96. Pick a quote for the day
  97. Write down your workouts
  98. Help the younger kids
  99. Change it up
  100. Stay positive
  101. Be creative! There are infinite ways to get and stay motivated!

For more tips and tricks, get on the list!