You Can Do More Than You Think You Can

You Can Do More Than You Think You Can

You Can Do More Than You Think You Can | brokeGIRLrich

I mentioned the other day that I’ve been feeling stuck in neutral. I was writing about money in that post, but honestly, I feel that way about a whole lot of things in my life right now.

On the plus side, neutral is not reverse. So I decided to work on something pretty concrete that had hit reverse- my stupid New Year’s resolution to lose 15 pounds. I had been creeping along just fine until summer hit and then I wasn’t.

So instead of just sighing at the fact that my jeans were no longer getting looser, I shut up, hunted down my swimsuit and hit the gym. For the first time in a shamefully long time.

When I got to the gym, the pool was in exactly the sort of state I hate. 3 or more people in every lane, including a lot of little, old Chinese ladies who just walk with one of those kickboards up and down the lane in every single lane.

Lady, seriously, it says fast and medium lane for a reason. If you are literally walking, the lane labeled loafer is for you. Sigh. / rant.

The last few times I’d actually made it to the gym, this happened and I jumped right in the pool, swam for 5 minutes, got really angry and left.

But I had gotten there a little early, so I decided I would sit in the hot tub for 15 minutes and stare down the little, old Chinese ladies see if the pool cleared out enough to not make me want to tear my eyeballs out trying to swim in it.

And it did. 

Lesson #1: Patience.

This applies to lots of financial things, but for me lately patience is a big issue. I never have as much money as I want to put into savings and I’m always impatient to get to the next month and the next goal.

Maybe if I just enjoyed the “hot tub” of debt-freeness while I wait for the right time to do other things, I would be a little less impatient. There’s some way to find joy in every stage of accomplishing your goals.

Since the pool was now in perfect swimming mode – and by that I mean I had a lane all to myself – I decided I was swimming for at least 30 minutes and it could not be sissy swimming. I had to swim at least 500m (20 laps) before taking a breather, which is actually a big deal for me even when I’m swimming regularly.

Lesson #2: Sometimes Just Shut Up and Do It

Financially, am I short $200 for the latest goal? Then shut up and stop spending money. Don’t go hang out with friends this week or invite them to stay in and watch a movie.

Or hustle twice as hard. Sometimes you just have to commit to the hard thing and do it.

One of the things I love about swimming, which I had sort of forgotten, is that Zen moment when I’ve stopped counting my strokes or laps and my head just clears. This is actually how I wrote most of my Master’s thesis – the majority of the ideas happened while I was swimming.

I was actually remembering how incredible the pool I swam in during grad school was. The gym I happened to join there was one of the Olympic training facilities in England, so the pool was absolutely gorgeous.

Ponds Forge

So spoiled – who wouldn’t want to swim here??

It’s pretty standard to swim laps that are 25m each way. When I first started swimming there, it was a major struggle to make it to the other side of the pool. I would be gasping for breath and holding on to the wall for dear life when I got there.

I had a mental block about being able to turn and swim right back to the other side.

The thing about the pool in England though was that while the pool was set up for lap swimmers to swim 25m most of the time, when there were swim meets, they would switch over the pools so that instead of 15 lanes going across one way that were 25m, there were 8 lanes going in the other direction that were 50m.

The first time I showed up to swim right before or after a meet, I looked at the pool and nearly had a heart attack. I knew there was no way I could swim all 50m without stopping and the pool was too deep to just stop midway.

But I was there. I had to at least try, right?

So I jumped in and without that wall there letting me think I could stop, I made it all the way across the pool – 50m – without stopping.

Which is a little funny to me now. But you’ve got to start somewhere.

After a few months, I preferred when the pool was set up that way – I always wound up swimming further.

Lesson #3: You Can Do More Than You Think You Can

I think this lesson applies to so much in life, but financially – you can always push yourself a little harder. Whether it’s to get up earlier and get more done in the morning to increase a hustle or cut back more and save more money – there’s always a way to get ahead.

You just have to find the wall and figure out how to get rid of it.

24 thoughts on “You Can Do More Than You Think You Can

  1. I too have serious patience problem. I force myself to run because it helps me deal with it by keeping me present in the moment. Sure, sometimes I get caught up in mileage and think “when will this be over”, but sometimes I lose myself in the run and my thoughts- in fact, I get most of my blogging ideas while running.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…The Sex vs Money TabooMy Profile

  2. I found when we organized our finances that he change in behavior spilled over into other areas of my life. Eating and exercise where two areas. Over the last 2 years I’ve dropped 35lbs. The biggest thing you’ve got going for you is that you’ve recognized you’re stuck in neutral and trying to shift gears. Good luck!
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Week End Round Up #53My Profile

  3. Great lessons! I can be super impatient and frustrated with myself at times, too, thinking things are going too slowly and I’ll never make it. One of my birthdays my aunt sent me a card with an AA Milne quote on it, very similar. I had just found out I was pregnant, due during my busiest semester at school ever. It got me through. “There is something you must always remember: you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
    femmefrugality recently posted…The #Pittsburgh Promise: Free College Money, Free Event.My Profile

    • I know, it’s so rude. I mean, when I’m an old Chinese lady, I’ll probably just be walking laps in the pool too… it’s good for year knees.

      But really, ladies, read the lane signs. You’re no longer fast if you’re doing that. Fact of life.

  4. Not much of a pool swimmer in the past, I’ve just started taking my 2 year old for weekly lessons. Ha! Why did the something in the similar vein just happen. A group of cute, little old ladies of Asian decent (about 10) just set up shop in the area we were using to help the little biddies kick and splash to their hearts content. A life guard actually guided them to another area of the pool. But I thought the whole thing was a bit funny. We were all like, where did they just come from. Ha! I’m glad you’re developing patience with the senior swimmers. LOL!
    Toni @ Debt Free Divas recently posted…6 Financial Lessons We Didn’t Get in Home ECMy Profile

  5. Great post. Patience is a big one and it is needed in both our financial independence goals and career goals. We sometimes don’t allow ourselves or our plan to work. I also firmly believe that we let our own BS get on our way more times than not so as you say, just shut-up (or listening to your own BS) and do it already.
    LeisureFreak Tommy recently posted…Early Retirement Side HustleMy Profile

  6. I’ve never been much of a technical swimmer, but when I got severe shin splints from running a half marathon I turned toward the pool and something about being in water always made me feel more calm. Anyway, I agree that people can push themselves harder than they think they can and go to that edge. I’m in a big of a funk right now because at some point you get tired of trying really hard with little results. It’s hard to pull yourself out of that negative space, but it has to be done somehow!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…What I Know About Myself and MoneyMy Profile

    • I definitely feel you. It hasn’t been the best year. So I’m just trying to start small. Hopefully when I get the things I do have control over under control, some bigger picture things will work out too.

  7. Great post! I absolutely love swimming, too! I completely understand that Zen moment you described. Some people say their best ideas come in the shower or on the treadmill… Mine definitely happen when I’m swimming. It’s the perfect clear-head space.
    Chela recently posted…Huevos RancherosMy Profile

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