New Year – a time to change – or is it?

In my week off after New Year, I treated myself to a Masters Swimming intensive camp designed to help the more ‘mature’ swimmer with their swimming style, stroke and overall efficiency in the water.

It turns out that for years I have been slightly off time in my freestyle stroke – effectively slowing me down and reducing my efficiency in the water by a lot! By making just 2 or 3 minor changes to my stroke I seem to be stronger in the water and faster.

Minor changes – yeah, right! Turns out that those minor changes take a lot of think time and focus, and before the 50m tumble turn my mind is finding hard to concentrate on even one of those 3 changes.

I’m slower in the water, feel like I’ve lost all form, and most definitely am more puffed out and exhausted than ever.

But then I remind myself that you ‘have to slow down to speed up.’ Even the coach reassures me that my speed will improve as I get used to the new way of working in the water.  It just takes time and lots of repetition to re-train my brain. By my 2nd regular training session yesterday I was finding it easier, but don’t feel like I’m even close to half way there.

I’ve moved from unconscious incompetence, through conscious incompetence and into having to be very consciously aware and present  to maintain what I have learned.  I am a while off from being unconsciously competent like the rest of the squad in the faster lanes.

And then my coach shouts out “and remember to kick!”  Ha! Fat chance – maybe next month?

It brings home how even the  smallest changes we make need to be reinforced regularly in order to make them feel normal.  At work, we expect people to adapt and adopt to change at an increasing rapid rate.  Perhaps we need to reset our expectations and acknowledge that it takes us time to change.  Maybe we have to plan time into our change management to ensure people can process and incorporate the changes being made, into their consciousness.

And as for New Year resolutions – no wonder they are rarely fulfilled – you have to change!

Ak Sabbagh





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