Fun Fact: I Can’t Swim

Photo credit: dutruong.t733 on VisualHunt / CC BY

My dad threw me in a swimming pool when I was 7. He thought that I would immediately learn to swim in order to save myself. Well, I didn’t. I sank slowly to the bottom. My dad pulled me out of the pool.

I never was angry with him for doing this, probably because I was terrified of the water — chlorinated water got into my nose and mouth and eyes. (I had forgotten to close them!) The chlorine tasted gross, and I felt like I was disappointing my father. All of his friends were at the pool, too, and witnessed what happened. Before tossing me in, he seemed so sure that it would work. Well, I proved him wrong!

When I was 10 years old, my mom had the bright idea of signing me up for swimming lessons. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I thought it would be another opportunity for me to fail, and I was right. The first thing the instructor taught us was how to float. I couldn’t float then, and I can’t float now. You have no idea how many times I tried floating in the pool and my feet remained planted to the bottom. I couldn’t figure out how people could go from a standing position to lying on their backs practically above the water!

My parents gave up after that, and I decided that I don’t need to know how to swim even if it saved my life. But it could save my life, like if I fail out of a touristy boat or something else that I happen to be riding.

As an adult, I’ve looked into swimming lessons, most of which are for kids. There are a few adult swim classes out there. However, I just can’t stand the thought of anyone seeing me in a bathing suit. And I don’t like getting water in my ears, and anyway, I’d have to remove my hearing aids because they aren’t supposed to get wet, but then how would I hear the instructor?

So I have decided not to learn to swim. I mean, there are flotation devices on those boats, aren’t there?

How did you learn to swim? Or did you?


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Photo credit: Philip McMaster PeacePlusOne_\!/ on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because when I have in the past, I always ended up failing. I think part of the reason for this is because I didn’t make SMART goals. I don’t know who invented the SMART goal; I learned about it in the partial hospitalization program (PHP) I was in last year. They even had worksheets for making SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

SPECIFIC: a goal has to be as specific as possible. That way you won’t lose sight of your goal or the big picture. For example, a goal I have is to increase my time (walking!) on the treadmill. Right now I am barely able to do 10 minutes, partially because of boredom. So I’m setting my sights on 15 minutes. In the meantime, I will walk 10 minutes to start on the first week; then for 11 minutes, 3 times a week during the second week; and then 13 minutes, 3 times a week on the third week; and finally 15 minutes, 3 times a week for a total of 4 weeks. I will also read while I’m on the treadmill.

MEASURABLE: the goal should be measurable, which means you must be able to see progress by measuring whatever your goal is. In my case, I can track how long I’m on the treadmill. To start, it might be 10 minutes. A month from now, it could be 15. Meanwhile, I can track my progress by each additional minute that I add to my original 10.

ATTAINABLE: your goal must be attainable. It should be something that you know you can/want to complete, rather than a goal that you’re not really into or that others want you to make. Because if that’s the case, you’re less likely to reach your goal.

RELEVANT: a goal has to be relevant to your life. Let’s take the example I’ve been using: how is walking for 15 minutes, 3 times a week relevant to my life? Now that I’m getting older, I care more about my health. I want to reduce my risk of a heart attack, so I’m doing some light cardio by walking on the treadmill.

TIMELY: and finally, the goal should be timely. That is, you should have a specific start date and end date. In my example, the total time to attain the goal is 4 weeks. I’ll start Monday, June 17 and will end on Wednesday, July 6.

I’ve made some SMART goals since I first learned about them, and managed to complete them. In PHP we had to create a SMART goal once a week. It does help, but it’s up to you to do the work. You can find SMART goal worksheets online here (not an ad!).

Would you consider making a SMART goal?

3 Things to Do More Often

I have a lot of bad habits, but I’m trying to establish good ones. Here are some things that I can do more often:

  1. EXERCISE: Well, I exercise nearly every single day by walking on the treadmill and doing one exercise, like jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, lunges, or squats. The former, I do for 10 minutes. The latter, according to that particular fitness challenge, I’m supposed to do 3 of the above exercises a day. I only do one because I can’t do all 3 one after the other yet.
    I can’t walk for more than 10 minutes because it is so frickin’ boring, even though I always read a book — which helps. Plus, it’s challenging for me right now. I went from doing zero exercises to what I do today. I can increase the length of time or the speed in which I walk, slowly. I feel that I can increase the exercises, but in very small increments. My therapist says that any movement is good.
  2. DIET: I feel that I can eat better than I do, like eat more salads because they aren’t as calorie dense as say, a cheese quesadilla. The problem is I don’t like salads. It’s not that I don’t like vegetables — I hate trying to spear the pieces of lettuce with my fork. It’s unsatisfying not to get a nice mouthful of food. I do occasionally eat — and enjoy eating — a salad, and I can choose salad more often when we eat out.
  3. READ: I haven’t been reading anywhere near as much as I used to. Part of the reason is I don’t have enough time. Another is because the last few books I read have bored me.
    I’m currently reading Educated by Tara Westover. It’s a memoir about how the author grew up in a survivalist family. That is, the dad was convinced that the End of Days were near and made sure his family would be protected. He also didn’t believe in the government, so some of the kids didn’t have birth certificates or drivers licenses.
    It’s interesting and I like it so far. But it’s not the kind of book I can’t put down and finish in a day.

So these are 3 areas of my life that I want to improve: slowly increase the number of exercises that I do; eat more salads/make healthier food choices; and make time to read every day, not just while I’m on the treadmill.

Is there anything you would like to improve?


Photo credit: eccampbell on / CC BY-SA

So as I mentioned yesterday, my lifestyle change includes exercise, which I absolutely cannot stand. I know from experience that this helps lift depression, but it’s so hard for me to do; I have no incentive. At least not immediate, rewarding incentive (a slice of pie, anyone?).

Over 10 years ago, I played hockey and used to work out every day. I alternated cardio with mat pilates.

I felt great working out, both physically and mentally. My body was fit and trim, and the depression dwindled and I felt confident. I challenged myself to how long or how quickly I could run on the treadmill, which felt good. I even used to go to a gym, albeit in the late mornings when most people had already worked out and left for work.

What makes it so hard today? I honestly don’t know. For one thing, I’m not playing hockey, so it’s like, why bother? I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to do the physical work!

We have a fold-up treadmill here at home, but it’s a pain to use. I have to lower the part I “tread” on every time, and lift it back to position when I’m done. It probably takes longer to set up than it does to use it! So I started using the treadmill again, erratically. I started walking for 10 minutes at 2.3 miles per hour, and will increase both the length of time and the speed as I go.

My “treadmilling” increased when I came across a 30-day workout challenge on Pinterest that has nothing to do with walking. It seemed to me that it would be good to warm up on the treadmill before doing the exercises specified in the challenge: push-ups, squats, crunches, and lunges. Each day the number of these exercises increases and by the end of the month, I’ll be rocking out. Lol! I’m on day 6. I’ve also heard that it takes about 30 days to establish a new habit. My new normal. Wish me luck!

Do you exercise regularly? Would you do a 30-day challenge?