Have you ever bitten off a bit more than you could chew?  Taken on a challenge that perhaps was a bit more challenging than you thought?  Well a few weeks ago I decided that what I needed to do was get fitter.  And to do that, I needed a goal.  Not a little goal, or even a middle size goal, but a huge great kick-ass goal – so I signed up for a sponsored Channel Swim.  Fortunately this doesn’t involve me caking myself in fat and swimming the actual English Channel, however it does involve me getting to my swimming pool several times a week and swimming the whole 22 mile channel distance in 12 weeks or less.  In my 25 metre pool, that means a minimum of 118 lengths every week.  A month later, and I must admit I’m flagging a little, I’m 27% done, and my motivation is beginning to sag.  Luckily my teenage daughter is doing the swim with me so we keep eachother going, most of the time.

So, how do you keep yourself motivated with a long term challenge?  I think the key to it is to set mini challenges.  So instead of thinking about getting to the end, I look at how much I’ve swum this week, plan out when we can go, and do it.  No excuses.  And if I’m in the pool at 25 lengths and wanting to stop, I might swim a length using my arms only – this reminds me what I’m swimming for.  I’m fund-raising for Aspire – a UK charity that helps people with life-changing spinal injuries to lead independent lives.  It’s not a big charity, or particularly well known, but what it does offer is all kinds of practical help for those coping with such a massive change to their level of ability and independence.  And when my legs are aching after a long swim, I am reminded that I can still feel and use my legs.  Not everyone is so lucky.

You can follow our progress, cheer us on and even sponsor us here:

http://www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk/McRitchieFamily

We have 64 days left to complete our swim, and about 16 miles left to go – it’s a challenge alright.  However one of my daughter’s favourite quotes is this.  Bite off more than you can chew.  And then chew it.  Let’s get back in that pool!