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What Does it Take to Become a Fish?

What does it take?

My journey in becoming a fish.

I often think about how it is we create powerful, meaningful, and permanent change within ourselves. It is worth noting that the human brain and body is highly plastic and influenceable, but not without frequent stimuli. The process of creating change, whether it be gaining strength, changing habits, or learning a new language, is all about focused repetition.

Personally, I often become impatient with goals and have a tendency to lose sight of the process because the outcome feels far away. In considering this, I had to reflect on what it took for me to become a highly competitive swimmer.

I began swimming at the age of 5. Started swimming two practices a day at the age of 13. I swam 11 times a week, 48-50 weeks out of the year, for 10 years (age 13-23).

I did some retroactive math to gain perspective on the number of hours/repetitions I dedicated to this skill.

In terms of distance, I have swam:

- 32,850,000 Yards - 19,910 Miles 

- 3-3.5 miles a day from the age of 5 to 23 on average - 5 times across the Atlantic Ocean  - 5,000 miles short of swimming around the world - 1/13 the distance to the moon 

In terms of time:

- 13,140 Hours - 1.5 Years  - 26,280 episodes of Spongebob Squarepants

There was probably a time in my life that I swam more than I had walked.

These figures are insane to me. Primarily because I never remember thinking during that process about being on this side of it. I just showed up, did the work, committed to the process, and trusted in the work I was doing.

Which is to say, no matter the goal, do not get intimidated about the work that needs to and is going to occur. Think about the process and present moment. Get better now to be better tomorrow.

DON’T JUMP SHIP SO SOON! Change is never linear. It’s slow. It’s often painful. It can be boring. But it is worth it if we let it be. Reminds me of the adage: “How do you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

So, what does it take to change? It takes a present mindset, a clear goal, a determined body, and a ton of repetitions.

Thanks for reading!

Jake Reynolds, PT, DPT, OCS

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