Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.
My passion is teaching and coaching. Always has been.
Formally I have taught scuba diving, basket weaving, public speaking, fitness (personal training), nutritional habits, planning for retirement, conflict resolution, scrapbooking, customer service, leadership, supervisory skills, and human resources. Informally much, much more. It really gets me excited when a person I’m working with “gets it”. When the light bulb comes on and they’ve truly learned something!!!!
There have been countless such moments but one that I specifically want to share in this post.
I want to talk about scuba diving. Yes, under-water Jacque-Cousteau-esque scuba diving and, yes, your health and fitness. Give me just a minute to make my point.
I should probably start by telling you that several of my friends claim I have an ability to relate any topic back to whatever I’m talking about at the time. I suppose that’s true but it’s just because I see lessons in everything. I love to learn even more than I love to teach – and the way I do that is by linking things together; by picking out whatever it is about “this thing” that relates to something I already know and building from there.
Here’s the story. As a Dive Master (think assistant instructor) working with a class off the coast of Destin, Florida, I was assigned the most skiddish, most nervous person for some additional one-on-one. This was her first open water (not in the swimming pool) dive. She was petrified! Worried about going under water. Worried about “what if this” and “what if that”. She thought she wanted to do this but now she wasn’t so sure.
With some gentle coaxing, a firm hold on her shoulders and a directive “look at my eyes…nothing else”, we started to slowly descend. I could feel her start to calm down. She looked at nothing but my face. Before she knew it, she was on the bottom. We settled for a second and then she turned around. I could see the excitement on her face. She was “there”. She had done it! Before long, she was swimming beside me waving her hands excitedly and pointing to this fish; wanting me to see that plant. It was all so new. It was so amazing. She could barely control herself and more than once she tried to talk through her regulator.
I LOVE this stuff!!!! I’m excited (again) just sharing the story with you!
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 times a million.
Okay. Cool story but what relevance could this possibly have to health and fitness?
Five different things that I can immediately think of – and likely much more if I were to give it any amount of thought.
I. While the “big picture” definitely has its place, taking in too much all at once can be overwhelming.
Changing your entire way of eating, going from zero to six days a week of exercise, quitting all caffeine and becoming a calmer person is just too much change at one time. In fact, we’ll see this very scenario play out en mass in just a few short weeks. People expect to wake up on 1 January as completely changed individuals – renewed, refreshed, and perfect. No vices whatsoever. Focused merely on peace, health, fitness, and happiness.
Having goals is admirable and wanting to improve yourself is fantastic! There are proven reasons for why so many of us like to change on dates like New Year’s. But nothing magical is going to happen during the night on 31 December while we sleep. We shouldn’t expect to wake up on 1 January, a completely different person. Narrowing our view and focusing on only one change at a time will work better.
II. There is value is having a support system. Whether it is a friend, a family member, or a coach who’s been there, done that.
Having someone to hold you accountable, push you a little bit, but also support you and be there to bolster your resolve can be a total game changer.
It doesn’t have to be forever but it sure is nice to have someone there when you’re first getting started.
III. Focus on what you’re trying TO do; not the thing you’re trying to stop doing.
I didn’t tell my dive student to stop worrying, stop thinking about what was going to happen or stop anything. I told her to put her regulator in, to look at me, to let the air out of her BC, to start to descend.
One step at a time. One new thing to DO. The stop-doing stuff just happens on it’s own as we focus on something new.
IV. It’s important to celebrate the little steps toward your major accomplishments.
The girl I was working with wasn’t certified at the end of our dive. She still had to complete another dive, and take her written test. There’s no guarantee that she’ll be completely comfortable in the water every dive after this. But…she thoroughly enjoyed THIS dive. She wasn’t worried about the next one, or her test. She didn’t think about the past or the future. She was thoroughly excited about what she was doing in the present. This moment. Now. She was happy. (So was I!!)
V. Plan your dive. Dive your plan.
This is a safety provision every diver learns in one of his/her first classes. By developing a plan before the dive, you know how deep you can go, how long you can stay there and whether you’re going to need to complete a safety stop or not. You don’t have to make things up as you go. Diving your plan means staying within the parameters you’ve set: doing what you said you were going to do. Keeping to your goals.
Whatever your goal is – above or below the surface, make a (logical, realistic) plan and then stick to that plan. It’s absolutely okay (maybe even necessary) to make minor adjustments as you go along but you don’t just throw out the plan and create a brand new one, in the middle of your dive.