Have you ever seen an ad or a post for an event or trip that has really caught your attention? Having looked at the details and then scrolled away, have you then found yourself coming back to it later? It could be an activity that you have always wanted to try, a career opportunity or somewhere you would love to visit. Maybe it seemed too expensive, too involved or a stretch too far. Now imagine how you would feel right now if you had taken the chance? Here is a story to get you all inspired and taking that leap!

‘I could never do that!’

Hands up if you have that voice in your head that has something to say every time you attempt to make a change or challenge yourself. I know for a fact that I waste so much energy fighting myself and making it all so much harder than it needs to be. 

I saw an advert for a Swim Tour weekend with ‘Swim on the Wild Side’. Five lake swims over 3 days in the Lake District with all accommodation, food and transport included and organised for you. It sounded amazing. Or at least it did until I started to question how on earth I could possibly manage all that swimming and self doubt set in. My husband however, instantly agreed it was a good plan and that I should book. I did so and then spent weeks trying very hard not to think about it.

‘Oh my, that’s a long way!’

I am standing at the shore of Derwentwater looking at the cold, grey rain filled clouds. The dread is building as Graeme points out where we will swim. We are going around the island to the green buoy and back along to where we started. I am told it is only a mile and off they go eagerly. I follow with a growing sense of discomfort.

In my head, as the water got choppier and choppier and we left the shore behind, the chatter was endless. ‘What am I doing?’ ‘You have never been this far out before.’ ‘This is dangerous, you could drown.’ ‘How on earth are you going to manage?’ The good news is that although it was choppy, a challenging swim with an incredible rain downpour thrown in, I did it. More importantly I started to prove to myself that I can do more than I let myself believe. Over the weekend I actually began to understand how hard I battle with my head and to realise that not everyone does! My battle is definitely completely mental as I finally acknowledged after being told that I am ‘a b****y good swimmer.’ I made a promise to myself in that moment that this stops and I am not going to limit myself in that way anymore.

You have to take a chance

I have discovered the hard way that it is only by putting yourself out there that you reach new limits. For me, swimming across the lake, mountains rising either side with only the sound of the water is hard to beat. My favourite would have to be swimming in heavy rain. I have never felt so immersed in nature and so completely at one with my surroundings.

Finding your thing

I know that swimming is not for everyone. To be honest I didn’t discover that it was my thing until I was into my forties. For you it could be running, cycling, baking or painting. The point is that by taking a chance and seizing opportunities you can learn a lot about yourself. My experiences in the water translate into what I do each day. I am starting to see what I can achieve if I only try. Pushing myself to swim further means I feel able to take more risks in the rest of my life too. And that is priceless and makes me feel great.

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It is bigger than you

What I have learnt is that it is not only about what I can do or how I feel. I share my experiences with my clients, friends and family and it gets them thinking too. There is so much talk these days about anxiety and depression and what we do each day has an impact on our mental health. I know that my adventures in the lake have helped me to grow and feel more confident. If we all broadened our horizons and took on new challenges then imagine the positive effect that would have on those around us too. I try hard to set a good example and to lead the way. I don’t expect clients to follow me into the lake (although a number have and willingly) but there have been half marathons, mud runs, cycles and walks. I love seeing the transformation as they start to believe in themselves and really push their boundaries. 

Use your imagination

It is time for you to grab a piece of paper or open a note on your phone and start a list of things that you have always wanted to do. Just get scribbling. Don’t get caught up in what is possible or not – this is a wish list at this stage. Think back to the things you dreamt of doing when you were little or when you left school or before you had children or since you retired. They can be big or small – the only stipulation is that you don’t rule anything out as impossible and that you start to feel excited by the possibilities. 

Now take your list and pick one thing to start you off. My list included spending a month staying in a house situated on a lake, writing a book,  taking the girls on a tour of Italy visiting all the places I learnt about in History, swimming the rivers around Copenhagen, running the Great North Run again, finding running leggings that fit perfectly (or making my own brand), a spa weekend, swimming the length of Loch Lomond (or similar) with Ingolf, walking along the beach in Harris with my husband, buying our own house, a Christmas in a large cosy cottage with all of our family together.

From that list I have already written a book (and another one too). I am now starting to plan the swims. I fancy Copenhagen in the summer, followed by the 5k and then a schedule to get us ready for the longer swim for my husband’s 50th year. I dare say that the run will need to take place before my knees get much older but I have some more time for that! It is good to have some direction and focus. All the better if you are working towards goals that are personal and that you get excited about.

Next Steps

My aim is get you all to move more and to move well. You can access lots of free resources that will help you with your transformation by following the links below. If you want more tools and tips to help you then you can get started with my book ‘ Moving More’ here. There are trackers, planners, help to get you started, recipes, workouts and more.

Here are some of the reviews from those who have already purchased the book from Amazon.

‘I enjoyed reading Clare’s book immensely. It is user friendly, full of helpful advice and taking you carefully through the stages necessary to achieve success in finding a healthier, happier lifestyle. The use of quotations from her clients is extremely motivating – if they can do it, I can. I have already recommended this book to my family and friends here and in North America.’

‘This book will have you off the sofa and moving well before you get to the end. Clare takes a simple no nonsense approach that is impossible to ignore. She is the little angel on your shoulder dismissing all your excuses with sensible and practical advice. This book is definitely worth the small investment and you also get access to lots of additional advice and support through her website. The stories of real clients making small steps are hugely motivating too. You won’t regret buying it.’

Buy your copy of Moving More by Clare Nielsen

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  3. Contact by calling 07814 788408 or see my work here

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