My friend, Katie, is swim-coaching me at the moment, in the lead up to my 5-mile lake swim in 2016. I taught myself to swim last year, and well, I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to technique and breathing and swimming with efficiency. I’ve just been kind of getting in the pool and going for it, and it’s been ok so far actually – more than ok – I think I’m a pretty strong swimmer and naturally good at it, but you know, I could be a whole lot better. Especially when I’m 4 miles into a choppy lake swim and finding it tough going.

So, Katie. She has me doing one session (of the three-a-week she sets me) brushing up on my technique. Yesterday was alllll about breathing. When I taught myself to swim, I learnt to breathe to the right only which is totally ok, but if you breathe bilaterally – breathing to both sides, left and right – it’s better, as you swim far more symmetrically and effectively. So this is what she has had me practicing.

Breathing to the left. Holy shit. It feels weird. Water goes up my nose. I have to stop half way through a length and get my breath back. It is challenging and I don’t enjoy it. I am SO uncomfortable and the whole time, I’m thinking to myself, “I just want to just go back to breathing to the right. It was easier then.” But I don’t. Because it’ll be worth it when I’m diving into that lake next year, a better, stronger, faster swimmer.

It’s all too easy to pass something up, because it’s too difficult or uncomfortable or feels weird and there’s an easier way or a corner-cutting ‘hack’. I’m sick of reading articles about how to ‘hack’ life. I mean, really? Are we so fucking disengaged and apathetic now that we need to hack our lives so that everything is easy – even if it comes at a cost long-term – and we don’t have to try and put some effort in?

Not on my watch. I’m saying no to life hacks. And yes to spending the time getting better at things, because I know, always, that it’ll be worth it in the long run.

I believe it’s good to be challenged, to grow in mind and body, even when it feels tough and you wish you’d never started.

Because when you get to the end, or when you get to where you want to go, or you get someplace else you never imagined, you’ll be bloody glad you did start and kept going, despite it not being easy.

It’s easy to sit on the sofa and sleep walk through life.

It’s much harder to get off the sofa and get out there and grab YOUR life with both hands and put some fucking effort in.

How about you? Where are you putting the effort in? Or where do you need to start putting the effort in?