As we approach the end of January (already?!) and the “newness” of the new year begins to wane, it’s common that our goals- our fresh mindsets ringing in the new year - begin to creep into the backdrop of our daily lives. As we feel our goals and resolutions slip from the strong grasp we had on January 1st, we often feel like it is already too late to regain any sort of friction and that we have already failed.
We are here to tell you that you have not failed. This lull happens to everyone, and it is that resiliency part that matters most. Through her former collegiate swim years, REV instructor Barbara Beidler shares how she reestablishes that sense of personal will and determination when life begins to interfere.
Unlike most collegiate swimmers who began swimming when they were young kids, Barb started swimming competitively her freshman year in high school as a way to meet new friends. While everyone else showed up to the first day of practice equipped and prepared, Barbara had nothing. When the coach told them to get their gear together and pick a lane, Barbara slipped out without anyone noticing - except the coach. He told her where to buy a cap and goggles and to come back the next day to try again. She did.
As hard as she worked in high school, college was another game. “I would wake up around 4:45AM and cry (just kidding… kinda),” Barb said. Practice was every morning at 5:30AM and again in the afternoon. To say collegiate swimming is demanding is a vast understatement: ridiculously early mornings, followed by class, followed by more practice, followed by homework - every single day. “I look back now and have no clue how I did it.” And yet, Barb knows exactly how she did it. There is one thing that got her through the days when she felt completely defeated and wanted to quit - her team. Barb’s team was the main force behind her perseverance because she knew she was never alone in the struggle. “My individual effort affected the success of us as a team, but part of that meant when I could not lift myself up, they lifted me up. I couldn’t quit because I could not let down the people who showed up for me and for the team every day. It just wasn’t an option.”
This sense of team gave Barb the skills to handle any challenge that may present itself in her life. When she graduated and entered the working world, she continued to use these skills to her advantage. Working at Under Armour (an intense, fast-paced work environment) while teaching at REV almost every day on the side, it can be tough to maintain a life and some sanity. But through her past experiences, Barb knows this is simply the natural ebb and flow of life. “There are weeks where my job is crazy and my personal life maybe suffers as a result, but it will eventually even itself out. Life is always a give and take-so remaining calm and just taking shit as it comes has worked for me. In trying to ‘plan’ ahead or worrying about what could happen or could be ahead, I inevitably will miss some opportunity that is waiting for me in the present. So trying to see the good in the present and the opportunities that are here for me right now is a great tool.”
Barb’s life as an elite athlete taught her how to find purpose in the struggle. The most important aspect of maintaining composure when life gets hard is to keep sight of your passions - your “why” - that leads to a greater sense of purpose. REV has especially shed light on Barb’s own sense of purpose not only because she loves being up on that podium, but because she has found her true team in Baltimore. “It is a feeling I had never experienced prior to REV, and one I didn’t truly know existed until I felt it for myself. Purpose. REV to me, is my purpose.”
Though REV has changed Barb’s life in a way she struggles to put into words, we can all learn from Barb’s story and her unyielding mindset. As January comes to an end and our lives start to become more or less complicated in regards to our own goals, the most important way to overcome those obstacles is to stay true to ourselves. Barb demonstrates how she stays true to herself by the way she holds herself accountable, the way she never backs down from a challenge, and the way inspires those around her to be their best selves. “Ride the bike the way you want to live your life-take a risk, fall, get back up, and try again” is something you will hear her say almost every class. “I would rather you fall and get back up, than never experience what it takes to reach your dreams and your goals. You have to be willing to fall, and then you have to be willing to get back up and try again.” So you forget your cap and goggles one day - go get them and come back tomorrow. It is that simple. “Little hiccups in the road are not the end of the world…. I know I am stronger than any circumstance.” We all are.
Instead of losing hope in your resolutions, use this time as a self check-in point. What are you most proud of so far this month? What small changes in your life could you make to make yourself happier? And most importantly - who are your teammates, the ones in your life that help start the fire inside you?
Barb’s answer to this last question: “REV. Duh.”