In December a friend contacted me about a friend of hers that was planning a long-distance open swim along the East London coastline and was looking to connect with local open water swimmers to get intel on the coastline and possibly a boat and crew to assist her in planning this multi-day event.
I provided the contact details of a guy who plays a leading role in the open water swimming community. We were actually busy driving to Cape Town while all these connections were taking place as my husband was on his way to swim the Robben Island challenge. On the drive, while being intrigued by all this interest and enthusiasm for open water swimming, I googled Sarah Ferguson and was impressed, inspired and in awe of all her endurance swimming achievements and her passion for the environment.
When I recently heard she would be joining a local swim my husband was doing on the East Coast, I thought I need to tag along to get to meet her.
After the 4km river swim, Sarah chatted very informally for a few minutes, but those few minutes really resonated with me, and I found myself enthralled by her enthusiasm.
Sarah is the founder of Breathe Conservation, an NPO that educates people around single-use plastic and the dangers of plastic to our environment. She has taken it upon herself to ensure that people understand the why and how around recycling and is 100% committed to reducing the use of single-use plastics (single-use being those things that we only use once, think bottled water or take away coffee cups). She does this by walking the talk (and swimming around the world, literally!).
Her commitment and fierce abandonment to the cause really got me thinking about any goal or commitment we make.
As someone used to running between 90 and 100km a week, I am currently struggling to get to 70km a week, and the only reason is that I have not set a goal since COVID cancelled major races. It is not that I cannot do it physically, I have trained my body to be used to it, it is purely a mental block, “why should I?”
If you are committed to a goal, it is so much easier to achieve something. That said, if you are truly committed to reducing single use plastic, for example, you will find it easier to refuse it. Not only this, but there is also an accountability toward action.
We can’t just talk about wanting to save the environment, completing a stretched physical challenge, obtaining a qualification, losing weight or quitting smoking, we actually have to make it a goal that becomes part of our lifestyle…and so much so that breathing is unbearable without it.
Setting the goal is the first step, taking the necessary step toward the goal is the next step, and making this part of your lifestyle is the ultimate achievement and test of commitment.
We wish Sarah all the best for her upcoming goals, and if you’re looking for a bit of mid-year inspiration for your team or to inspire your class about how to live an Earth-friendly lifestyle, contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.