How ice-skating taught me to slow down – and achieve more

Are always trying to race ahead in life? Find out how ice-skating taught one woman to slow down – and achieve more.

I recently made a journey from self-esteem collapse to a large confidence revamp after a couple years of self-exploration. And one of the symptoms of my low self-esteem was negative self-talk which was mostly aimed at my body and this multiplied following two kids. I had little confidence anyway and my body was the perfect vehicle to self loathe.

After every diet, juicing endlessly, rigorous exercise that I loathed, I realised it was more than just a physical issue. It was an emotional one.

One of the many things I learnt was to choose a form of exercise that you love. Constantly pounding the streets with thoughts of ‘I hate this, I hate this, I can’t wait until it’s over’ was never going to create flow and harmony in my body but resistance.

This was all part of my devotion to self-love, amongst other things of course.

How ice-skating taught me to slow down

And after much deliberation about which form to take up ice-blading (apparently Kylie got her toned butt from this), trampolining classes, netball (my teenage love) and I even contemplated aerial acrobatics… I chose ice-skating.

I had never done it, except on the odd occasion at Christmas, when I hung on to the sides for dear life!  I wanted something where I could learn something new whilst exercising, expand my mind, enjoy the exercise I’m doing rather than hating it and resisting it and making constant excuses why I shouldn’t do it.

I invested in all the gear with no idea, but what I did learn very quickly was a far greater lesson than just pirouettes on the ice.

I had an epiphany recently as I took to the rink, when my teacher asked, ‘Are you in control at the speed you are going?’ I, of course, thought I was and promptly replied, ‘Yes, I like to go fast!’ ‘Yes, I can see’, she responded with a smile before she educated me about ice-skating etiquette which is all about accuracy, precision and control.

I gave it a go, slowed down, concentrated on the refining the skill and do you know what, it felt quite good (although not fast enough)!

Then it suddenly dawned on me, do I do this in everything I do in life? The honest answer is yes although I don’t really want to admit it.

Rewind the clock to my first lesson, I could see more advance skaters doing their turns, crafting their way across the ice with elegance and I looked on longing to be there, but I knew I was a way from that.

By the second lesson, I was longing for that freedom on the ice even more and even got rather frustrated with myself that I couldn’t skate on one leg yet. By the third, lesson I was chomping at the bit and was stifling my growth, instead of focusing on where I was, I kept looking ahead.

What if I set myself smaller tasks to achieve?

Of course, we must all have life goals but it’s important to set your goal and then take daily, baby steps to refine the skills you are learning so that you can reach your goal but also, arrive at your goal proficient.

Ice skating is all about precision and gentle elegance – as a reformed perfectionist this might come naturally to me but actually I was only a perfectionist in terms of taking on massive tasks and doing my damnedest to achieve them at all costs including mine and my family’s happiness.

This came in the form of making homemade, three-tier birthday cakes that danced and sang, hosting all birthday parties whilst taking on the catering and nursing a newborn.

The list goes on, you name it, I would set outrageous tasks that I invariably failed at as nothing was good enough for a perfectionist. It was therefore the highest form of self-abuse.

But what if I set myself smaller tasks to achieve? What if I chose tasks that I was proficient at instead of embarking on something new and unknown? I am all for pushing boundaries and learning more and perhaps this is why I used to set such audacious tasks but what I have learnt is, if I set a goal, big or small I must focus on the journey and not focus on the end game.

Build your muscles, train your brain and hone your skills and the goal will come and it will be A* worthy, not the halfhearted C grade result that leaves me unsatisfied and ultimately feeds my old wound of ‘I’m inadequate, I’m not enough’.

Once you have awareness you can start to change

You see it’s bringing this awareness to your life and noticing where you are playing out certain patterns of behaviours. Once you have an awareness then you can make the changes to the choices you make and the way you live your life. If we keep doing the same thing, we get the same results, so make the change.

Now when I take to the ice, I focus on the hour I’m wafting across the frozen floor, embed my new skills until I can do them in my sleep and then, and only then, I move on to the next task, feeling confident that I have nailed the foundation.

I prescribe it to all my clients during their session and now I take a daily dose of my own medicine, in everything I do. Slow down, breathe and focus on the task in hand. Contrary to my old belief, fast isn’t always best

Cat Raincock is a mother of two on a mission is to empower, educate and free women. She wants to transform outdated beliefs and stuckness, and help you live the life you always dreamed of.

Cat’s hypnotherapy and coaching sessions are held over Skype or in person – whether it’s for emotional issues, fertility or women’s health conditions. 

Photo by Wang Xi