After my kids' swimming lessons today I got to go swimming with my boys. The four year old liked throwing a little floating toy into the pool and then chasing it (he's getting better at swimming, but he was still supported by a noodle). I learned a lot watching him chase the floating toy.
So my son would stand on the edge of the pool with his noodle. He would throw the floating toy into the pool and jump in after it. He would then swim toward the floating toy with his flailing sort of stroke. He never actually caught the floating toy without my help.
He would be leaning on the noodle, paddling as hard as he could with his arms and kicking as hard as he could with his legs (neither of which have become the most efficient stroke yet) and he was able to move very slowly around the pool while expending tons of calories.
The reason he never caught the floating toy was not because he was unable to move in the water, but because every stroke he made with his arms made a wave that pushed the toy away from him. He would get very close, but the paddling that he was using to propel himself made the toy float away from him. The faster he paddled and the harder he tried, the faster the toy would float away.
I sometimes feel the same way in my pursuit of goals. I'm trying hard, I'm doing what I know how to do, but somehow in my technique of doing things I'm continually pushing my goals out of reach. I need to learn efficiency. I need a new technique. Try as I will, I will never reach my goals if my approach and effort push my goals away from me.