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Let´s be honest – everyone knows this type of ‘I really should do some sports but I don’t want to’-thoughts that come up after eating a chocolate cake and some Jelly Beans. Or that nasty ‘Why can´t I be more like her’ – feeling, when a dark haired beauty passes you by, jogging and chatting with her friend and not being exhausted at all – while you are having troubles to keep your bike going on the slight rise you´re on. There are people like the dark haired, not exhausted, chatting beauty who work out everyday and find pleasure in it – if you are one of these persons, congratulations! Keep doing whatever you´re doing and enjoy your life, you don´t need to carry on reading. For everyone who needs a little extra motivation or has lost fun in sports activity recently, I have found some ways to make sports a little more fun and the beginning a little easier…
1. Find a sport you enjoy doing
Having fun in what you´re doing is the best motivation you can find. It doesn’t matter if you prefer Yoga, Rock Climbing or Extreme Ironing, as long as you are passionate about it, you´ll have no problems whatsoever in motivating yourself. Sure, there will be times where it will be hard for you to find enough time or where you prefer your couch over your sport, but in general, it will be a lot easier to get started than with a sport you´re just doing because you have to (or at last you believe you have to).
2. Get yourself a training buddy
Seriously, having someone who joins you, can boost your motivation as well as your sportive performance a lot. Not only that you get time to spend with a good friend, you also can´t cancel a ‘sports date’ – staying in and delaying your work out to the next day is simply not an option if someone is waiting for you. And you can chat while doing sports (or in the breaks) and support each other with challenges or new ideas. The only important thing to keep in mind is, that your level is reasonably equal – training with a semi-professional while you´re still learning the basics will be depressing for the both of you and will have no positive impact on neither of you.
3. Set a personal goal or do challenges
Again, it doesn’t matter if your goal is to swim 50 meters in 2 minutes, to get into a certain dance pose or have a perfect body shape – what matters is only that you keep working to reach it. Setting goals is something that can be very helpful to have a certain purpose and something to orientate on (and not to mention that amazing feeling when you reach it!) but when set too high, it also can be disappointing and depressing. So, take small steps on the way – one more mile, half a minute longer – and you´ll have something to focus on and something to be happy about and proud of. Another possibility is to challenge yourself from time to time – either you set the challenge yourself (`come on, it´s only two minutes more’) or you participate in one of the various challenges one can find on Instagram and Facebook (10 days leg challenge, two weeks abs challenge…).
4. Track your progress
It´s not necessary to buy sports equipment for 160 $ to track your progress, a diary or photographic documentation work as well as the high tech equipment from the sports store. Tracking your progress means making your achievements and improvements visible, which is not only helpful to know what to train a little harder or to practise a little more, but also gives you something to show yourself what you´ve already achieved when you´re demotivated and tired before (or after!) a long work out or a Yoga lesson.
5. Go outside
I have to admit, I hate going outside for training in winter – except if you´re one of the lucky ones who live in always summer regions like California or Spain, it´s cold, it´s snowing and it gets dark at 5pm (which is awesome when you want to go skiing but with every other sports, it´s just annoying). But now, with spring approaching, training outside is one of the most amazing things one can do. With the sun shining and the temperatures not being yet at the level of a sauna, you can bring a little bit of variety into your training – which can make it far more interesting and creative.
6. Buy awesome sports clothes
Sure, a new sports bra or fancy leggings won´t change your performance, but having some beautiful sports clothes you like and feel good in, will motivate you in the moment you put them on. Feeling good while doing sports is not only important for your self – esteem but also for your improvement since you´ll achieve a lot more when you´re feeling beautiful and sexy in your new outfit. Floral Prints, Black like the night, neon colors – everything is allowed as long as you feel good!
7. Treat yourself afterwards
Connecting sport to something you really, really like, for example a long bath afterwards or a small piece of chocolate, will not only be a motivation to do some sports but it´ll also slowly transfer the good feeling from your treat on your work out. After some time, you´ll feel good afterwards, even without the treatment, because your body learned to connect the good feeling from the bath / chocolate / Netflix-Episode to your work out.
8. Stop comparing yourself to others
Maybe you can´t run as fast as the guy in front of you, but at least you run! Maybe you don´t look as flexible and beautiful in Down Dog as the girl next to you, but who cares? Everyone has their own level and their own progress, some go faster and some take more time. It doesn´t matter how good you are compared to someone else, it just matters how good you are compared to your past self. As long as you are doing something and improving yourself, it really is not important how much better or worse someone else can do it (except if you´re participating in a competition but let´s assume you´re not doing that every time you do sports ?). So stop comparing your performance to someone else´s and focus on what you are doing – you´ll see, it´ll feel way better than before.
9. Listen to some good music
Sounds dumb I know, but turning on your favorite playlist can raise your mood as well as your motivation to do sports in a few seconds. You´ll move easier and your body will feel lighter than without music….and what is more motivation than Ed Sheeran praising your shape?
10. Attend classes and/or group meetings on a regular base
For a lot of sports there´s a huge variety of classes, courses or training sessions also outside the real `club` scene. When taking a class, you not only meet people who like doing the same sport as you, you also have an experienced trainer with you to show you the right exercises and correct your movements, if necessary. You get to know new possibilities and have fun in a group of people instead of repeating all the known stuff at home alone. And – since classes are not for free – you won´t skip them when once signed up!
Of course you can find a lot of other ways to motivate yourself and maybe you have some additional or better ideas? If so, let me know in the comment section, I would love to hear your personal strategy to stay motivated! And if you don´t have one yet – what are you waiting for? Grab your sports clothes, turn on the music and give it a go!
About the Author of This Community Post
Julia Gerstmayer lives in Vienna, Austria (no kangaroos!) and counts Harry Potter, campfires and the sea to her favorite things. When she´s not studying, she´s usually hanging around somewhere in the air or experiencing some awesome things with her scout group. Except from Aerial Sports, dancing, Yoga and watching Netflix build the main part of her exercise and she has a soft spot for Disney movies, fancy gym clothes and dreamcatchers. Although she´s born in December, she favors summer over winter and dragons over unicorns (fire beats rainbows, doesn’t it?) and without google maps, she´d already been lost about a thousand times. Visit her on Instagram.