How to motivate for sport?

Sport Motivation

In the month for Sport and Meditation (my resolutions for April) is a good time to write about the motivation for sport. The phenomenon from the super busy gym by begin of the year is well known, and I am quite proud of me that I did manage to avoid it this year. Of course, I’ve got days when I don’t enjoy to exercise, and there are other days when I can’t find any motivation at all. The result in both cases is that I get the bad mood, feel disappointed by myself, start nagging and become a very annoying person.
But the truth is that those are the days give my motivation later on.

How does that work?

Discipline.

Yes, unfortunately. There is no simple way to deal with it if you are like me and not completely into the sport.
The difficulties for me is not the exercising itself but everything what I need to do before or in advance: change my clothes, if I am at home; taking sport shoes and clothes if I go after work or after the lunch break to the gym, which means I need a bigger bag, I need as well my face cosmetic and makeup, and it is better if I put on more casual clothes.
Sometimes when I book some ballet or dance class, I am so excited if I would do OK there, and get so afraid that a half an hour before I cancelled my booking. Afterwards, I regret it.
I’ve already done the opposite experience — I went to the class very anxiety and unconfined, and I could do all the figures, steps and choreographic, and it was incredible!

So, how to overcome the laziness or the fear and to stay disciplined? Here are my suggestions:

Figure out which sport you like.

Don’t buy a gym membership, but spend some time to think about which sport you enjoy most. Is it running in the park, is it swimming, cycling, tennis, yoga,  football, golf of riding, hiking, climbing,  or just the gym, or some exotic combination of those?
Whatever your preferred sport is — what do you like about it?
Do you like football because you prefer to do sport with other people?
If you like cycling can you imagine to cycle at the gym during the winter?
I like swimming for example only in natural waters. I spent years paying for swimming hall and visiting it twice every three months. I don’t like the smell of swimming pools, the communal bathrooms and I don’t like to carry all the stuff with me for one-hour swimming.
I like running but can’t do it often than two a week for two reasons: I get bored, and my knees start hurting.
That’s why find out which is your sport or sports and the possibilities which you’ve got to practice it. Probably you end up with small membership for the ballet class – once per week – and would go for a run on another two days of the week. As long as you enjoy it, this is fine.
When you find out which sport you like to practice,

Start exercising and start small.

Don’t start visiting the gym five times a week if you spend the last six month on the couch. And forget about the New Years Resolution. One year is a long time, start with one-month resolution.
Try to exercise your favourite sport twice a week for the next four weeks. Tuesday and the weekend are good days, regarding my experience. The Monday is usually too busy, and at the beginning, you would be quite tense, so you’ll need some recovering break and Friday is probably your going-out day. That’s why Tuesday and one day of the weekend.

In the beginning, you would be high motivated, and you would enjoy your exercises because it is new, fresh and it is your resolution. The feeling which you’ve got immediately afterwards is your biggest motivation.

Remember this feeling!

Get aware of sense after your run, or Pilates class or football game. If you like, you can make some notes in your diary to keep a record of your progress. You would feel tired but excited as well because your body produce happiness hormones. You would feel relax, balanced, eventually proud of you and probably even happy. It is crucial to remember this feeling because this memory is your weapon against your laziness shortly. Catch it!

Find your appraisals.

I don’t mean here the piece of chocolate after exercising. You can do this as well, but it doesn’t work for motivation. What you need is something special during your exercising: seeing the sunrise if you do sport in the early morning, or meet a good friend if you go to the football club, or like in my case the view over the city from the top of the hill.
I live close to Hampstead Heath — the very hilly park in North London. There is no way to run straight without going up and down there. It was a  real challenge for me at the beginning. At some point, I figure out a route which starts with a small hill, goes through the small forest, part of the park, along with the lake and end up on the top of the nearly highest hill there. It is tough to come up there, after the route before, but the view is fantastic! Every time I am happy to see the city with or without fog, in sunshine or after rain, I am proud of me, and I run back home happy and lighten.
That kind of appraisals is what I mean — something that makes you smiling when you see it despite how difficult exercising was!
Your appraisal is your motivation, the reason why you are exercising, the one thing which is real fun to you. It doesn’t matter what other people think about it is yours because it gives you this one particular feeling which none else can give you.

After four weeks you would feel comfortable with the sport to be part of your daily schedule, and you would miss it if you reduce the units per week. This would make you uncomfortable or get even a bad mood, like me, described at the beginning of this post.
If you try this once and compare this emotion with the exhilaration after sport, it is pretty easy to decide what to do. And on that way, even the word discipline becomes a more friendly character because what you are going to do is for your fun and joy and achieved only through your body!

Enjoy your exercising and let me know how is going on!

Yours, Eva

Merken

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