With the fatigue that sometimes accompanies life in Paris, I’ve long struggled to maintain a regular exercise routine. The idea of sweating on a treadmill or chasing a ball didn’t appeal to me.
After trying these simple and effective tips this year, I can now confidently say that I love sports and can enjoy them every week, whether it’s after work or at home. I’m sharing all my tips on how to enjoy sports and stick to them:
Finding the Hidden Passion
1. Discover Your Interests
Finding a sports activity that suits me was the key to motivating me to practice regularly and enjoy physical activity. Fun sports sessions that make me feel like I’m progressing and part of a community: yoga, climbing, outdoor sports in contact with nature.
Don’t do weightlifting just because everyone else is doing it. If you force yourself, there’s a 100% chance you’ll give up after a few weeks.
Before you start, take the time to discover what you’re passionate about. Do you love music? Try dancing, Zumba. Are you more into water or adventure? Punching a boxing bag to release stress? Whether it’s running, cycling, boxing, swimming, or yoga, choose a sport that piques your curiosity and motivates you to exercise.
2. Explore New Activities
Make a list of your criteria and activities, try them out before choosing your favorites. The keyword is what you enjoy.
Don’t limit yourself to a single discipline. Try various sports to find the one that suits you best. If you live in a big city, I recommend signing up for a trial period with an app like ClassPass or Urbanfit, which allows you to try various practices and fitness centers without committing to any of them.
Finding Motivation from Your Environment
3. Join a Team Sport
Group sessions can be extremely motivating and can help you enjoy sports. Find a good sports coach, club, class, or team near your home or workplace and join them. Social interaction and mutual support can make a significant difference in terms of sports encouragement.
I signed up for swimming and joined a skateboarding group. The fact that I’ve already paid for the classes and can’t cancel them also pushes me to attend.
4. Find a Workout Partner
Having a friend or workout partner can make your exercise session more enjoyable and encourage you to work out. You can motivate each other and make the experience less solitary.
Invite your kids or find a neighbor, coworker, or friend who lives nearby to work out together at a set day and time. My workout partner, for example, is more motivated than me and always reminds me an hour before our session. Physical exercises are also more enjoyable if you chat and laugh at the same time.
Setting Goals and Starting Gradually
5. Establish Realistic Fitness Goals
To enjoy sports and stay motivated, it’s essential to set clear and achievable goals. Whether it’s running a certain number of kilometers per week, improving your flexibility, gaining muscle, or other fitness goals, having objectives will provide you with direction.
I’ve noticed that every time I started with too much effort (for example, working out 4 days a week), I always failed. I succeeded only when I set aside one day a week and gradually increased it.
Starting slowly and gradually increasing your routine is very important. If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, begin with a goal that you can achieve. For example, do one or two hours of fitness or run for 20 minutes. Gradually increase the duration and frequency.
6. Track Your Progress
Install an app like Strava and record all your physical activities. Seeing your progress over time can be incredibly motivating and rewarding, helping you maintain your enthusiasm for sports.
Take the time to observe your development: running more kilometers, increased flexibility, tackling a climbing route, or achieving a yoga pose that you couldn’t do before…
Create a Routine and Remove Obstacles
7. Choose a Suitable Schedule and Location
Find the time of day that best fits your schedule to motivate you to exercise: right after work, for example, or every Saturday morning. It’s easier to stay consistent when sports naturally fit into your daily routine. If you have little time or have children, you can also work out at home.
8. Remove Obstacles to Make Exercise Seem Less Difficult
Work out early in the week when you’re less fatigued. This makes it easier to find the motivation to exercise. Choose a gym or a running location that you like and is easily accessible, no more than 15 minutes from your home or workplace. Alternatively, work out at home. Prepare your workout gear the day before.
9. Make Exercise a Ritual
Turn exercise into a daily or weekly habit. The more you do it, the more it becomes a natural part of your life and body. This will further encourage you to enjoy sports.
Finding Pleasure in Physical Effort
10. Vary Your Workouts
Monotony can kill your enthusiasm for physical activity. Vary your workouts to avoid boredom and stay motivated to exercise over the long term. In my case, I vary between three different sports. But it’s a personal preference; some people do better by doing the same practice repeatedly.
11. Music and Entertainment for Enhanced Enjoyment
Listening to upbeat music or podcasts during your workout can make the effort more enjoyable and motivating.
Fun and cheerful fitness coaches can also contribute to making your session more enjoyable.
12. Avoid Excuses
Laziness and excuses are enemies of sports. Identify your usual excuses and find solutions to overcome them, as it will help you regain the will to engage in physical activity.
Make a list of your motivations for exercising (maintaining your fitness, increasing endurance, losing weight, sculpting your body, gaining muscle, feeling better…) and read them every time you consider giving up.
13. Stay Positive and Persevere
Maintain a positive and compassionate attitude towards yourself, even when your workout becomes challenging. Positivity can help you persevere and stay motivated for long-term exercise. If, by chance, you miss a day in your fitness program, don’t blame yourself and think that everything is lost; do it the next day, start again.
It takes an average of three months to build a habit. Persevere, and you’ll find that over time, you’ll feel more motivated and have more energy. That’s what I feel now.
14. Find Rewards
Give yourself small rewards after achieving your goals. This strengthens your will to continue engaging in physical exercises.
14. Be Proud of Your Achievements
Celebrate every step of your fitness journey. Mentally congratulate yourself on the changes in your body. Share your progress in fitness or health with someone close to you. The pride in your achievements can become a constant source of motivation to encourage you to love exercising.
Learning to love sports and motivating yourself for your workouts takes time and patience. There’s no magic formula, but by following these tried and tested tips, you can gradually develop a love for physical activity and find the necessary sports encouragement.