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How Sports Changed My Life: From a Couch Potato to a Go-Getter

How Sports Changed My Life: From a Couch Potato to a Go-Getter

“I have a really nice office job, working with great people, having fun on the weekends. It sounds like I have my life pretty much sorted out, but something is wrong, I just can’t put my finger on it.

The work I do is not that difficult, and I get plenty of sleep, so why am I feeling so tired?

It is as if I somehow accepted the monotonous circle of work and sleep with a night out every once in a while being my only exhaust. This awful feeling affects my mind, my willpower so I stopped urging for progress. I’ve lost my ambition.”

Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me. That was my daily chain of thought not more than two years ago. I still have the same job, the same friends I go out with, but I’ve changed my state of mind from a static observer to a man full of energy.

I realized that the only way I can redeem my confidence and the will to go forward is to engage my mind and my body in vigorous exercise regularly. After an extensive research and a lot of futile attempts, I found what gets my blood to pump and my brain to go into high gear.

I’ve changed my life around with three activities: running, cycling, and golf.

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In the beginning, I felt a lot like Sisyphus, but once the results started to show, it was clear that it is all worthwhile.

I have no interest in posing as a coach or a motivational speaker. This article is meant to be an example of an average Joe making a step in the right direction. I’ve decided to include a couple of things you’ll need if I have managed to get you interested in these sports. Check out what turned my life around:

1. Running

running
    Image Credit: Ryan Knapp, Flickr

    Running was actually my first activity and after a couple of weeks that were spent simply catching my breath, I realized what the fuss is all about. Running melts away all the stress, clears your head, and pushes your body to its limits. For me, running has always been a part stress release and a part exercise.

    Long gone are the days when you would head out on the run through the park with just your phone, earphones and a set of keys in your pocket. Whether you run alone or in a group, there are certain accessories which will help you go the distance or simply give you a boost in inspiration that’s going to keep you moving.

    Running shoes

    runningshoes
      Image Credit: Dawn, Flickr

      Since you do not want to end up with blisters, cramps, and skin-torn-toes it is important to pick the right running shoes. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

      High quality running shoes are important for both hitting the treadmill and for enjoying a run in the morning fresh air.

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      Tracking device

      trackingdevice
        Image Credit: N I C O L A, Flickr

        If you want to record how far you go on each run, you should be tracking your routes with a tracking device. The easiest way is to download the appropriate app for your smartphone, but if you want to go pro, you can get a specific running wristband which will measure track steps, calories burned, distance, etc. Check out some fine tracking devices here.

        Running Backpack

        running with backpack
          Image Credit: Sagundo, Flickr

          If you are enjoying long distances through the countryside, some additional items are definitely helpful during your long runs, and a running backpack is a good investment. However, you do not want the added weight to cause discomfort when you hit the trails, so it is vital to choose the right kind to have a smooth run.

          2. Cycling

          sports - cycling
            Image Credit: Tejvan Pettinger, Flickr

            Cycling is, first of all, a great way to commute and it can be an exercise that perfectly blends into your daily schedule. If you are like me and want to enjoy long bike rides, cycling in a nearby forest or taking up a long distance ride is the best solution. Bicycle rides give you stamina, determination in the long run, and relaxation every time you ride your bike.

            The world full of wonder and joy that is cycling is pretty much in these days, but whether you already have a bicycle or opting to buy a new one, it is recommended to have accessories to go with it. Be it a helmet, a repair kit, appropriate clothing or some basic gear, the technology in this day and age allows you to put so much more on your bike than simple lights or a bell.

            Helmet and crash sensor

            helm
              Image Credit: Martin Abegglen, Flickr

              Even if laws do not require them, a bicycle helmet is a must for its safety aspects. You can find helmets for different riding styles, and some advanced and modern types can have a crash sensor attached to them which will send alerts to your contacts if you have had an accident. In that case, the crash sensor app triggers a countdown, and if the countdown is not disabled, a distress signal and your GPS coordinates are immediately sent to specified contacts. More on quality helmets here.

              Lights and wireless turn signal

              Sports - Bicycle lights
                Image Credit: Digital Nuisance, Flickr

                For better visibility when riding at night or to make you more visible to others, you should use front and rear lights. For a more technologically advanced solution, there are wireless turn signal lights with LEDs and a loud beeping sound which will emit when you make a turn, all activated wirelessly using a controller attached to the handlebar. Check out some bicycle lights here.

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                Repair Kit

                repairkit
                  Image Credit: Andrew Toskin, Flickr

                  You should consider bringing at least a basic repair kit with you when you hit the road. It should contain a multi-tool for basic adjustments, tire levers, a spare tube, a puncture kit, etc. The bonus is that all of these things can fit into a bike bag mounted to the seat or the frame. Other more advanced tools are certainly needed at your home, basement or a garage servicing, but when you are out there on the road, these basic tools should be all you need.

                  I learned to have a small repair set the hard way – you don’t have to.

                  3. Golf

                  Golf might seem like the odd one in the list as it is not as physically challenging as running or cycling. However, golf is one the best sports out there to train your willpower and focus. I was a bit of a skeptic at the beginning, but when I tried it, I found that it takes a lot of self-control, thinking, and focus.

                  The secret is that in golf, there is no winning or losing. It’s all about the challenge and improving; to be better than you were yesterday.

                  First of all, you’ll need golf clubs (I ordered my online) and a golf course near you, but there is some advanced equipment I picked up along the way that should really help a beginner.

                  Glowing Balls

                  sport - golf - glowing balls
                    Image Credit: Scott Akerman, Flickr

                    There is one obstacle for the golf players – night. Glowing in the dark, these balls are created for the ones who want to finish playing even when the sun goes down.

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                    Swing Analyzer

                    Swing Analyzer is a sensor that you attach on your glove and it connects with the app installed on your mobile phone. It can track club head speed, hip rotation, tempo, swing plane and lot more. This way, you can analyze and improve your game significantly.

                    Golf GPS

                    golfgps
                      Image Credit: Dan Taylor-Watt, Flickr

                      Golf GPS works the same as a car or mobile phone navigation. You can find a variety of models on the market, but they all have the same purpose – to provide you with information on the exact distance from the place you stand to the next hole regarding the obstacles. Depending on what you find suitable, you can choose between Golf GPS Watches, Clip-on Golf devices, Voice clip-on devices and Golf GPS Handhelds. This small device provided so much quality information for me that I improved significantly.

                      Engaging (and getting better) in sports improves us.

                      Nowadays, I feel like the world is my playground. I won’t go as far to say that it is solely because of sports, but they have played a major part in helping me consolidate my time and feeling confident.

                      Of course, what I’ve done is just an example, and there is no way to tell if my regime will work with you, but simply trying is half of the process.

                      Don’t settle for less; you are the only one who can change your habits and make you the person you would like to see in the mirror every day.

                      More by this author

                      Dejan Kvrgic

                      Blogger, Writer

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                      Last Updated on April 6, 2020

                      How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

                      How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

                      What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                      To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                      All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                      There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                      With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                      What follows is a list of 13 of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these tips are essential:

                      1. Think Big

                        From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                        “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                        There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                        Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                        Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                        Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                        Instead be ambitious.

                        2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                          From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                          “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                          This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                          Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                          If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                          Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                          Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                          Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                          3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                            From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                            “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                            All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                            If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                            However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                            If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                            In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                            To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                            4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                              From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                              “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                              There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                              Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                              His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                              He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                              Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                              Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                              If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                              5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                6. Be a Person of Action

                                  From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                  “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                  Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                  Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                  When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                  You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                  All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                  Applying this to you?

                                  Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                  7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                    From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                    The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                    The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                    People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                    This is key to good leadership.

                                    It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                    But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                    What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                    As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                    8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                      From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                      “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                      It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                      Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                      If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                      9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                        From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                        “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                        Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                        It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                        Keep dreaming!

                                        10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                          From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                          “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                          Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                          Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                          If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                          However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                          11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                            From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                            “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                            It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                            When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                            Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                            If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                            This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                            12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                              From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                              “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                              You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                              Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                              True success comes from work.

                                              You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                              Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                              13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                Final Thoughts

                                                What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                More Tips for Achieve Success

                                                Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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