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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.

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                      Dejan Kvrgic

                      Blogger, Writer

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                      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                      1. Understand Yourself Better

                      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                      3. Become Aware of What Matters

                      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                      4. Boost Creativity

                      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                      6. Process Life Experiences

                      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                      7. Stress Relief

                      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                      8. Provide Direction

                      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                      9. Solve Problems

                      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                      10. Find Relief From Fighting

                      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                      11. Find Meaning in Life

                      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                      14. Let the Past Go

                      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                      15. Allow Freedom

                      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                      16. Enhance Your Career

                      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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