Many of you probably have set new goals and intentions for 2020. To be honest, I am not a fan of the whole “new year, new me” that always comes with New Year’s Eve. I try to renew myself throughout the year and actually set new goals every week. I am a huge fan of good intentions. But it doesn’t matter whether you start it in January, April or December.

However, the 1st of January can be a nice date for remembering things: I stopped smoking last year on this day, so I was able to celebrate my 1-year anniversary of non-smoker on January 1! Yeah!

Healthier living is often a good intention of people. More exercise and more healthy eating are often high on the list of goals to be achieved. 2019 was the year in which I started exercising and I would like to share in this blog how I approached that.

Bad memories of sports

As a teenage girl, I completely disliked sports. I had a gym teacher who was very unkind and made me feel bad about my body and sports performance. When my girlfriends and I went to get lunch, they always commented on my lunch and how unhealthy it was. During the gym class the comments always flew to my ears and all the exercises I did were never good enough. I can say that I certainly suffered a small trauma from this. For a long time, sport in my head was linked to something that I was incredibly bad at.

More and more fun

When I went to study a few years later, I moved from Belgium to the Netherlands. I went to live on my own and I went cycling a lot. Because of this I discovered how good exercise is for me: I started running with my roommate every now and then, went swimming regularly. I also took sometimes a group lesson with friends at the gym. I was definitely not a fanatic athlete and there were still weeks when I didn’t do anything, but I was increasingly aware of how good exercise and sport is for both your body and mind.

The power of movement

Last year I was invited by a friend to go bootcamp in the park. I was very nervous. I didn’t know anyone and my endurance wasn’t really great. It was – as expected – incredibly heavy, but it also went very well. It was a super fun group (of which not everyone was really fit), a nice coach and it was outside in the fresh air, which I really liked. The first weeks were incredibly tough, but after a month I started to get better. I started with once a week. After three months I already started exercising two to three times a week. I also found out more and more that exercising is one of the few moments where I can really put my mind to zero. I am not thinking about anything except the exercise I am going to perform at that time. In the meantime I regularly do other sports: I sometimes go swimming, spinning, walking and do yoga classes.

My message to you

The message that I want to give in my story above is: find a sport that suits you. Playing sports comes in so many forms. It does not matter what you do. I had many years of aversion to sport because of the negative association with the performance-oriented, competitive aspect that I could never meet in my head. However, performance should not be accomplished for gym teachers, but entirely for yourself!



Do you want to know how good intentions hold? Then read the article This is how your New Year’s resolutions will be successful.

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Hi! I'm Mara and I have a busy life where I have to keep a lot things up and running. Sometimes a bit too many things. With these blog I hope to inspire you to get started with your mental well-being! Personally, I always held back when it came to seeking help until I discovered that there are so many ways to help yourself. Small adjustments to your lifestyle and useful tips and tricks can sometimes make a world of difference in feeling that little bit better!

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