Easier than it seems: How to overcome laziness and start exercising?


Together with a psychologist, we will explore what hinders you from engaging in sports. Physical activity is essential for a person’s well-being, as the lack of it can lead to various health problems, ranging from scoliosis to cardiovascular diseases. It is widely recognized that engaging in sports is beneficial. However, many struggle to overcome laziness and take the first step towards physical activity. Alongside psychologist and psychosomatic therapist Nadezhda Pozharova, we delve into how to conquer laziness and start exercising.

Violence against oneself is harmful; effort is good

Articles for life! | Easier than it seems: How to overcome laziness and start exercising?

It is important to distinguish between effort and violence when it comes to overcoming laziness. “Fighting laziness can be a dangerous endeavor if it involves violence against oneself,” says the expert. For instance, some perceive sports as an obligatory part of a successful person’s life. This notion is widely discussed and written about in books. However, it is not advisable to view sports as a key to success. Otherwise, you may feel inadequate if you are not attracted to physical exercises.

Nadezhda: It is crucial to understand the benefits one can derive from engaging in physical activities. When attempting to create an illusion of success, one may indeed resort to violence against oneself because there is internal resistance to conforming to something contrary to one’s desires.

A different story is making an effort. Why is it challenging to make an effort? Often, it is because a person does not see any prospects. To make an effort, one needs to be in a resourceful state, which means getting enough sleep, eating well, and feeling comfortable in one’s environment. In order to start exercising, create a new behavioral pattern, and form a habit through effort, the psychologist recommends a conditional system:

Notice your own resistance and ask yourself, “Do I genuinely not want to engage in sports, or am I simply too exhausted from work and home responsibilities, and additional physical exertion will only create tension rather than pleasure?”

Find a suitable sport.

Everyone can find pleasure in physical activities. For some, it may be Nordic walking, while for others, it could be tennis.

Scaling only hampers progress

It is essential to start small. There is no need to immediately burden yourself with daily trips to the gym, especially if it is your first attempt at engaging in sports.

Nadezhda: It is crucial not to scale things up right away. Engaging in sports nowadays often involves additional burdens such as buying a mat, sneakers, sports attire, and commuting to the gym. On one hand, it can be exciting, but on the other hand, it evokes resistance within a person because it requires extra effort, time, and money. In such cases, it is important to start with something, even if it’s small. Avoid getting caught up in grand plans and purchasing a year-long membership right away. Initially, home workouts are sufficient. If a person sets a goal of exercising five times a week for two hours each time or going to the pool every day, naturally, internal resistance will start sabotaging it because the body is not prepared to handle such a significant increase in new activities.

If difficulties arise when connecting with your body, it is important to proceed gradually. Explore yourself and your body gradually, work with personal boundaries, and create a separation from others. It is also crucial to practice something small every day. Morning exercises and 3-5 minutes of breathing techniques already make a significant difference!


Home workouts and zoning

For various reasons, it may be more convenient for a person to exercise at home, especially during a pandemic when buying a gym membership can be risky. Moreover, home workouts are a great way to save money and time that would otherwise be spent on commuting.

Nadezhda: Here, I give the same recommendation as I do to everyone who works from home: zoning. To create a sense that you are engaging in a different activity, you need to prepare. For example, set up a special corner with dumbbells and water.


It can be challenging to exercise at home if there is no designated area. The same applies to work. The basic recommendation from psychologists for people working from home is to change the environment and create a sense of a workspace. It’s necessary to prepare yourself, perhaps by dressing differently, to create a space for the new activity. In the majority of cases, the brain simply doesn’t understand why it should do something different at home when it’s accustomed to relaxation, not work or exercise. It’s important to help the brain adjust.

External support is an excellent helper

Nadezhda: It’s always great to start when you have external support from a trainer or people who are also engaged in the same activities. This can provide additional motivation. However, if a person is shy or being in a new social circle causes anxiety, there are many online opportunities now to exercise and still feel a sense of community through various chat groups where people share meal plans and workouts.

Develop your own unique system

Avoid comparing yourself to others. When taking the initial steps towards sports, it’s important to consider your own desires and individual characteristics.

Nadezhda: Many people become fixated on drinking two liters of water per day and achieving 10,000 steps, and then they berate themselves when they don’t meet these targets. It’s crucial to have your own system. Only through this will a habit gradually form. And I’m not saying this will happen in 21 days. Each person will have a unique path in this regard.

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