A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Continued: How to keep yourself motivated?…

As promised, here comes my theory on how to minimise procrastination (a follow-up on how to – maybe – stick to some exercise routine. Where and how can you do it?)

Over the last year, I have been struggling with the answer to that question. I have generally no trouble starting a new project. What always seems to elude me is how to keep it up… And here are some things that have worked for me, exercise-wise, in rainy times & lazy times, as well as the really sunny lovely mornings (yep, you get those too, sometimes!)

1. At home: For those rainy cold days when you really really don’t want to show your nose outside

photo flowers.JPG

Maybe add some colour to your room?

I found that in my case, works if I have a routine. More than a routine, actually: a schedule. Which tells you what is to be done and when. I am not really competitive by nature but if I have a plan in front of me, it works miracles.


There are plenty of online workouts you can do but I needed something that does not require much beyond yourself and a pair of sports shoes (as I moved around a lot I found it wasteful to buy weights, elastic stuff etc. every 2-3 months, that are sometimes part of the workouts you can find to do at home). The one I chose is called Insanity (a simple Google search will show you what I mean), and it is 90 days – which suited me as it covered the winter months. Can do at home, no accessories required, strict schedule – voilá!

2. Outdoors: We all need that gulp of fresh air sometimes, no?

photo lll

Opted for the 10km. Only a bit of rain&wind!

This is my true exercise passion: jogging. It clears my head and I feel more refreshed than after an in-house workout. Online you can find a variety of guides, tables and advice on distances and running techniques – there is something for everyone.

My goal was to run a half marathon, and I surprised myself by actually sticking to one routine and so far I have completed a half-marathon twice! Last Sunday there was the Leiden Marathon  (I suppose it was nearly impossible to miss it as the entire city centre of Leiden was closed!) – I discovered that it is such a rush to run as a part of an event, as opposed to running alone. It is not easy but if you want it and stick to your guns, it is more than possible. And there are various distances too – I opted for the 10km this time.

3. Indoors: The gym/Swimming pool/You name it

Here we come again to the weather conditions. Whereas over the last year I have jogged in snow, sunshine, hale, rain and wind (sometimes a combination of all in just one day!), there are some days it is just impossible to exercise outside. Ice patches. Red wind warning… you know what I mean.

– I found that in my case, the Basic Fit gym (unfortunately not available in Leiden but there are few locations in the vicinity – think the Hague and Delft), is the best option when I don’t want to be in the house all the time. Cheap and has everything you need (no sauna, sadly, but nothing is perfect….).

–  University gym – I heard a lot of good things about it but it is too far from my house so I never cycled there. It would be a workout in itself!

4. So what? 

All this is to say: there are ways to keep yourself on top of your game, which do not necessarily involve research/reading/writing per se.

We are all different and for some it might be a book, or a movie… (maybe you can give me some ideas too?) but so far, some exercise has worked miracles for my productivity and motivation, you can find what works for you too, especially in the Season of Deadlines!

About antoaneta@theleidener

I moved to Leiden back in 2014 to do my Master's in Asian Studies with Japanese, which is something I am still doing along with many other projects. I have been an international student ever since I started my Bachelor's degree in the UK, and have lived in a bunch of different places, and have met so many lovely and interesting people along the way. I hope in the future I can continue travelling and exploring new ideas and places.

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2016 by in Leisure.

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