Back to Articles

How Do You Get Motivated to Practice?

"For Beginners"
(reprinted from ZAGHAREET! Sept/Oct. 2002)
by Anthea (Kawakib)

You Need To Practice But What If You Don't Feel Like it?

  When you go to class, do you compare yourself with other students? You may feel like you're behind some people, or ahead of others. It's natural to compare ourselves to those we see around us - we've been conditioned to do that by commercials and ads all our life.

  Friendly competition can also be a useful self-motivational tool - but use it wisely! If you feel you have superior skills, be sure to practice patience and kindness while waiting for others to catch up. And always show respect for those who have surpassed your level, and acknowledge their accomplishments with genuine pleasure. 

  The "family model" is a wonderful social construct: think of your fellow dancers as sisters (or brothers) - some are "older" and more experienced, others are below us in knowledge and maturity. But treat them as kindly and as considerately as you would your own siblings - be happy for them when they excel; compassionate when they fail.

  Striving to better our abilities motivates us to practice our dance skills outside of class so we'll feel better about ourselves when dancing in public. 

  What are some other ways to get and stay motivated?

   Feeling aimless and unfocused?

Set a goal or two - goals provide focus and a way to measure achievements.
 For instance:

What do those last examples have in common? MUSCLE STRENGTH. Here's where you get that "toning" effect you've been hearing about! Work on those skills several times a week. If you're taking class, don't count it as practice, count it as study. You need an additional 2 - 3 practice sessions a week to make progress.

  Got goals but still not motivated?

  1. Figure out what time of day you like to practice best and put it on your schedule, either mentally or literally
  2. Talk yourself into it. Instead of thinking, "Time for an hour and a half of practice," say, "I'm going to go stretch out now, it'll feel good." After you're warmed-up and your endorphins kick in you'll probably feel like continuing
  3. Keep a written record of time spent in workout, practice, and dance sessions to see what's really happening, and to keep track of what areas need more work
  4. Don't burn out - make sure you have AT LEAST one day of rest per week that includes no belly dance (whether dancing or reading/writing about it) whatsoever
  5. Sometimes just dance and let the workout/practice go that day
  6. Every year take 2-3 weeks off from belly dance (no workouts either). You'll literally "itch" to get back to it!
  7. Get a classmate interested enough to practice with you
  8. Eat well and get enough sleep. Treat your body right - it'll respond to your loving care.
  9. Last but not least: sign up to dance in a show - DEADLINES make great motivation!

Back to Articles