..from my upcoming book
Many young people, especially guys, date a lot. The excitement of a new relationship is mesmerizing and tantalizing. The euphoria of meeting and getting to know a new person can indeed be intoxicating. But as most of us can attest, this bliss eventually subsides. The relationship matures and, for the lucky ones, goes to the next level. But for many, this next level is simply no fun. So instead of settling into a relationship without the guise of perfection and perfect harmony, many people break ties, deciding instead to move on to a new relationship, only to begin the same process with the same eventuality.
The same is true for most of us when it comes to our fitness and health goals. Most of us have begun a relationship with our better selves at least once or twice. Some of us have begun this courtship dozens of times. But just like with literal relationships, this figurative relationship often times ends amidst boredom and faulty expectations. Sure, we get excited when things are new and fresh. That commercial makes being fit sound so wonderful. That ad in the magazine makes the life of a thin and confident woman look so fun and glamorous. And what guy isn’t motivated to get bigger arms or rock-hard abs after going to watch (and witnessing how our date watches) the latest heartthrob action figure on the big screen?
So what do we do? We reveal to everyone that will listen our newfound passion. We buy new shoes and outfits. We can’t wait to get started and look forward to every chance to get closer to this ideology of self-actualization.
But then….Yes, there is a “but then.” You knew it was coming. Just like with real-world relationships, things begin to stagnate. After a day or two of getting up at 5 am, after a week or so of being sore and having blisters, after a couple of weeks of little to no significant progress… you give up. You call it off. The relationship. You don’t make a phone call because there is no one to call. You don’t send a text because there is no one to receive the text. You don’t really even have the internal conversation. But just like young people often do in real-life, you break up. You end it. You and your ideal self, you argue internally, have little in common. You’re too different, too far apart. And the work required to gain a better understanding, to become closer, is too much. So you tell your ideal self, “It’s not you; it’s me. I’m not ready for a long-term relationship.” And you move on.
Until the next time you see something that reminds you of this relationship. Until the next time you want to give it a try.
To be who you want to be, to be who you know you should be, you have to stop DATING your ideal self. And commit to it. Marry it! Understand that there will be ups and downs. Understand that the joy you feel in the beginning will change. It won’t go away, but it will change. It’ll mature. The more time you put into the relationship, the more you’ll see how important the time is for the relationship. And if you deal with the “valleys”, you’ll enjoy peaks you can’t imagine.
So, for once, just tell yourself you are going to commit to building a long-term relationship with your ideal self. Work every day to better the relationship. Understand there will be times when you are excited and happy, and times when you, well want to tell your ideal self to [you fill in the blank]. But, just like with our real relationship, when you love someone, when you are committed to someone, you stick it out! You hang in there. Because you know that the joy far outweighs the challenges. It’s the same with your fitness. Do it- commit- and you’ll see!