I sat across from her, looking into her beautiful brown eyes. Everything about her was perfect. Suddenly, something inside of me just “clicked.” As I listened to her talk about my potential and her faith in me – I knew that I had to have her. “I’ve been going at this all wrong,” I exclaimed. “I don’t need a man. What I need is a woman!” She nodded in agreement. “Sure, Chris knows all of the right things to do and say, but he doesn’t get me the way that you seem to,” I said. “I totally get you and, Rita, with me – you’ll get everything you want and more!” I was hooked. That night, I broke things off with Chris. Hiring Natalie as my personal trainer was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
Two months later, and it’s not all sunshine and roses. Tonight, Natalie laid across from me as I held a side plank for longer than I care to remember. She just smiled as she casually threatened my life were I to drop the position. I’m pretty sure that had I had a fork on me, I would have poked her beautiful brown eyes with it! After our workout, she sat me down for a chat. After all, today ended the 10th day of Project GetFit – and we have 25 more to go. “I want you to be completely successful with your total transformation,” she said as she grabbed a pad of paper and pen. “You’ve got all of the right tools and mentality, you just need some rules to help you achieve success,” she explained as she pushed the paper and pen into my hands. “Write!” she demanded.
Ten minutes later I had a list of 5 rules to follow to ensure success with my fitness plan. I looked from the rules to Natalie. “What?” she asked. “You need to follow these rules!!!” I said. For two months, Natalie has been an avid reader of this blog. She followed the 35 dates, read the advice of the dating coaches and continues to eagerly anticipate my updates. During our workouts, I’ve been privy to an inside peek at her life as well. Specifically, her dating life. “I don’t know how these rules apply to dating,” she said with a shrug. I looked at her for a solid minute. “You really don’t see how these rules apply to dating?!” I laughed. “Let me show you…”
Define Your Goals and Set Reasonable Objectives
FITNESS: I want to lose 70 pounds. That is my goal. If I were to focus on the overall goal number, I would become easily frustrated. It would feel far away, almost unobtainable. Rather, it’s important for me to set short-term objectives to help reach my goal. Perhaps a 10% weight loss. Maybe conquering a yoga pose. Maybe simply going to the gym 4 days every week. The point is to focus on the short-term objectives so that I can reward myself for my milestones which will motivate me to continue towards the finish line.
DATING: The same holds true for dating. You day-dream about your future partner. Maybe you even dream about getting married. Having kids. But you are at a loss as to how to make that happen. Maybe you feel so far away from achieving that dream that you’ve written it off. You need to set personal dating goals! And you need to write them down. Goals give us direction. Goals help us turn our dreams into reality. Maybe it’s simply perfecting the art of approaching a stranger. Maybe it’s going out on 2 dates a week. Maybe it’s simply getting out of your house 2 times a month. The goals should be specific, obtainable and reasonably calculated to help you reach your longer-term goal. So you can reward yourself for your milestones and continue towards your finish line!
FITNESS: The only way I’ll achieve my short-term objectives, or my long-term fitness goal, is by being consistent. To ensure consistency, it’s important that I choose the right days/nights/times to work out, so that I have a regular schedule. Even simpler than that, I need to set aside X hours a week for working out. And the hours need to be reasonable and sufficient to help me reach my goal. And I need to stick with it. If I work out 3 days in one week and then don’t work out again for 2 weeks, when I do work out again, I’ll be sore. My body will hurt. I’ll be frustrated because it will feel as if I’m starting out from square one. And I’m more likely to quit. And I’ll put that much more distance between myself and my goal.
DATING: Dating is no different. You need to be consistent. Maybe your goal is to meet a partner who values you. If so, be consistent with demanding respect. Don’t let someone call you sometimes, then disappear, to only resurface with a random series of text messages before disappearing again. Establish your own rules, regarding the type of treatment you want from someone you are dating, at the beginning. Before ever going on a date. And then enforce them. Consistently. Likewise, if you want to meet someone you need to be consistent about getting out of your house and going places where you will meet and interact with other people. Schedule these nights. Make them routine. Stick with them. If you date one night and then take off 3 weeks only to get back out there again, you’ll feel frustrated because, each time, it will feel as if you are starting from square one. And you are more likely to quit. And you’ll put that much more distance between you and your goal.
Employ the Power of Positivity
FITNESS: If I say or think that I can’t do it – reach my goal weight, perform a certain exercise, complete a certain number of reps – I won’t. If I don’t pre-plan for setbacks, plateaus, off-weeks, I will be disappointed each time these events happen which will add to my frustration and negative outlook, keeping me from powering through to achieve my goals! By keeping a positive outlook, I stay motivated! Maybe I don’t lose weight one week, but I did complete a new exercise or run an extra mile. I need to focus on what I DID do, not what I didn’t do! I need to look at each workout, even the bad ones on the off days, for the lesson that it provided me – as every event provides a lesson.
DATING: If you go into dating dreading it, you won’t be successful. If you think that there just isn’t anyone out there for you, or that you’ll never meet them – you won’t. If, prior to each date, you are anticipating the worst – that’s exactly what you’ll get. Putting out negative energy only attracts negative energy. You won’t even realize it but, a negative mindset will close yourself off to others. You’ll be limiting the type of interaction you have, and the connection you establish with someone, because of your pre-formed negative thinking. Transform your mind into one full of positivity. Look at dates simply as an introduction to a new person! And always be looking for something that you can learn from that person. Even on a horrible date, you are learning what you don’t want. And that brings you closer to what you do want! Stood up? Think of it as a gift (because you will not be wasting any of your time getting to know a person with such low value of you)! Anytime you feel a negative thought creeping into your mind, flip it into a positive one and you’ll find that you are refreshed and excited to get out there and meet someone!
FITNESS: It’s been 10 days since Natalie and I started Project GetFit. And it hasn’t been easy. In fact, it down right hurts. My body is in pain as I write this. But it’s easier than it was on day 1. And day 20 will be easier than today. Feeling pain is a sign that I’m pushing myself. Pushing myself is a requirement to getting stronger. Being stronger is necessary to achieve my goal. If I quit at the first sign of pain, if I put down the weights right as they start to feel heavy, I can’t progress. No progression means not getting any closer to the finish line. And it’s not physical toughness (although that is a result). It’s mental toughness. It’s programming your mind to overpower your body. To suck it up and do what it takes, even on the bad days. If you don’t power yourself through the tough times to bring you closer to your goal, who will?
DATING: You’ll have bad dates. It’s inevitable. There will be dull dinners, exhausting conversation. You might be stood up. You might have to fight off unwanted advances. Inappropriate comments. But you have to push through these times. You’ll feel pain at times. You’ll down right hurt. But that is a sign that you are pushing yourself. You are growing. Every bad date teaches you about what you don’t want. Which leads you closer to what you do want. You need to change your mental state to overpower the negative thoughts. Look at every person you meet as contributing a lesson of value. You might feel as if you don’t want to go out one night. You might feel like there is no point in attempting to meet someone. If you quit – you are assured to not meet someone. If you don’t power yourself through those down times, force yourself to get off your couch, force yourself to approach people, to go on one more date….who will?
Change Your Perspective
FITNESS: I was looking at my workouts as “chores.” Tasks that needed to be completed. Who likes chores? Who likes tasks? Then Natalie said something that changed my entire outlook. “Rita, exercising and taking care of your body is not a task, it’s a gift. It’s a privilege that you have. Being fit, being healthy, it isn’t a chore – it’s a choice.” My outlook immediately changed. When I don’t feel like working out, I now tell myself that I take steps to become healthier, or I can choose the status quo. If I choose the latter, I have no one to blame for my situation but me. Because it’s a choice. My choice. When you’ve set a goal, why would you want to actively choose to sabotage your progress? By thinking of it as a choice, instead of a chore, it’s easier to find the motivation to choose the right steps and actions to reach my goal.
DATING: Flip the script on dating as well. It isn’t a task. Meeting someone new is a gift. It’s a privilege you have. Dating isn’t a chore, it’s a choice. Your choice. You can choose to “get up, get out and do something” placing yourself in situations where you have the potential of meeting someone, you can say yes to someone’s date invitation, or you can sit at home. If you choose the latter, you have no one to blame for your situation but yourself. You’ve set a goal to find someone. Why would you actively choose to sabotage your efforts to reach that goal? By thinking of it as a choice, instead of a chore, it’s easier to find the motivation to choose the right steps and actions to bring you closer to finding love.
Natalie just looked at me. “Exercise gives something back to you each time you do it! Dating doesn’t.” I told her that I disagree. Exercise may give you results that you can see with your eyes, but the process of dating brings about a level of personal growth that you can feel internally. She bit her lip and reluctantly agreed that I was right. Looks like “Natalie’s Rules” will bring success for both of us – in multiple areas of our lives. I told you, she’s one hell of a trainer.