There are things I have learned about myself and the gym which have completely changed our relationship for the better.  For years I thought it was me.  I was unmotivated, I had a bad attitude, I just wasn’t cut out for fitness, I just needed to work harder, I would get around to it when the right time came….which was all baloney.  I was completely motivated, I just kept having negative experiences.  Who takes on an entirely new way of being if it’s consistently unpleasant before, during, and after each action?  If I weren’t motivated I wouldn’t have ever gone back, but I kept coming back for years trying to figure it out.  I had a bad attitude?  Nope. But I kept getting negative feedback for not “doing it right” and not “sticking with it.”  😛  I wasn’t cut out for fitness?  But my body responds amazingly to physical activity and I did sports in HS so what the heck?  I need to work harder?  OMG!  If there’s one thing I don’t need encouragement in, it’s working harder.  I have the scars to prove it.  If anything I need to ratchet that crap back and that’s something my A type personality will probably struggle with the rest of my life.  So when is the right time?  Well, to do negative things is pretty much never.

So things started changing when I stopped thinking it was me and started looking at what else could be the issue.  I started looking at what turned me off, what didn’t work, and what would cause me to fail and what I found was amazing in that it was all things that could be changed.  First, not being an expert in fitness, I didn’t have the ability to know what I didn’t know, so I started working with a trainer.  The benefits were immediate. I started to see changes and improvement and to create a new relationship with my body.  Wheee!!!  Which brought me to the second thing: I have extreme allergies to drill sergeants and cheer leaders.  I can’t stand the constantly up “you can do one more” person and if someone starts getting authoritarian with me I either stop all together and draw a line in the sand or I become the cat they are trying to take for a walk – a boneless passive resistor.  I don’t need motivation, I don’t need bullying, what I need is support.  So third is good communication.  That goes for me and the trainer, but also me and me.  If my head and my body are not on the same page bad things are going to happen to both.  My body has wisdom my mind sometimes can’t even fathom.  The more I listen to it, the better things get.  Or in other words, there are times when gym life is happening while my mind is making plans. 🙂  And fourth, but not least: I need for there to always be a win.

Long term goals are great and I’m all for them, but if after having done a lot of hard work there is just a neutral feeling of being done or even negative experiences throughout with negative afterwards, it’s not working for me.  So with every workout there needs to be a win.  Something new accomplished, something new tried, some measurable improvement even if it’s just in distance traveled or better form.  Something that is demonstrable, not the overly bright rantings of the highly caffeinated morning person personality trainers tend to adopt. With these four things my relationship with the gym has become positive and healthy, but even more so, my relationship with me and with the rest of my life have as well.  Because these insights apply in general to so many things.  Recognize you don’t know what you don’t know and ask for help in learning, don’t accept bullying or fake personas – be real and require that people be real with you, be a good communicator with yourself as well as others and work to get that good communication in return, and make sure there’s some win for you in the situation. It can be small, but it needs to be obvious and clearly experienced, not something you work to imagine was there after the fact.  Looking at aspects of your life with these three things in mind can be a revelation. So what aspects of your life are due for an improvement in relationship?