By Darren Floro-Bryant
Every one of us has our own health and fitness goals, but how do you make these work when you are in a relationship? Working toward your goal on your own may be hard enough, but doing it in a relationship has unique challenges. What if your goals are the same? What if your goals are different? What if your approaches are different?
There are many things you need to consider as a couple before deciding to work on your goals individually or simultaneously. Sometimes an understanding that you both approach goals differently is enough to help you progress together with your individual goals. Or, it’s possible that simply accepting and respecting that you need to do it on your own, with the support of your partner, will help you succeed in this journey.
Here is one approach you can consider to help support one another on your path to improved health and fitness and work toward your goals together.
- Talk with your partner about your goal and why it is important to you.
- Clearly define what your goal is.
- What is the driving factor or motivation for your goal?
- Is it for medical or health reasons?
- Is it for a specific event?
- Is it for a healthier lifestyle?
- Is this a shared goal?
- Is it something you are both working towards?
- Is it important to just one of you?
- Discuss how you are going to support each other (or how one will support the other) with this goal.
- Define what that means.
- Set realistic expectations for one another – it will be a challenge for both of you.
- Are you going to participate together?
- Do you excel as an individual? Or, are you more successful as a member of a team?
Recognize personality differences and address them, possibly creating a work around.
- Come up with a game plan.
- Create a schedule, time line, or something you can easily reference to keep you both on track.
- Try to anticipate roadblocks or issues.
- Is there an event that will put your progress on hold? Plan for it!
- Do you frequently travel for work? Or have an upcoming vacation?
- Identify cravings or old habits that may sabotage your goals. For example, if one of you is trying to lose weight while the other is trying to add muscle, simply making dinner may be an issue you need to discuss in advance.
- Establish check-ins, rules, and boundaries.
- Agree on these ahead of time to help avoid conflict.
- Use tools or devices with alerts as a reminder to keep you both on task.
- Allow for a ‘misstep.’
- Similar to roadblocks (#7), figure out ways to overcome these ahead of time
- Discuss an ‘out’ for one or both of you.
- Don’t use this as an excuse, but more of an understanding of both personalities.
- Recognize the levels of importance for each of you.
- Decide on an end-date together.
- It will allow you to reevaluate and possibly redefine your goals or ramp them up.
In the end, communication is key. Identifying, discussing, and building a plan in advance will help alleviate potential obstacles on your road to success. Your partner will support you, and you can support your partner, if you each know what the other is trying to achieve. We are all passionate about our goals but knowing that we have our partner’s support will help us achieve them and makes the journey easier.