You’ve had it. You’re tired of waking up dreading a new day of not fitting in your clothes, sick of feeling like you have no energy, wondering what it feels like to feel good. You’ve made the decision to get healthier. You’ve managed to do something no one in the history of the modern world has managed to do, make good on your New Year’s resolutions! You’ve been running fifteen miles a week, practicing yoga twice a week, eating green stuff, meditating regularly on what you’re grateful for. Hell, you’ve even been flossing.
Despite all this, do you find yourself looking around and thinking, ‘hmmm, something’s not working.’ What could it be? Oh yeah, it’s HIM! Your significant other. There he is, sitting on the couch, grinning and tossing back Doritos and Coors Lights. He’s like some sort of mythological creature, a dark and ever present mirror of your past life of junk food and couch worship. He’s watching reality TV show marathons while you’re busting your butt training for actual marathons. The phrase ‘the old ball and chain’ is starting to take on an extremely literal sense.
What do you do when you’ve dedicated your life to improvement and your significant other is happily mired in the Zen of whatever?
Examine Your Motives
Why are you working on yourself? Putting your own motivation in the hands of your partner can be a really convenient way to give up and not take any responsibility for it. “He didn’t notice I’d lost five pounds, so what’s the point?” We’re all guilty of it. Being social animals, of course we want others to notice the positive changes we are making. Recognition can be inextricably tied to that sense of accomplishment. See if you can separate the two. Keep a mental space for any compliments you might get and a separate mental space for that awesome feeling you get when you look in the mirror and smile, or zip up your jeans without having to lie on the floor to do it.
There’s No Going Back
Stay aware of your state of mind. If you must have support (and who doesn’t need support every once in a while?) look for it somewhere other than in your partner. Do you have a friend who’d like to join you on your quest for betterment? Is there a meet-up group near you that you can spend time with for moral support and encouragement? Get involved with other like-minded people to bolster your goals, otherwise you could find yourself resenting your partner, the very same one you used to eat Red Vines and cuddle with. Find support somewhere else before you get to this point because it’s easier to stop resentment before it starts than it is to un-resent someone.
Just To Play Devil’s Advocate
Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle fat? Don’t forget, Skittles were a staple on your grocery list not long ago. You can’t really judge him for doing something that seemed perfectly acceptable just a few weeks earlier. It’s unfair to expect someone else to jump on your bandwagon of hot yoga and tofu. If you really feel you need your partner to change with you, this has to be discussed beforehand and an agreement must be reached.
If you CAN get him to join you:
Approaching a conversation about any lifestyle changes can be scary. It might be a good idea to go to a neutral place, a place where you can (or maybe more appropriately, will be forced to) have a calm, rational discussion about both of your goals and expectations of yourselves and each other. Truthfully, it’s a cause for celebration. Once you have a plan, you can support each other. Be sure to acknowledge the fact that each of you will have highs and lows, and it will be a rollercoaster. But rollercoasters are usually more fun if there is someone screaming beside you, right?
The Power of One
With that said, there is something satisfying about knowing you are accomplishing something on your own. Just be aware of your goals. Stay mindful of any negative feelings, resentment or jealousy, and identify the source. Be your own barometer of success and realize that your life and your body are your own. What you choose to share of it with others is up to you. And maybe point out to your significant other that you’d be more willing to ‘share’ if he took a page from your book and traded in his tortilla chips for a treadmill.