So there you are. 

You've worked up the motivation to go to the gym.  You've packed your gym bag ... your water bottle, your workout towel, your headband (it's okay, I'm not judging!) ... You've shown spartan self-discipline at the kitchen table.  You're ready to walk out the door and show this workout who's boss, when it happens...

"Where are you going?" they say.

You reply, "To the gym to get my sweat on!" (once again, I'm not judging!)

Then they hit you with, "You're going to the gym NOW???"

"They" might be your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, buddy/friend, mom/dad, or any number of other people.  Whoever "they" are, they have put you smack dab in the middle of a moral dilemma.  Do you stick with your plan and continue on to the gym or do you do whatever it is that "they" are asking you to do?

It's then that you realize that this new found workout resolve isn't going to be as easy as you had planned.

I'm going to change the subject here, but I promise to tie it all together at the end!

A few months back we got a puppy, so since that point we have been in obedience training mode.  It may be considered "cheating" to some, but we ended up hiring a professional to help us train our pup.

Brian, the dog trainer, spoke to us about how dogs' brains work.  He told us that dogs need extreme consistency because dogs base decisions on priorities and we need to teach them that doing what we say is the MOST important thing, above all else.  Part of the training has consisted of testing Bandit's ability to obey in the face of different "distractions."  For instance, we would put him in a sit/stay and try to get him to break with kids running around, people ringing the doorbell, other dogs, food being thrown down near him, etc.  Each time he would break from his directive, we would have a chance to correct his behavior.  This teaches him that obeying the command is a higher priority than all of these distractions.  We're still working with him because he can be kind of "spirited," but he's getting it.

So what does this have to do with what I was saying before?

Well, as I tend to do with any new insight, I started thinking about the application of the "priorities" concept to the fitness world.  In my introspective mode, it occurred to me that people are not that different from dogs.  Let me explain...

Whenever you began your new exercise endeavor, that left anyone close to you in a state of uncertainty.  Maybe your new lifestyle doesn't affect their entire lives, but it at least affects their relationship with you.  In many cases,  they may just be "testing the waters" to see what YOUR priorities are.  How important is this workout thing to you?  How strong is your resolve?  Are you really going to stick with it this time?

I have two strategies for dealing with this.

  1. Be direct.  Sit down with the important people in you life.  Tell them about your plan.  Maybe even enlist them as an accountability partner.  This helps to let them know that they are still important to you despite the fact that they will occasionally lose face time with you.  In some cases, you may even have them join you in the endeavor.  In any case, you want to let them know in no uncertain terms that you will be making a high priority out of your fitness goal.
  2. Stand your ground.  This may be a stand-alone strategy or it may work in concert with the first strategy above.  When you're faced with the dilemma of how to spend your time, don't be afraid to be firm and defend your gym time.  If you're like me and hate conflict, this can be almost unbearable, but it may be a necessary evil.

If you can show the people that you care about that this new lifestyle is something that simply won't go away, they will come to accept it. 

Change can be difficult, to say the least, and it can be made more difficult by well-intentioned friends and family members who are just trying to get back to a sense of normalcy.  It is your job to help them see that this new habit is your reality from now on.