Q: My resolution this year was to lose weight and feel better about my physical self when I'm out on dates. But I find myself losing motivation now, because most straight men I know certainly aren't perfect and they can find hot girlfriends quite easily. I'm kind of resentful about the higher expectations as a gay man in the dating game, and I'm losing motivation to reach my goal. How can I get re-motivated to get in shape? Is this something for my therapist or a life coach?
A: Great question. But before I jump into your weight, let me briefly address the difference between a coach and a therapist at least from the perspective of this coach. I do this with the understanding that each coach and each therapist approaches their craft a little differently and so the lines that divide are not as much black and white as they are shades of gray.
The way I explain the difference between coaching and therapy is that the therapeutic process helps us find wholeness by healing past emotional trauma. Coaching focuses on personal growth and change and strategic planning. A handy metaphor is found in the car. In therapy, the therapist and the client use the rear view mirror to look into the past to understand how the client got to the present. The coach will look forward with the client, determine where they want to go and how best to get them there. As a coach, I have found enormous support with my therapists over the years even as I am grateful to have found the profession of coaching, which is allows me to make a difference in my client’s lives.
Now on to your question! There are 3 action steps here I'd suggest to you:
If it’s important to you, I say lose the weight. Get the body you want. But do it because of how it will make YOU feel. Trim up because, well, you’ll just plain feel better. You’ll have more energy, sleep better, think better thoughts, have more confidence and feel proud of yourself. Do it, but do it because you’ll be the beneficiary of all those gifts. Really, it’s a fantastic resolution. The reason your motivation is waning – to me – is because you’ve tied your goal to something that is too far outside of yourself. I’m wondering if the real reason you want to lose weight is so that you can find love (Hello? Recipe for resentment). If this is the case then I would argue you’re giving your power away. I say make your purpose super personal and let the love come as a result. You’re right, living in a body that makes you happy, means you will show up with more confidence on a date and because you’re more confident you’ll attract a different kind of man but let that be the icing on the cake not the central driving force.
As far as gay men having to adhere to a higher standard, there may be some truth in that. And maybe not. Either way, it’s something you are telling yourself. It’s a part of your inner dialogue and it is siphoning off your energy and motivation. Drop it. Let it go. It’s not serving you. The fact is, you could be overweight and still meet the man of your dreams. Whenever we set out on a new resolution or promise, what determines our success or our failure comes down to one thing: what we believe. What we believe determines the kind of life we have, the kinds of relationships we have, the success in any endeavor we undertake.
Beliefs are powerful! To understand what is determining your success around dating, I say, go on a belief hunt. Take out a piece of paper and write down everything you believe to be true about the dating process. Let ‘er rip. Don’t edit it. Get down and dirty. We need to know what is in there. You might start with: “I can’t have love (or be happy for that matter) until I lose weight” (yikes) Get every single one down; the good, the bad and the ugly. Then step back and take a look at what you have. Each belief represents something you’re telling yourself about what is possible for you around love. What do you notice about your beliefs? Do they empower or disempowered you? Do they excite you, open doors for you, encourage you? Or do you feel exhausted and resentful? Perhaps you have some of both kinds of beliefs. Either way, the point is to know what is driving your experience. From here you can begin to make the shifts necessary to have the kind of experience you’ve been longing for all along.
Good luck and keep me posted on your progress. -- John Dulworth, CPC