Anyone remember the movie Runaway Bride from 1999? Julia Roberts plays a woman who has had many weddings, but no marriages. Richard Gere writes a nasty article about her, containing a few untruths; she threatens to sue the newspaper for libel; he gets fired and shows up in her small town to prove that the spirit of his article was correct.

Sounding familiar?

Anyway, Richard’s theory is that the reason Julia can’t ever go through with these marriages is that she doesn’t know who she is or what she wants. She spends all of her energy trying to be the person that her fiance-of-the-moment thinks she is, or wants her to be, and never gets to know herself.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with personal training or health and fitness.

Fair enough.

Last month I asked you to make a list of the activities that bring you joy, relaxation, satisfaction, etc. What I realized though is that a lot of people don’t know what those things are. With work, family and social obligations, it is so easy to lose sight of what you want to do in the midst of what you have to do. And the further you get away from the want-to’s, the harder it is to find them again. If that’s where you find yourself, then here’s my advice.

date

Date yourself. I’m serious. Maybe this sounds silly. But hear me out. When you first start dating someone, you’re trying to get to know them and figure out whether who they are is a good match for who you are. And how do you do that? By spending time together. By asking questions.

Right?

Right.

restaurant

Oh, and on those dates? You go out to dinner, see movies, go to concerts. You meet for coffee. You spend time with each other’s social circles. Maybe you take a day trip and hike somewhere beautiful. You enjoy some of those dates. Others not so much. But you are learning about the other person and you are learning about yourself.

So do some of those same things on your own and decide what you like and don’t like without anyone else’s influence. Think back to things you used to enjoy doing. Even if you have to go back many years in order to come up with something. Ask your family and good friends what they remember you doing a lot of, or what they remember bringing you the most joy.

hiking

Once you know what you value, set aside time each week to do that thing. If you love to read, set aside an hour or two on Sundays to do that. If you like to cook, invite people over and make a good meal. If you love hiking, join a hiking club. But include those things in your regular life.

And have fun!