There is a certain joy in sharing hobbies. The excitement of introducing someone to the activities you enjoy. And it sucks when they say no.
You cycle with us or paddle out and think to yourself: “How can it get better? Now I have someone to share my adventures with! “This feeling only gets better when that someone is your life partner.
Or so I was told. I only know that from rumors, of course.
As you have no doubt guessed, mine is not a success story. My attempt to get my partner up and running, my joy, was a complete failure – with a capital F.
So I want to take this as an opportunity to share my hard-earned wisdom. Hopefully, if you want to get your partner to take up the activities that you enjoy most, you will learn from my mistakes.
The idea: run with your partner
It was a couple of weeks before New Years Eve 2020 when I had a brilliant idea. As I thought about the coming New Year and what goals I had for myself – especially to run more – the inspiration came to me: I should ask my partner to run with me! We could start the year in a healthy way, share a hobby (new to him) and enjoy each other’s company.
I like to run for a number of reasons. It keeps my tender hold on sanity, it softens me, and it’s a great workout that you can do almost anywhere with no equipment except with a decent pair of shoes.
I hovered the idea from him and emphasized that I would encourage and support him wherever I could. And in order to hold us both accountable, I came up with the idea of making a story out of it. He said he was on board so I started working out my plans.
The first part of my plan was to make sure my partner had the right equipment. I knew two things: gifts are a great motivation and he desperately needed new running shoes.
I chose that HOKA ONE ONE Rincon;; It’s a great street shoe that can also pass over groomed trails and fire trails. So if necessary we could change the site.
I got him a pair too SAXX Kinetic Sport Shorts. Lightweight, breathable and supportive, I knew they would feel great on cooler and warmer days.
The second part of my plan was timing. I wanted to limit this endeavor to the New Year, when resolutions are at all-time highs and motivation for change has peaked.
I assumed that the shared wave of inspiration, mixed with guilt, would deliver the proverbial wind on our backs that we would need to get our shared hobby dome going.
Finally, the third part of my plan was to just take my partner out on runs I’d already been on. I knew which routes were more demanding (also more scenic) and which could even be done by a small child. He’s athletic by nature, and while he’s not a runner, I thought he could at least keep up with an intermediate like me.
Where I’ve Failed (And You Can Succeed)
My mistakes during this experiment were numerous and are not cataloged in any particular order. Learn from my mistakes!
I assumed my partner would love to run
I am not sure what I was thinking here. Perhaps the dizziness of my own smart idea of sharing a new hobby overrode the very clear fact that there was a reason my partner wasn’t already running with me – he didn’t want to.
Although I knew very well that he had never shown an inclination to run in his 37 years on earth, I remained steadfast in my search for a new hobby. I see now that maybe this was the first sign that this shouldn’t be.
Even if your partner is trying to endorse your mind-boggling ideas, you should probably double-check that they’re not just being nice. Ask them if they actually want to join you in your hobby. That saves time and effort across the board.
I failed to create a schedule
What’s the best way to keep a habit up? Consistency! How can you maintain consistency? Make a schedule and stick to it.
I failed to make firm plans, which gave us ample reason to skip runs, not hold accountable, and make other plans.
If you want to make it a habit, do your prep work. Agree to a schedule. Plan ahead and stick with it. Make sharing a priority, not just a goal.
I focused on the future rather than the present
In my mind, my partner and I ran along mountainous paths, arid desert valleys and picturesque waters – with perfect shape, nothing less. This could have become a reality (at some point), but I had to lay the foundations first.
I had to motivate and encourage my partner. I had to make room and time for his training. I had to be more aware of my present to build on that future.
Focus on the present and take it step by step. Be mindful of your partner’s needs and unique challenges. And make your own goals flexible enough to meet them.
I expected my partner to motivate himself
I’ll anticipate this by saying that my partner (and probably yours too) is perfectly capable of self-motivation. But when it came time to invite him to share my hobby, I had to do the legwork (pun intended) to keep him excited and ready to keep trying. Suffice it to say that this did not happen.
It’s hard enough maintaining our own hobbies, let alone someone else’s. Let your partner loose a bit and keep motivation high – small wins should turn into big wins. The extra effort on your part will make a world of difference.
My partner and I still share a lot of hobbies: camping, biking, yoga, and overland to name a few. However, it appears that running was not meant to be used to make this list, and that’s fine.
The bottom line is that even if you try (and fail) to get your partner to take up your hobby, you still end up trying something new. You’re both ready to learn and grow … and sometimes the failures teach us more than the successes ever could.
So suggest something new to your partner or show curiosity in one of their hobbies. You never know where it’s going to go.