I have learnt an interesting lesson recently. Chances are that many of you have learnt this lesson already – at least anyone that goes to the gym will have done – but I suspect there are lots of members that don’t go to the gym (I am one of them!) and therefore may find what I have learnt helpful.

Back last February I went to Ireland to try to find a horse for a friend. In the process of trying one horse out I had an incident which left me with a very nasty groin strain such that I was quite unable to ride.  The very thought of getting back on a horse was unbearable (and any of you that have been members for a while will probably know I am a very keen horse rider). I returned home since then I have been seeing various specialists, physiotherapists and other health care professionals to see what can be done with my strain! It’ll be no surprise that after some professional treatment the only real thing that was going to help make my strain better was stretching and strengthening exercises (that I had to do myself!).

They say ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’, and my intentions were certainly good and my motivation was high. I knew I had been told that I had to do these exercises every day. But amazingly the days seemed to fly by and I wasn’t managing to do my exercises every day.

And then two things really made a difference. I was with a friend and we were talking about it. She said that it would probably help to set a specific time each day that I would set aside to do my exercises (a bit like prayer I guess) because without that sort of structure, the day’s busyness would crowd in and, as I had found, I probably wouldn’t find the time to do the exercises. She was absolutely right. It was so obvious but I needed a friend to point this out to me.

Then another friend told me how he’d had a knee operation and had been absolutely determined to exercise the knee after the operation. He’d done it so thoroughly that when he went back to the hospital for his first visit after the op, they said they’d never seen anyone recover so quickly.

So I started setting a time aside to do my exercises. Now despite my absolute desire to get my strain sorted as soon as possible and despite knowing that the exercises would help, I still found it an uphill struggle to do them. They are hard work and there are plenty of other things I’d rather be doing.

And then a strange thing started happening. As I got into my routine of doing them, I slowly started to ‘enjoy’ doing them. Not just the doing of them, but also the pride in myself that I was actually managing to do them pretty regularly. And before long, doing the exercises was becoming a real priority in my life. You have heard me saying “What you focus on, your energy goes on” and it’s so true – I was finding this out for myself.

Now a couple of months in, and my physio is really impressed with my progress. Even more importantly I have been able to start riding again which is wonderful. I don’t think I would have been so committed to exercising (and keeping going) without that important goal at the forefront of my mind.

Now I am sharing all this because it has a great parallel in dating. Dating isn’t easy. Constantly reading through profiles, and making the considerable effort that is needed to contact new people in the right way takes time and effort. There are probably lots of others things you would rather be doing.  But if you set the time aside, and commit to doing it regularly, keeping your goal of finding a great relationship in mind, then as you get used to doing it, you will find it gets easier and that you get pleasure from doing it – and ultimately your hard work will pay off just like it has for  me.

So be encouraged. Results don’t and won’t necessarily come immediately. Sometimes (like with the recovery of muscle and tendons) the process is slow, but over time you will definitely see results. You can’t dip your toe in the water and see the difference. It takes time for the results to show – and sadly there is no shortcut. Like me, you have to find this out for yourself, but trust me, it is truly wonderful when you do. And in the dating context there is nothing more marvellous than finding that someone special. Then the hard work is done – your goal is reached and that is truly wonderful.