What About YOUR Friends?

I’ve almost always worked out alone.  I’ve lead and attended hundreds, no hundreds of thousands, of group exercise classes.  Took on the weight room with determination and a fierce don’t-talk-to-me attitude.  Until I met a like minded friend who asked me if she could follow me through my workouts.

Ummmm…excuse me?

But, that’s not how I work at all!!  Honestly, I remember feeling a little skeptical but also very intrigued at the same time.  How does this work with other people, I wondered?

And then it became FUN!!! We were unstoppable together and made each other work harder than we ever expected.  Then, life happens and she moved and I went back to my routine as before.

It was a magical time and I always invite others to work out with me as it works.

But I know others aren’t so fortunate.
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I have clients who partner up with each other for accountability and in doing so, find that these people have the highest rate of success.

So, my question for you today and one I have been researching, is who do most of you have for support… spouse, best friend, sister… those who are closest make sense, right?

But upon further reflection about who I’ve known to be successful in their weight loss journey versus those who haven’t been successful, the answer wasn’t so simple.

You see, we tend to hang around people that are just like US.

What doest that mean, Kathy?

I’m so glad you asked 🙂

What that means is, they are JUST LIKE US… as we are right now.

If we have been living our lives with fitness in the form of diet and exercise really low on our list of priorities, ranking with things like going to the dentist for a cleaning, then we likely have surrounded ourselves throughout our years with people that have the very same patterns and understandings.

Remember the saying, “Birds of a Feather Flocking Together”?

If we love to go out to eat, so do our friends and family.

If we love to party, so do our best friends.

If we love to be a spectator. Then we are surrounded by others that love these too.

This includes our boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, other family members we’re close to, best friends, colleagues at work we’re close to, and so on.

As we decide to make new habits and practices; that being creating a new lifestyle for our healthier and better selves…we need to surround ourselves with DIFFERENT people.  Think about it, if you were to say to your best friend, “Hey, Jane! Instead of partying and dancing our Friday night away as we’ve always done before, let’s head to sleep earlier on Friday night and get up early Saturday morning for a run and yoga class?”

What do you think she’d say to you?

I don’t think it’d be nice, either…

In business I’ve learned to surround myself with people who are WAY smarter than me so I can grow and learn. I tend to gravitate toward those who know much more than I do so I can continue my journey of growth in my field.  Co-workers who are more successful or further along than I am; personal development books and studies and conferences that help with the same issues I am dealing with help to push me forward and keep me growing in the best, most successful way possible.

I surround myself with those who are doing what I want to do.

I surround myself with those who are achieving what I want to achieve.

I can see myself living their lives and practicing the same behaviors because I do.

If I didn’t, and I surrounded myself with those who are quite content and happy right where they are in their careers (even though many complain about it), it would be all too easy for me to fall into complacency.  Staying right where I am too, rather than putting in the extra time and effort, extra hours,  extra energy, lack of sleep and mounds of resources to continue to grow; I’d be dissatisfied and maybe not know why.

Success leaves clues, right?

The ones who complain about their current circumstances and never do anything to change them,  annoy the heck out of me. I literally feel like I’m getting the life sucked right out of me when I’m around people who are constantly complaining about their situation and blaming others or outside issues for their results.

I choose NOT to be around this type of energy as it messes with my positive outlook in life.

Now please understand I’m not saying there is anything wrong with someone being satisfied right where they are. I just don’t have time for people who want MORE but don’t want to DO more about it.

And this is definitely NOT okay for me.

I want to grow.   I crave it.

And the way I do so is being around those who are already achieving what I desire to achieve.

And guess what else?  Diet and exercise are NO different!

How many people do you know who say they can never have a good enough body because of their (fill in the blank here)?  I hear it all of the time.  How about people who say they cannot eat healthy foods because of time or money?  Puh-leeze!!!

If you want to change your lifestyle once and for all; if you want to truly succeed in losing the weight and keep it off for life, then choosing the right partner or mentor may be one of the most important steps you take.

It’s easy to choose from you current list of friends or people who are your “influencers”.  The first drawback is that it’s not THEIR goals and they may lack the commitment you have for this reason alone.  How easy would it be for them to skip a workout because they are tired or have other plans?

I’ve seen it happen too many times to count…

Or perhaps she may try to convince you that “it’s only one bite or piece of cake- we’ve been so consistent in our workouts and nutrition, let’s live a little”.

Another ugly scenario happens when she may turn on you for your results.  If she isn’t sticking to it as well as you are, (because, let’s face it, it’s mostly YOUR goal anyway.  She just wants to go out on Friday night again!) then her success will be much lower than your’s and the tension begins.

It can get ugly. And I see it happen all too often unfortunately.

Let me save you some time and energy and tell you to just get up and get to meeting some new, like-minded people.  These will be outside of your immediate circle and although it  may seem a bit uncomfortable or scary at first, it will do more for you than your basic plans.  They are already doing what you want to do.  They are living the lifestyle you dream about.  How easy for you to follow along?
How can you do that?

Here are some tips:

– Ask around at your gym.
Tell the people that work at the gym (trainers, front desk staff, managers, etc) that  you’re seeking someone to workout with and see if they know of anyone looking for a workout partner.   They will know all that is currently going on in the gym anyway 🙂

– Ask co-workers that you admire about their fitness lifestyle.
They may love the opportunity to workout with someone or they may have a friend who would love a workout partner.

– Ask a relative that maybe you’re not as close to at the moment but is living the lifestyle you seek to achieve.

– Take a weekly dance or group exercise class
Many gyms now offer really fun fitness-related dance classes. You’re likely to meet all sorts of like minded people in fitness that you can potentially bond with.

– Hire a personal trainer.
Expensive? Yes. But if you’re really needing a support system sometimes they can be a great motivator.

The other thing to consider when choosing a diet and exercise partner outside your immediate circle of influencers is the backlash if you say “no” to any of those in your circle.

What if someone in your circle of influencers says that they want to join you in this new journey; but you know in your heart of hearts that they won’t be a good motivator and partner for you?

What do you do?

If you’re really close to that person and can be honest, then your best bet is to tell them the truth. Let them know that you are looking for someone who is already on the path you are looking to follow; and that their level of motivation and commitment are leaps and bounds ahead.

This is never an easy conversation to have but it may be a necessary one.

When it comes down to it you have to remember this is all about YOU.  Nobody else can carry you to your goals.  It’s YOU who is ultimately responsible so suck it up and make the hard and proper choices.

It’s YOUR body, it’s YOUR life, and it’s YOU who will succeed or fail based on the choices you make.

You are the sum of the five closest people you surround yourself with.  And, you are where you are, right this moment in time because of the choices and steps you’ve taken up to this point.

Make the change; or stay the same.

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