Close your eyes and think of your good friends. It could be they are long time friends, family, or even co-workers. But these should be people you are around on a regular basis.
Now narrow that group down to five of your very close friends, and think on this; what are some of the things you have in common with them? What are the things you do with them on a regular basis? What is the reason that brought you to be close with these five friends?
These answers may vary, but start to notice a pattern with these friends. There is usually a shared habit, activity, and interest that brought you together with these friends.
Now think about your health and fitness goals. Do any of your friends share these goals? Are you working on these goals with some of them? Do you think they would lift you up or hold you back from achieving these health and fitness goals?
The point I'm trying to make is, if all of your friends like to bowl and you, for some reason, can't bowl any more, would you still be friends? If you suddenly took up race car driving and your friends get car sick, would you stick to race car driving?
The company you keep can make or break your goals. All too often, if you are around those that stay out late and eat out every night, your new habit of waking up early to work out and eat healthy will find you more and more distant from your friend group. These new changes you have implemented in your life may require acquiring friends that also wake up early to work out and eat healthy.
Better yet, if you have friends that share your desire of achieving similar health and fitness goals, joining forces to work together gives you an added accountability partner! We humans are gregarious creatures, so naturally we seek out the support of those around us.
Here are 5 things to think about in regards to your health and fitness goals:
1. Think on your closest friends and how they may react to your lifestyle change. Will they support you? Will they check up on you? Will they join you? If the answer is no, move on to #2!
2. Think on who you see at your fitness sessions. Chances are, you may see some similar faces each time you go. Introduce yourself and see about increasing your friend group!
3. Be open to attending events centered around your health and fitness goals. Maybe your fitness facility is hosting an event or seminar. Maybe there is a social around your town that is fitness related. You may see some of they same faces from your fitness sessions!
4. If you find that your friends or family do not support you in your fitness goals, seek out the guidance of a counselor or therapist on how to process this change. For example, I know a friend that gained weight in college. After meeting a few classmates that were fitness fanatics, she decided to change her lifelong sedentary habits and start going to the gym. Her friend group ostracized her for this change. Her family, with sedentary lifestyles and multiple weight related health issues, not only made fun of her for her change, they continued to question her decision to live a healthy lifestyle. Feeling alone and unsupported can make any decision difficult or near impossible to achieve. Mentally working through this change may require some additional support.
5. Don't look at this as losing friends, think of it as gaining an exciting new friend base! Think on how these changes you are making in your life are not only extending it, setting you up for a happier life, and giving you the gift of lasting health!
So get out of that comfort zone, set some exciting health and fitness goals, and enthusiastically work to achieve them with the help of some (new) friends! The Beatles said it best, "I get by with a little help from my friends!"