If you are what you eat, what role do the people around you play? A big one! There are a number of steps we can take to help ensure that we will be successful with our personal health and fitness goals. Writing down our goals, declaring them publicly, breaking them into smaller, achievable pieces, and creating affirmations all help to achieve success. There’s another BIG aspect to reaching goals that usually surprises my clients. That’s taking a ‘social inventory’ aka, drafting your wellness team.
Whenever you set a new goal for yourself, it is beneficial to take an honest assessment of the people in your life. Who will be able to support you in your new dream? Who may ‘sabotage’ you on this new venture by challenging your new goals and measures to attaining change? These people may not actually want you to fail, but some people can be less supportive than others, and some may not understand or appreciate your personal goals.
Unfortunately, everyone in your life may not seem totally thrilled when you decide to make healthy life changes. Food and family are closely connected, which can sometimes be tough (think: the husband who dives into a gallon of ice cream every night, this month’s family birthday party, or your girlfriends at the weekly girls wine night out.) Food is central in most social gatherings. If you decide you are going to stop drinking wine every night, or not eat red meat anymore, give up ice cream, or be out of the house three evenings a week exercising, these commitments will most likely affect some important people around you. To help ensure success, I ask my clients to identify a hero, cheerleader, trainer, confidant, optimist, and accountability partner for their journey.
The HERO is the person we aspire to be like, your This person has already achieved the goal you have now set for yourself. This person may be in your social circle, but they don’t have to be. It may be someone you admire from afar. Study the behaviors of this person. What qualities does this person have that has contributed to them achieving your goal? Copy those behaviors! Imitation is ok – if it works, it works!
The CHEERLEADER is the person who wants your goal to happen for you just as much as you do! They want the best for you, as should you! Choose this person carefully. It may be best if your cheerleader is someone who understands the journey and may have been successful at it themselves. Or, it may be someone who has simply always supported you in your life and you know you can depend on their encouragement.
The TRAINER is the person who has the knowledge to guide you in this goal. This can be a book, life coach, personal trainer, nutritionist, teacher etc. It will be the person/resource you rely on for answers and direction.
The CONFIDANT is the person you can tell about your goal. You can go to them in your most vulnerable moments. This person is an open, non-judgmental listener. They will keep your secrets. You can share your worst fears and the truth about a tough day. You can share the emotional highs and lows of the journey. Your confidant supports you in a meaningful way that enhances your spiritual wellness on this journey.
The OPTIMIST is the person we know who has a magical way of seeing the good in everything and anyone. This person does not even need to know you have set this important goal. Their positive electric energy is uplifting. These people have a powerful way of reminding us that positivity attracts positivity and negativity attracts negativity. Setting a new goal for yourself is also a great time to consciously try to move away from negativity in your life as much as possible.
The ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER is the person that will kick your butt out the door on the morning you feel like sleeping in. This person could be the dedicated, fun person that spins every morning on the bike next to you. Get to know them. People in class notice when someone is missing! It may be another friend you have that has a similar goal. This person WILL NOT let you make excuses for falling off your plan…just the thought of them knowing you traded in your afternoon workout for a slice of chocolate cake makes you shudder!
So, make a goal, take a social inventory, and start drafting your wellness team! One person in your life may fit two of these roles; however, having a team of at least three different people is important for lots of support. The more people on your team, the better the support system you will have! Develop a consciousness about the role of the people in your life and how they may support your dreams. Good luck and good company!
One Healthy Breakdown: you’re not in it alone, take Norah’s advise and draft your team today – the stronger the better!
*Norah Benincasa is the owner of Pedal and Pose Fitness Studio in Concord, MA. She is a certified personal trainer, spin instructor, TRX trainer, Body Pump trainer, nutrition specialist, mom of five, and holds a masters degree in social work!