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Changing your lifestyle to pursue new goals is hard. It’s not just a physical game; it’s mental too.  And one factor that consistently blocks the win is thinking of it as an individual game and not a team sport. 

Research proves that people who have a strong support system are more likely to reach their goals and sustain change.

That same research shows that the failure rate for folks on a weight loss program is significantly higher when friends and family actively undermine efforts to exercise and eat better. This means it’s time to take action and really investigate who’s for you and who’s against you.

So who’s on your team in the race to good health?

Make a list of who is in your corner and who, among your friends and family, is just a little less than supportive. Love sometimes blinds us to those negative influences, but the behaviors are easy to recognize. 

You’ve got your Food Pushers, Excuse Makers, and Good Time Gang all challenging your will to make healthy changes. And that pressure works. If you want to make this run at living your best life the race you win, you’ll need to enlist the help of your cheerleaders, teammates, and coaches.

Who to Avoid:

  • The Food Pushers: Those are all the people in your life who find out you’re trying to lose weight and cannot stop themselves from encouraging you to eat. They are the first ones to suggest dinner out or a second helping. They offer you foods they know you enjoy but that you are trying to eliminate. They suggest that “one bite won’t hurt you,” all in the name of love. Often food pushers aren’t TRYING to derail your efforts; they just don’t know how to say “I love you,” without a box of chocolates. But all that resisting temptation can really wear down your resolve until you are agreeing to a second serving of mashed potatoes, sampling that homemade cheesecake, or taking a cookie from the tray they are passing just to appease them. Exactly what kind of love is it that knows you are trying to live better but fights to see you fail?
  • The Excuse Makers: Another way love can put you off your game is a constant flood of false praise. There’s your mother telling you, “We love you just the way you are,” or your husband reassuring you that the dress looks as great as it did when you bought it even though you can’t zip it anymore. Though all the soothing sentences like, “Oh my goodness, I think those jeans must have shrunk in the wash,”  are spoken with good intentions, the false praise can keep you from really tackling your goals.  Without meaning to, your loved ones are creating a soft landing for failure. What you need is a cheerleader, not an excuse maker.
  • The Good Time Gang: Those are the friends and family that can’t resist a party. You are included in every food-centric outing and every calorie-laden gathering because they just LOVE you. And those same folks will never let your glass run dry so in addition to loading you up with sinful snacks, you’ll wind up with a bottomless wine glass to boot.  5oz what? There is no doubt about it, the party crew is hard on a weight loss or performance plan. Check your social media if you need a gut check on who these friends are. 🙂 

Who to Look for Instead:

  • The Cheerleaders: These are the folks that back your efforts, believe in your resolve, and want you to win. They are the first people to stop asking you if you want to go out for cake and coffee and start suggesting a walk in the park. They notice the changes you are adopting and they encourage you to keep going. These are the folks that make you feel like you can really do it this time.  Surround yourself with these wonderful people. Their positive energy and faith in you is a game changer.
  • The Teammates:  You do not have to do this alone! Look for other people—friends, family, colleagues, and support groups—who are embarking on the same journey. Teammates help propel you toward the finish line. They understand the struggle. They are ready to celebrate your successes and push you to keep going when you feel like you’re ready to drop out of the race. Teammates can be the difference between success and failure.
  • The Coaches: You may know people who have already made the changes you are trying to adopt. Those people can coach you toward a win of your own. Don’t be bashful about asking for help.  And if you need a little extra guidance, consider hiring a professional. Coaches, like teammates and cheerleaders, will encourage you and spur you on to victory but they also have expertise, training, and techniques to help you do it. Whether it’s a Life Coach, a Wellness Coach, or a Fitness Coach, an expert can sometimes help you see your strengths and weaknesses in a whole new light. They can help you put together a serious game plan that could be the difference between giving it a shot and killing the game.

Guess what? You can find cheerleaders, teammates and coaches inside our Facebook group. Click to join now!

I’m not going to pretend this is easy. Losing weight and getting healthy is hard. It takes drive and strength and commitment to win the health and happiness you deserve. But you don’t have to do it alone, and you don’t have to make it harder than it needs to be.

You know all those people I just talked about who love you but are keeping you from focusing on your goals? Hug them. Thank them. And stop letting them choose how you play your game. You may not be able to avoid them completely, but realize the impact they are having on you and consider setting some ground rules for yourself, while you work to build momentum and confidence in your new lifestyle.

Also, here’s a secret. When people see you’re making progress, instead of derailing you, they are going ask what you’re doing to look and feel so amazing.

Each of us must make a choice to be healthy and then we have to have the courage to do whatever it takes to reach our goals. I’m here for you. I believe in you. Now let’s go out and get it!

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