Is there something you want to change about your lifestyle? Something kind of big and meaningful to you, but you feel hesitant or afraid because you know you won’t have the support of your friends or family?
Or even worse, do you feel as if the people closest to you are actually trying to sabotage or undermine your new passion or positive change?
Believe it or not, this is quite common.
Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, lose weight, drink less alcohol, get into fitness, or change careers, there will always be some person or people who will have something negative to say. Know why? It scares them!
Because if you can give up a self-destructive habit that means they can too!
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and author of The Way to Eat says, if you are succeeding at something, even losing weight, it makes them look less successful.
Human nature is tricky and sticky.
So much of how people react is simply out of fear.
Your well meaning friend or family member might not be purposely trying to sabotage your success, but instead might be fearful that if you stop going out and getting drunk with them every weekend that maybe you won’t have as much in common anymore, or you won’t like them the same.
Whatever their reasons are don’t really matter.
The fact is, you are ready to make a change and you can’t get paralyzed by what your current circle will or will not think or do.
Avoid the naysayers and Negative Nellies as much as possible!
If you can’t avoid them, then simply avoid the topic. You don’t need to constantly explain or defend yourself or your choices, assuming they aren’t actually harming anyone, which I’ll assume they aren’t.
Second, and most importantly, you must recognize that you do not need their approval or their support in order to go forward with the lifestyle change you want to make for yourself. After all, it’s for yourself. And, there are other ways you can find the inspiration and the support you need along the way.
Here are some of the ways you can find inspiration and support outside of your immediate circle:
1. Learn more about the subject.
If you immerse yourself in this new idea you have…this new desire, the more likely you’ll be to follow through with it.
Twenty years ago when I decided I wanted to eat healthier and start exercising, I had to look way outside of my circle of family and friends to find inspiration and even just information! So I started by going to my local book store, where I spent hours rummaging the shelves of the health section aisle until I found books that seemed to interest me.
Now of course, you have the luxury of doing that online. And while it’s perfectly fine to read online, it can also be a bit of sensory overload, especially when you’re trying to learn something new. There’s just so much information (most of it conflicting) jumping out at you from everywhere, that it can ultimately distract you from really sinking your teeth into anything.
So, to get started I suggest you find one or two books, written by authors who are experts on the subject you want explore, or by someone who has already achieved the exact goal you want to achieve.
2. Find a muse or mentor.
A muse is defined as a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for an artist. In this situation, YOU are the artist. The muse can be anyone you know, personally or from afar.
When I started getting interested in exercise and nutrition, as silly as it seems my muses were simply other girls on my college campus that I’d never actually met. Instead, I saw them jogging around town or playing volleyball in the quad. Because these girls moved a certain way, and looked a certain way I imagined them to also eat a certain way and live a certain way. I could have been wrong, but it’s what motivated me to keep pursuing my goals – to move, and look, and live healthy like them.
Eventually, as time went on, I did find mentors in health and fitness. A mentor is defined as a trusted and experienced advisor; someone more experienced or more knowledgeable who guides a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.
While mentors are often someone you know personally, they don’t have to be. I’ve had both personal mentors, and others who I’ve followed in books or on video.
The wonderful thing about good mentors is that they continue to teach and guide you just by continuing to live their lives. Each of my mentors (whether I have a personal relationship with them or not), continue to inspire me today – 20, 15, and 10 years later.
3. Actively seek out others who are on the same path, or have the same goal.
With the internet, this is even easier to do than ever! All you need to do is a basic search on Google, Youtube, Facebook, or even Instagram. Whatever lifestyle choice you want to make, I can bet there is a Facebook group for it, Youtube videos on it, and plenty of colorful Instagram profiles to follow.
When I decided to quit smoking 17 years ago (before the popular social media sites we have now), I logged onto my big desktop computer and found an online forum, where you basically went in and typed in questions or comments, how many days smoke-free, how you were feeling, etc., and then others would write back later that day or the next day to encourage you and share their experience.
Considering everyone in my family smoked, as did the most of my friends and my boyfriend at the time, this forum was the only support I could count on. I logged on every day for as long as I needed to. And every day they pulled me through.
Keep in mind, the internet isn’t the only means of finding like minded people. Keep your eyes and ears open at work. Look for social outings that might support your new goal, like a walking group or healthy cooking class.
Once you start getting outside of your circle, you’ll find that there is all kinds of people just waiting to support you.
4. Find your focus.
And your focus is YOU.
Remember, this is about you creating a better life for yourself, by whatever YOU determine that looks like and feels like. No one can live your life for you. And no one can feel your happiness for you. So take a deep breath every morning. Hell, take several deep breaths, and smile while you’re doing it…knowing that you love yourself enough to even pursue this change.
And when you exhale, let go of whatever it is you are letting go of…
You are so worth it.
If you still feel stuck taking that lifestyle leap, email me for a free consultation. I’d love to help guide you in your transition.