Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and we're officially into the holiday season. For me, as for many Americans, the next 4 weeks will be filled with food, drinks (many, many drinks), family and friends. Many of you will try to be mindful of what you eat and drink; others will go completely off the rails during the month of December. Some of you will get in a good workout at least 3 days a week; some of you don't even plan to drive by the gym until January 1st. But the one thing that most of you don't consider when trying to begin or maintain a significant lifestyle change is the support system (or lack thereof) that surrounds you. It definitely wasn't something that I thought about when I started my own fitness journey almost 2 years ago. In my mind, the only things I needed to be successful were healthy foods, a personal trainer and LOTS of willpower. I never thought that my circle of friends may need to shift a little for me to achieve sustainable lifestyle change. Thankfully, when I joined Cathy Savage Fitness, I became part of an ready-made network of women who shared similar struggles and goals...women who were just like me. However, not everyone is as fortunate. So what should you do??
CREATE YOUR OWN NETWORK
1. Evaluate your current circle: Who has encouraging words for you when they've noticed you've dropped a few pounds? Who tells you "you're getting to skinny...you need to eat something!"?? Take note of those people who tend to lift you up and encourage you to be at your best.
2. Kick the Negative Nellies to the curb: Ok, this may seem a bit harsh, especially if the most negative people are the ones closest to you (parent, child, spouse), which is often the case. However, it doesn't matter who they are, if they don't have anything positive to say about anything you do, it's probably a good time to have a very honest conversation with these loved ones. Let them know that you would appreciate their support, but if they can't give it, you will continue to pursue your goals anyway. In extreme cases, you may have to give some people a first-class, one-way ticket OUT of your life. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people: Once you've cleared some space, it's time to start building a network of positive, goal-oriented people. This is not as difficult as you may think. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter make it super easy to find individuals and groups of people who are trying to improve their own lives and who like to see other people succeed. My Facebook page is a great place to start!
Once you've established your network, make sure you tap into it as much as you need to. Here are a few ways that I like to use my network:
- Everyday, either through Facebook or email, I connect with one of my "sisters in fitness" to get a little motivation or inspiration.
- Every Sunday, I have a standing 9:30AM workout appointment with my former eating partner. Instead of gorging ourselves on Sunday brunch we get in a good sweat session to get the day started.
- My friends, family and even strangers like to ask questions and share their fitness struggles and journeys with me. Being an inspiration and a source of information for other people definitely helps me stay focused on my goals.
I like to think of a good supportive network as Spanx for your life...it helps you to keep it all together.
So, who's supporting you? Do you have someone you can call to help you avoid emotional eating during a stressful time? How about a friend who will join you for a relaxing day at the spa when you need to re-charge? If you don't have a network in place, now is the time to get one.
I hope you'll stop by every week for more great information and inspirational posts to help get you through the crazy holiday season.