Let’s face it, it’s hard to stay committed to your health and fitness goals. A support system is so important to help hold you accountable for the commitments you have made to yourself.
Most of us need a little nudging to remember to push past instant gratification in favor of our long term goals. We already know that diets and extreme schedules don’t work (in the long run or even in the short run). So when you are making behavior modifications that lead to long term, sustained and maintained results, it takes time and you’ll need some help.
What is tricky here is that we usually don’t receive the kind of support we need from family and friends. It often ends up with feeling frustrated, getting angry, guilt tripping and feeling unloved.
I’ve been on the receiving end of some very harsh, annoying and belittling “support” from my family and friends ie: “Happy 21st Birthday Neha! Don’t eat cake or you’ll get fat!” Even though it could be coming from a good place, it’s not helping you.
Here are 5 tips for how to ask for and get the type of support you need.
1. Define for yourself the specific reasons you want to make that shift in your behavior. Why is it important to you and how does it impact more than one aspect of your life?
Example: I want to practice yoga regularly. I’ve had such an intense aversion to it but I have found that yoga is extremely beneficial to me for the following reasons: reduces my anxiety and stress significantly which allows me to feel happier, improves my flexibility which has been a big goal of mine, it makes me feel very energized and I carry that energy with me throughout the work week. No matter how much I don’t want to be on the mat at the beginning, I am always so thankful I made it through the class and relish feeling ‘yoga stoned.’
2. Identify the right person for the job. You make think the obvious answer is your husband, boyfriend, sister, mother… but first reflect on how they give feedback or support, do you like it? Is it well received?
Example: One of my sisters, is extremely persistent and if I tell her my specific goals she will nag me until I curse. I feel like my SO is the right person for the job, he understand how to nudge me without being overbearing. Hired.
3. After identifying and assigning the task to the right person tell them why you have chosen them and what exactly your behavior modification goals are. It’s not enough to just say I made a commitment to do yoga 3x a week. Explain to them all the positive effects your behavior change has in your life. This will help them better support you by reminding you of the bigger goals when you just don’t want to get out of bed.
Example: Wow, I’ve noticed yoga is really helping me reduce anxiety, improve flexibility and make feel just so good overall whenever I do it. I think it’s really important for me to keep doing it every week.
4. Reach out to your support buddy. Maybe you just need some extra push to get up, put your running shoes on and go for a jog. Or maybe you need some inspiration for a new protein shake recipe. Text them, call them, Snapchat them, FB message them whatever is- use your resource.
Example: My supporter will ask me what my weekend plans are. If I say I’m going to yoga, he’ll usually call or text me to see if I’m awake and headed to class. It definitely helps.
5. It’s important that you give your supporter the authority to give you that little nudge you need. This is a delicate balance between setting boundaries and allowing them to hold you accountable. Make sure they don’t step out of bounds (asking you questions or pushing you to do things unrelated to your goal) and make sure you allow them to push you a little.
Some other ideas to keep yourself on the right track to reach your goals:
- Make it competitive. Find a friend that has a goal they are working on (it doesn’t have to be the same as you). Start a Google Doc excel sheet to track your progress. Set the notifications to every time a user makes a change to the sheet. Seeing those emails will surely motivate you to stay on track!
- Hire a wellness consultant to help you define your goals, figure out a personalized strategy and stay on track!
Have a tip that has worked for you? Share it with me in the comments section!