Support is one of the most important, yet also the most overlooked, elements of any change.
When we decide to make a change, whether it be to get healthier, quit smoking, change a habit or whatever, most of us tend to want to go it alone. Usually it’s because we’re a bit embarrassed; changing means there’s something we’re doing that we don’t like about ourselves so asking for support means admitting that there’s an issue and that’s a pretty vulnerable position to be in, don’t you think?
The problem is that habit changes aren’t easy! In fact, they’re downright difficult and for the first month can really suck. The reason for this is simple: changing anything involves a LOT of mental effort. You’re used to doing something (or thinking in a certain way) for so long that you stopped having to think about it but now you’re having to focus on each step. It’s kind of like having to learn to ride a bike all over again. If you’re used to not thinking about what you’re eating 3 times a day for, perhaps, you’re entire life, having to switch and start really paying attention to what you eat, when you eat and perhaps even HOW you eat is going to be hard! This is why you normally stop before you get started; you’ve underestimated what it’s going to take to reach your goal and overestimated your ability to deal with the change. To reach your goal successfully you’ve gotta have a realistic understanding of what you need to do and set yourself up for success and to do that you have to create situations that hold you accountable on a daily or weekly basis and surrounding yourself with the support needed to lift you up when you fall (’cause trust me, you WILL fall – you’re human!) and cheer you on when you’re on the right track. When you try and do it all on your own, you have no one but you to report to and we all know how easy it is to lie to ourselves!
Even as a coach, perhaps even especially as a coach, I also need as much support and accountability as I can because others just assume that I have it all together in the fitness & nutrition department. The truth is, however, I’m not perfect! I know my issues, I struggle still a bit with overeating and I still need someone to make sure that I’m pushing hard in my workouts since I do them on my own. Having someone ask me how hard I lift during my workouts ensures that I’m not letting myself off easily!
So to help me make sure that I’m sticking to my plan I’ve had to build a support team and I’ve done it in three different ways: 1) I told EVERYONE of my goals ’cause the last thing I want to do is have to admit (especially to YOU) that I made a goal and then just didn’t bother with it, 2) I contacted my own coach (yes, I also have a coach!) and asked her to help me stay accountable, and 3) I’m reporting in to my Challenge Group on a daily basis and am honest in my reporting of how my workout that day went and how my eating went. This is, like, über support. Support cubed, if you will. I have given myself three systems of support and accountability so that even if I mess up with one, I still have two more to fall back on.
Now, the sweet spot when it comes to building your support crew is to find people who aren’t just going to go “Yeah, that’s cool… Good luck!” and then turn back to doing what they were doing before you told ’em. You want to find a person or group of people that care, people you know are going to be your biggest cheerleaders but who you know are also going to hold you accountable! You WANT them to challenge you! You want them to kick your butt when you’ve giving them an excuse because then you know you can’t just half-ass it and you’ll reach your goal that much quicker rather than doing it on your own with no one to give a damn whether you do the work or not.
The right support is CRUCIAL to your success. Don’t think for a MINUTE you can do it alone ’cause you probably won’t and besides, it’s more fun when you know there are people who want you to succeed! Don’t have those people in your life? That’s what coaches are for and why I decided to do this for a living, we’ve dedicated our LIVES to supporting you and keeping you accountable to your goals!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net