Life Coaching Blog Series The Power of Community
“A healthy relationship doesn’t drag you down. It inspires you to be better.” -Mandy Hale
The Power of Community
No one wants to feel alone in life. This is especially true when undertaking something as daunting as making a lifestyle change. The pull of the patterns of the people who surround you has it’s own type of gravity. Studies show that people who have obese friends are 57% more likely to be obese themselves. The same is true for smokers, and also, luckily, for exercisers. It turns out that surrounding yourself with people who are living a healthy lifestyle can help you maintain any good habits you are hoping to put into place in your own life. I’ve seen this in the groups that I lead. Often participants say that they didn’t feel like coming to a workout, but they felt a sense of obligation to the group, so they came. You see it in the teams of the tv show ‘the biggest loser’, there is peer pressure(support) to give your best effort for the sake of the team.
In our day to day lives, we, thankfully, don’t have tv cameras surrounding us and trainers screaming at us to push harder. We are for the most part, left to our own devices to dig deep, to find our own reasons for wanting to have optimum health. We can, however, utilize the power of the group to help us on our path. It does take effort on the front end to find or create groups that want to move together on creating better health, but the payoff can be exponential.
Finding your Health Community:
Invite your friends and family to join you:
You don’t have to ditch your friends and family to find better health. Chances are, if you are wanting to have more energy, lose weight, sleep better, or quit smoking, there are people in your life who feel the same way. Start talking about these important topics. It may feel awkward at first, but by changing the conversation, you’ll seek out the support and collaboration of people you already know.
Look for new groups:
Then again, you might not find exactly the type of support you need in your current group of friends and family. In this case, you’ll need to look outside of your sphere.
- If you belong to a gym, start going to classes and come a little early, and stay a little late to connect with other participants who most likely have similar values.
- Look to social media. Most likely there are walking groups, cycling groups and healthy eating groups that you can connect with virtually and in person.
- Invite a few friends or acquaintances who seem game to meet for a walk instead of lunch or cocktails. You will all feel better for it, and it springboard a weekly walking group.
- Start your own group if you don’t find what you are looking for. Post signs at local venues, or start your own facebook page.
The Bottom Line:
Be proactive in creating a web of support for the changes you are making in your lifestyle. This support becomes invaluable when you stumble, and make the difference between getting back on track, and throwing in the towel and returning to old, unhealthy habits. Enjoy the journey, and find those who will laugh, cry and cheer with you on your path.