Whether we are ready to change careers, decide to travel the world, or start working out to get healthy or in the best shape of our lives, we know that it helps to have a support group to change our habits or achieve a goal.
My friends and family encouraged me to start a career in personal training after I left the biotech industry. Their support and little kicks in the butt were exactly what I needed in those moments of self doubt about my new direction.
However, this support didn’t happen overnight. Some of the same people who gave me the confidence to follow my new career path were the ones who years earlier, when I started body building and paying attention to what I ate, tried to sway me back into old habits with a glass of wine or a delicious cookie. Comments like, “ Come on, you can afford that cookie” or “Live a little, have a shot with us” were common during social events.
The hard truth is that people might not understand how to deal once it hits home that you are actually changing. It was frustrating to not receive support and it made me feel like an outcast at times. I know that was never anyone’s intention, but it sure could feel lonely. Judging by the stories my clients share every day, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced it, too.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL A LACK OF SUPPORT IN A CHOICE THAT IS CLEARLY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
1. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
The best way to combat the naysayers is confidence. Keep your eye on the prize - set achievable goals and celebrate victories. Progress and motivation make it easier to tune out distractions.
2. GET SOCIAL!
Step outside of your comfort zone. Introduce yourself to someone at the gym and ask about their favorite workout. We all need support, have moments of doubt, and need time for real talk and a motivation boost with someone who gets what we’re working toward. If you need to work up the confidence, start online. You have instant access to millions of inspiring like-minded people around the world through Instagram and other social media. Post, interact and share your story!
3. START THE CONVERSATION!
Straight up ask your want-to-be sabotagers why they’re not supporting you. Are they thinking about the time that they tried and failed? Bummed that you won’t hang out anymore if you met for french fries and wine every Thursday? Find out where the bad vibes are coming from and there’s a greater chance that you’ll win an ally. They might even want to join you for your next workout.
4. LEAD BY EXAMPLE!
Actions speak louder than words so stay true to yourself and get shit done. The people that matter will come around when they realize that you’re serious and committed to changing your life.
5. LET IT GO!
You can’t please everyone so please yourself first. Approval from anyone else isn’t a requirement for your success, so hold fast and know your worth. They’re going to ask you for advice when you’re feeling fit, confident and proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Today, I am stronger and happier than I’ve ever been. I believe in myself, and I am surrounded by wonderful people who support my efforts and lifestyle. I still deal with the occasional naysayer or comments like: “You’re not getting any bigger/ stronger, are you?” But it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as it used to because this lifestyle is what I love and no one can take that away from me.
Tune out people who make you feel crappy or insecure while you are building your new support system. Believe in yourself and find a gang that has your back and reminds you to ignore the haters and focus on your goals. Don’t let anyone tell you what your body should look like, what you should eat, or decide what is best for you. YOU shape your body the way that makes you feel beautiful.