If it hasn’t happened already, you’re slowly but surely becoming just like the people you spend the most time with. This can be either good or bad. So be VERY careful what kind of company you keep! In today’s lesson we’re going to focus on the power of our relationships and how they can have either a negative or positive influence on our health and fitness goals.
The majority of people have no idea how much of their current behavior has developed as a result of modeling the people they spend the majority of their time with.
“We are all being influenced by someone. Since this influence will determine, to some extent, the direction of our lives, it is far better to deliberately choose the people we will permit to influence us than to allow the power of the wrong influence to weave its effect on us without our knowledge or conscious choice.” — Jim Rohn
The little nudges and small temptations we receive from friends, family, and co-workers can do a lot of damage because their influence is often subtle and the effects are gradual. Just like the calories we eat and the pounds we gain, they add up over time and you don’t notice them or appreciate their impact.
However, once you become aware of which people in your life are positive influences and which are negative and start to make some changes, that can be the beginning of a life tranformation.
The first step is to take an inventory of all the people in your life. Think about if their influence is helping you move TOWARD your goals or AWAY from them.
In his book, Body Fat Solution, Tom Venuto says you’ll be able to place all the people in your life into one of two categories: TURKEYS or EAGLES.
Going through this process might shed some light on who you need to spend more time with.
TURKEYS include the following:
- The pessimist: Finds the negative side of everything.
- The complainer: Always whining about something.
- The critic: Is an expert at what you’re doing wrong, even though he/she has no personal experience.
- The hedonist: Is jolly, fun-loving and lives by the motto “Life is too short, live a little!” Ironically, the hedonist’s life IS often short.
- The temptress: Is always dangling an indulgent lure in front of your face and daring you to take it.
- The dream destroyer: The one who hears about what you’re doing and immediately shoots down your plans. These people are dangerous.
- The saboteur: They attack, ridicule, belittle and undermine your efforts. These are the worst people to allow in your life because unlike a pessimist or complainer, they are deliberately malicious. Their goal is to knock you down and gain pleasure watching you fall.
On the other side you have the EAGLES:
- The optimist: Sees the bright side of everything and radiates positive energy.
- The complimenter: Looks for the good in you and goes out of his/her way to tell you about it.
- The cheerleader: Pumps you up, encourages you, motivates you and are pillars of emotional support even though they might not go out of their way to give tangible support.
- The accountability partner: This is who you answer to and if you say you’re going to do it, he/she will hold you to it.
- The coach: Helps you see your potential and brings out the best in you. Provides honest feedback and constructive criticism. Quick to praise you when you’re doing well and quick to correct you when you veer off course.
- The emotional supporter: The friend who’s always there to comfort you and bolster your confidence in times of doubt.
- The dreamers: The builders, creators, and biggest of thinkers. Their goals and ambitions are SO high that even the optimists will doubt them.
So, how does your circle of influence measure up?
Of course, the object is to spend less time with the TURKEYS if possible. But you can’t completely avoid or quickly remove certain people from your life. But understanding how their actions can influence your behavior and habits is something that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you’re looking to make big changes that will last a lifetime.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is reduce your exposure to them and place a VERY high value on your time. Do anything it takes to share most of your time with positive people.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely eliminate all negativity from your life. You will have to learn how to to develop an immunity from criticism and never let other people steal your energy. But those people in your life who are downright malicious must be pruned from your life just like weeds in a garden.
The relationships that can be the most difficult to manage are those of your drinking buddies. Of course, an occasional drink may do little harm, but a constant routine of alcohol and late nights never got anyone healthier, leaner, or more successful.
If it’s difficult for you to find support within your immediate circle of friends and family it’s time to expand your network. Even if your friends and family are able to give you the amount of emotional support you need, they may be your worst source of how-to advice. Luckily, there are many online communities like Team Beachbody that can fill-in any gaps you might have.
In fact, a study at Brown University that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that the Internet is a good way to deliver structured behavioral weight-loss programs. Lead researcher Deboral Tate, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior, reported on the results.
“Logging on more frequently was associated with better weight loss. It’s especially important to look for new methods to help people with weight loss given that more than 64% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. There are a lot of people who do not choose to attend face-to-face programs for any number of reasons, from embarassmet to schedule constraints. The Internet provides people with an alternative.”
You can also invite more positive people and energy into your life through books, audios, websites, and videos. Listen to a few minutes of a personal development book or video and make your environment more positive by placing motivating quotes, posters, or photos where you will see them often.
If you think about it, so many people waste enormous amounts of time watching negative TV shows, reading trash, and surfing useless websites. Of course “entertainment” is in the eye of the beholder but you have the choice to use quality media to bring more positive energy into your life.
“You will be the same person in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie Jones
So now what?
Building your own support network may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be complicated! In fact, Tom Venuto, who is also one of my success mentors, created an acronym to make the whole process easier to follow and implement. I encourage you to use his R.E.A.C.H. formula to reach out of your comfort zone and seek the the kind of support you need.
Reach out to others. Don’t wait for people to come to you. If you want support, ask for it. When the student is ready, the student must seek the teacher, not the other way around.
Your friends and family are not mind readers. You have to communicate (in person!). Don’t just ask for help, tell others how specifically they can help you and what type of support you need.
Removing people from your life is a difficult decision, so never take it lightly. But if it comes to this point, remember that you’re not losing friends, you’re losing the people who really never were your friends to begin with.
Once you’ve reached out to others and expressed your feelings and needs to them, the relationship is just the beginning. Relationships die on the vine if they’re not nurtured.
A true social support system or mastermind group is a circle of receiving and giving. When someone gives you support, you need to give something back to them, or PAY IT FORWARD TO SOMEONE ELSE.
(This social support system is exactly what inspired the founders of Beachbody to create the Team Beachbody online community and coaching network!)
Because of our unique personalities all of us are going to need a little something different. Is it information, accountability, comfort, or a pat on the back? Or maybe just a swift kick in the butt?
One of the worst things you can do is fall into a vicious cycle of isolation. Support may be the ONE thing you need the most and the only thing missing in your health and fitness strategy.
You’ll attract people to you based on the type of energy you put out, whether it’s positive or negative. If you think positive thoughts, speak positive words, and take positive actions, you’ll attract more positive people into your life. It’s that simple.
But don’t sit and wait for support to come to you.
Go out and get it.
So do the TURKEYS and EAGLES remind you of anyone in your immediate circle of friends or family? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below! Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. 🙂
P.S. If we’re not friends on Facebook yet what are you waiting for? Send me a friend request and be sure to introduce yourself via private message so I know you’re not a random stranger!