Take a moment as you read this to stop and have a look around you. Go on, have a peek… I’ll wait.
So, who are you surrounded by? Maybe you’re at the office, or sat at home. Wherever you are, notice the people around you. Are they people you regularly hang out with? Is this a place you come to a lot? What does this place and the people around you say about you, particularly when it comes to your health?
If its one thing I have noticed time and time again with my Health Coaching clients it is this…
The QUALITY of your ENVIRONMENT has the greatest say on whether you are successful or not.
‘Who’ and ‘what’ you surround yourself with can either keep you stuck or propel you forwards.
We have all heard the “don’t have unhealthy food in the house” rule and its something that is simply overlooked by most people, but it works. Not being around crappy food lessens the temptation to indulge simply by not having it around! … But you knew that already right? Maybe we can learn from this approach to food when it comes to the people we hang with.
Who are the PEOPLE you spend most time with everyday, your best friends, your family? What behaviours and habits do they engage in that have an influence on you?
Understand this… All the willpower in the world will not help you if your surrounding influences are miss-aligned to your goals. You will be swimming against the tide, always ‘trying’ to make the right decision but always failing because those around you do not share your intention for you to be healthy. Why should they? They simply want to catch up with you & have a glass of wine with their friend. They aren’t concerned with your health goals, whatever they might be.
Lets call these people around you that are not aligned with your interests your ‘negative influencers’ when it comes to health. In essence and in brutal honesty, they don’t care about your health as much as you do, so its up to you to take control. Sometimes you must make tough decisions or else never evolve into the healthier version of yourself. If that means telling a friend you can’t have that drink with them tonight as you strive to install healthy habits, then so be it. A true friend will always understand, but you must speak up.
And what of the people whom you seem to have to put up with? The unhealthy co-workers that sit around you or the people that you ‘do lunch’ with. What about your family?
Well the first step is clearly identifying them. I was once told a problem well stated is a problem half solved. Once you become aware of your negative influencers you will start to see patterns within yourself and specific situations that perhaps you would like to change. This makes all the difference. You should start to see that you do indeed have a choice of who to be around and where to go. You become conscious of more opportunities to make healthy choices.
Once you clearly identify where you have been letting yourself and your goals down then its time to make some decisions.
Here are the options as I see them…
1- Accept nothing will ever change and do nothing (stay unhealthy and stay struggling)
2- Continue to fight against the habits you want to change (hint: you can only do this for so long, your willpower will fade out)
3- Attempt to change them before you change yourself (good luck with that one!)
4- Don’t be around them if you know it will negatively influence you and you don’t feel strong enough yet.
5- Accept their behavior has an affect on you and attempt to put boundaries in place. Chat with them, tell them how you feel so that they at least understand your situation. Stay connected to the reasons WHY you want to improve your health and continue working on yourself in the knowledge that by being the example (to them) you will more positively be able to help others make better decisions in their life, therefore positively influencing your environment in the best possible way.
I’m sure you have worked out that there are only two real options that will get lasting results and thats numbers 4 & 5.
Both equally effective. Both equally challenging. Both totally worth it.
I wish you all the best and hope you find a way to set the game up to win by shaping your environment in your favour. Remember you have to be the change you want to see in others and then you can take control of your surroundings to make positive change for you and for others around you.
Yours in health,
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