What About Your Friends?

When seeking to make a life change, many of us neglect one of the most important components that can set us up for success… or failure: the people with whom we choose to surround ourselves.
Friends and Family Can Be Your Allies
…Or They Can Be Toxic
Let’s look at weight loss as an example.  People who wish to lose weight often find that despite their decision to change,  they are still surrounded by people who may have habits that are less healthy.  Oftentimes, the issues may not even be that the people around you are maliciously attempting to derail your efforts, though that is sometimes the case.  Making a major change may require a level of discipline that others may simply not require in the same areas in their own lives. In understanding that concept, you can actively take steps to plan ahead to improve your likelihood of achieving your self- improvement goals.
Seek Out Likeminded People
In keeping with the weight loss example, there are multiple ways a person who wishes to lose weight can find a supportive network of likeminded people.  The obvious option might be to join a weight loss program or take classes at a gym. Nowadays, many hospitals and community centers offer free classes and events that are aimed at helping members of the community connect and learn about healthy living. Other options include joining a Meetup group in your area or even participating in an online group that focuses on weight loss. There may even be opportunities to connect with others who share similar goals at home and at work. Having lunch with a vegan coworker might be more favorable that tagging along with a group that usually goes for fast food. Joining a recreational league may also provide an opportunity to make new fitness-oriented friends while getting regular exercise.
But What If My Family Isn’t Onboard?
If you live with family members who do not share your goals, you may wish to think strategically about the activities you can still do with them without compromising your progress.  For example, if your family refuses to eat healthy, but you still want to have meals with them, consider preparing a separate meal for yourself, or have your healthy meal prior to joining them. Then limit yourself to having a salad, healthy snack,  or smoothie while with them. In other examples,  a person who wants to control his or her spending may suggest low-cost activities to do with others or decide to stick to a limited cash budget.  Someone who wishes to stop using drugs or alcohol may decide to only meet others in settings in which drugs and alcohol are not allowed or cannot be used openly.  There are also times when an individual must choose his or her own well-being and progress over continuing to socialize with people who do not support the positive lifestyle change.
Overall, deciding to eliminate bad habits and replace them with new ones does not mean living a life full of solitude and restrictions. By always looking for opportunities to meet like-minded people and spend time doing activities that reinforce the positive change,  you will greatly enhance your likelihood of achieving your goals, and you may just find yourself having fun while doing it.