Day 18. Support Team
Why You Need a Support Team
Changing our well-ingrained habits takes time and hard work. When we think about creating a healthier lifestyle, we often think most about eating right and exercising. We might underestimate the importance of social support, but it’s more crucial than you might guess.
A Support Team is a group of people who are aware of what healthy lifestyle changes you’re making and are committed to supporting you through the process. Your team can consist of almost anyone, especially in your GetFit21 group. Other support individuals could be your significant other, a close family member, friend, or coworker.
The most important type of support comes from those you live with and spend the most time with. It is critical that you discuss your goals and planned lifestyle change with your significant other, spouse, and family, and ask for their unwavering support. Children should also be includ- ed in this lifestyle change. By promoting a healthy lifestyle through your example, you will help your children create habits that will serve them for the rest of their life.
Sharing your planned lifestyle changes and motivation with each member of your Support Team is essential. It will increase your chances of making these healthy lifestyle changes and maintaining them long-term. The resulting support from loved ones, as well as an added measure of accountability, are imperative when making a permanent lifestyle change.
Examples of Support
1. Accountability: Share your planned lifestyle changes, as well as your long-term goals and motivations, with everyone you consider a part of your Support Team. It is important that your Support Team members understand your deepest motivations for change and what you want to achieve. This will help them understand where you’re coming from and the changes they will see. Because you will be around some of these people often, you will likely feel an added measure of accountability as you make small, day-to-day decisions. If you truly desire permanent change, welcome this extra accountability.
You might choose a friend or two to be your accountability partners. You might start an “accountability text”; at the beginning of the day, you might let them know a goal or two that you want to be accountable for that day. Later on in the day, you will report back and let them know how you did. If desired, you can return the favor and help them with their goals as well.
2. Encouragement: We all need encouragement when it comes to changing our habits. When your Support Team members know your goals, they can encourage you in various ways as they see you making progress. If there are certain types of comments that are more helpful or others that are not helpful, make sure to let your Support Team know.
3. Positivity: Effective support is positive. If someone does say something negative, you can say, “I really appreciate your support. It actually would help me most to hear something like ____.”
Forms of Support
1. Emotional support: Most of us need someone to talk to on a hard day. For example, maybe you “mess up” one day and make a choice you regret. You should have a chosen friend you talk to in these situations who helps you realize that it wasn’t the end of the world. You should talk through the event with them and discuss what you will do differently when a similar situation arises in the future.
2. Nutritional support. If your spouse or partner does any of the grocery shopping or food preparation, they should know how you want to eat. You might have a friend who has healthy eating habits who can share recipes with you. You might ask your family to stop buying or buy less of foods that are temptations for you. When you go out to eat with friends, they should be aware of your goals and choose a restaurant where you can make a healthy choice.
3. Exercise support. This could come in many forms. You might ask someone to watch your kids while you exercise. You might ask a friend to be your exercise partner, because if you struggle to exercise, it can help to have a commitment to someone else to show up. Working with an experienced personal trainer is another possibility.
4. Inspiration. You might pick a friend who has gone through their own lifestyle change to be healthier who you can talk to for inspiration and motivation to keep going.
To make the most of your Support Team:
• Stay in touch with them frequently for encouragement and accountability.
• Always be honest. Making a lifestyle change to improve your health isn’t easy, and your friends and family will understand that. If they know what you’re struggling with, they can better help you.
• You might want to tell your Support Team how to react or what to say in certain situations (especially situations where you’re struggling). When it comes to that situation, you might not love hearing it, but they can remind you, “This is what you asked me to say in this situation.” When you give them permission and direction in advance, they know exactly how to react and can be a better support to you.
• Give and take. As your loved ones are helping you with your goals, offer to support them in similar ways with their personal goals if they’d like.
• Learn who works best for each role. Perhaps your exercise partner gets a new job and your schedules don’t match up anymore.
You will be amazed at how crucial your Support Team is when it comes to creating your healthy new lifestyle! Do not underestimate the power you glean from surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people. Making lifestyle changes can be difficult, and you want to be with people who are going to give you the very best chance of success.