Creating an environment for success… No matter the fitness goal you’re after if you’re going to need to make lifestyle changes in order to succeed. Eating the right things and exercising are difficult for most people, they are especially difficult when you begin. You start not knowing what to do, what to eat, when to take a day off among a million other variables in your life. There are many routes you can take to gain knowledge, accountability and make some parts easier. Arguably the most difficult part of making a positive healthy lifestyle change is actually overcoming a poor support system.
A support system is incredibly important to success in any endeavor. A great support system will help you succeed even when you’re ready to give up on yourself. I’ve been there, believe me! So where do we need to build our support system, what makes a good support system, how do we build it?
We need to build support structure where ever we are…
When creating an environment for success it’s important to know where we spend our time. The majority of people in this world spend their time in 3 places: home, work/school, a third place. You spend the most time either at work or home you should have the greatest amount of support in this place.
Home- The people at this place generally have your interests in mind and should be supportive of your goals. The key is to communicate to those in your home what your goals are. MORE IMPORTANTLY THOUGH communicating what you want them to DO and NOT do to help you. These specific instructions will help them know how to help you, they are on your team… you just need to unleash their help! If your home support system goes against your instructions that is a different conversation.
Work- you probably spend 8+ hours a day with these people. Some are interested in your success some may care less. But those you interact with all day have a lot of influence over your actions… communicate to them too! If you always go out to lunch with Betty Sue… she has the potential to help or hurt your fitness goals a TON. Get her on the same page as you!
Your third place… it may be friends or an activity. The common theme among fitness success is this group of friends or activity is a positive on building health at the very least it is not negative. An awesome gym that is fun and has lots of your friends there is a great 3rd place. A bar where you go everyday and get drunk… is not a positive third place. If you sleep for 8 hours, spend 8 hours at work, hang out with your family for 5 hours and spend 2 hours at your 3rd place and 1 hour doing something else, then we’ve got 23/24 hours accounted for everyday. Let’s set those support systems up to accomplish our health and fitness goals!
What does good support look like…
All of these scenarios are ranked based on your having communicated your health and fitness goals to your support team first. An invite to the ice cream shop is not a friend intentionally going against your goals if they don’t know your goals… HELP YOUR SUPPORT TEAM OUT AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DO! OK on to some examples…
- Great: “Honey, I know you’re working hard to lose the weight. Instead of ordering pizza like normal I made a cauliflower pizza for you!” or “I picked up salad for us instead”
- Good: “I ordered you a salad” but your spouse still got pizza.
- Bad: “Here have a slice”, “come on have a slice”, “come on… I can’t eat this all alone”
- Great: “Let’s pack lunches this week”
- Good: “You told me you were changing of nutrition… don’t order the cheeseburger get the salad”
- OK: no comment good or bad
- Bad: “Your healthy lunch is making me feel unhealthy”, “come on let’s go get KFC”
The Third Place
- Great: “Let’s go for a hike”
- Good: “Sure, I’ll go for a run with you”
- OK: “Enjoy your bike ride”
- Bad: “Let’s go drink”, “You’re not going to get ice cream with us?”
How to we cultivate an awesome support team?
- Start with defining your goals
- Figure out what you need your support team to do and not do for you.
- Share those goals and needs with your support team
- Pay attention to what is working and what is not.
- Assess what may need to change, plan for change, implement changes to your plan.
- Inform support team about any changes you hope they can help with.
- Share your progress with your support team (it’ll let them know they’re helping you succeed!)
- Keep learning, the more you know and communicate to your team the easier your success will become.
I personally used the techniques above to quit chewing tobacco… a huge negative habit I developed at a young age. The support I needed…
- Vanessa… expect that I’m not going to be pleasant all the time. When I’m unpleasant be patient with me and remind me that I’m being unpleasant.
- Dad… don’t tell me “you’re stupid” for not having quit yet… I know, I’m trying. Tell me “You can do it, I know it’s hard” you smoked for 22 years for crying out loud, so if anyone knows how hard it is to quit tobacco it’s you.
- Co workers
- Here is my plan when i want one at work:
- I’ll tell you my urge then wait 15 mins
- Next, I’ll say it’s been 15 mins, we’ll go for a walk then wait 15 mins
- After that I’ll have a piece of gum, then wait 15 mins
- Finally, you’ll give me a nicotine lozenge if the urge still exists
- Here is my plan when i want one at work:
- Friends (at baseball and my hunting/fishing buddies)
- I’m quitting.
- offer me chewing tobacco
- Make fun of me for quitting
- Remind me I’m quitting
- Be patient with me
- Offer me gum
- I’m quitting.
There were a lot more steps and people involved and I started with things I could control before asking for help from everyone else but that’s a different article!
Conclusion and Action Items
You’re going to need help changing your lifestyle for good… start with defining your goals. Establish your positive support system, minimize or eliminate negative support factors. Come up with a plan for your biggest obstacles. Find a positive third place. You’ll likely find many holes in your support system. That’s ok! If you’re committed to accomplishing your goals you’ll find the holes and fill them. Then you’ll find new ones and fill those. All along the way accomplishing more than just health and fitness but an inpenetrable system for progressing in life!
Need a positive Third Place?
Join CrossFit Jungle Gym… we know what support and environment you need to have success and we provide it here. You’ll spend time with other who are interested in your success! To get started book a No Sweat Intro.
Everyone deserves to be healthy and to be surrounded by people who care about each others success, we’ve set out to make sure to provide that in our facility. For those far away we wish you the best of luck finding a place just like this!
Owner, CrossFit Jungle Gym