Starting and keeping up with a program to improve your fitness and change your body requires the right kind of motivation and attitude.
If you don’t enjoy your current routine, it may be okay to grin and bear it for a few weeks, but for the long run – and for your own mental health! – it’s best to realize your true motivations and keep your training as fun and meaningful as possible.
Each person’s personal motivations will be different, and we all have our own mix of priorities to keep us going.
Aligning your training with these is vital for consistent progress.
That said, there is a universal constant that affects us all regardless of our own personal inclinations and interests, and that is the need for a strong social support system.
You Can’t Escape Social Influence (so make sure you’re using it to your advantage)
Who do you spend the most time with? Family, friends, and co-workers all combine as a constant in our lives and so, whether we realize it or not, they affect everything we do.
Especially when we want to change things up.
Just as we form expectations of the people we see everyday, so they do of us. As the saying goes, humans are social animals.
We naturally seek friendships and relationships to engage with other people for our own sake and for theirs. Those that are estranged from their families still feel a tug toward that most ancient of bonds. Even the most independent of us are still connected to our social relationships and are affected by those who mean the most in our lives.
Changing and transforming ourselves requires motivation, good teaching and consistent hard work.
But even when all of those aspects are dialed in and you’ve turned everything up to 11, you’ll have difficulty moving beyond a certain level if you don’t have a great support system.
Listen to champion athletes, successful entrepreneurs, or anyone accepting an award and if they are at all truthful, they’ll tell you of how vital other people were in their achievements. An encouraging voice calling amid an extraordinarily crappy day can make the difference between falling back and moving forward.
It’s not black and white either, as your friends and family offer both positive and negative effects, and can often switch roles between good and bad – maybe even in the same instant! – depending upon the situation.
That’s simply the nature of human relationships.
What we’re looking at is the overall balance of the people in your social network. Is it on the whole positive or negative? If it veers at all towards the latter, then you’ll need to change things up.
Negativity, especially when it comes from people closest to you, drains you and siphons away energy that could be used towards your goals. Pessimism and naysaying may not wholly deter you from improving, but it makes it that much harder to keep on track and do what you need to do.
“I Can Tell We’re Gonna Be Good Friends…”
We recently had a seminar up in Seattle, and we used that as an opportunity to get the GMB team together for collaboration, planning, and more than a bit of steak and beer.
All of us are usually spread out all over the world, so it was nice to have the opportunity to be in the same room instead of just seeing a talking head on a screen like usual.
Though we all have distinctive personalities and life situations, over time we’ve formed a “work family” that supports and helps each other to fulfill our responsibilities, and to grow as people and as a company.
We’ve said more than once how lucky we were to find each other and that we jelled so well together.
But it’s likely less about “luck” and more a combination of vetting the right people to work with, and a gut instinct about how each one would fit among the others. Sometimes you can make your own luck, and you can certainly make a better environment by filling it with the best people you can find.
Beyond our own little company, from the beginning GMB has always worked on reaching out to like-minded people – not just “good buddies” that offer a commission on their products – who share similar philosophies and outlooks on training and life in general.
It simply makes sense to connect with compatible people, especially those seeking positive change and with values that you support.
Too often, especially in the competitive internet environment, there is an “us vs. them” mentality, as if there were limited resources and opportunities, and you have to push people aside to grab them.
Even if that were true – and it’s not – that’s a sad way to live.
When Ryan and I attended Steve Atlas’ seminar we all spoke about seeking out teachers and colleagues that could help us become our best selves, and also recognizing that it does take more than just our own will and determination.
A great support system is crucial for self development.
We met several great people there and one in particular is a Crossfit instructor. I know there is a lot of criticism about Crossfit, but one thing that can’t be faulted is their emphasis on community and social support.
Regardless of the general ethos of the hyper-competitive people involved in the community, the majority of smaller gyms create a family environment where people encourage each other to improve and get better. This is a phenomenon that even critics acknowledge as significant and common throughout Crossfit. And this is a good thing that should be celebrated.
And the name of the Crossfit affiliate that she instructs for is “Friendship Crossfit.” I can’t think of a better attitude than that!
What To Do When Your Progress Creates Enemies
Along with surrounding ourselves with good, positive people, you often hear the assertion that you should rid yourself of all those people that can bring you down. That’s definitely hard to argue with, but it’s also not entirely possible. It’s not so simple to cut people out, especially in regards to family.
We can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our family.
Transformation is difficult.
It’s difficult for you to make the changes you need, and to keep consistently acting on those changes, but it’s also difficult for those around you. They are used to and expect certain aspects about you, and we are all conditioned to view our friends and family in a particular way.
Any departure from that view is going to meet resistance, even if unconsciously and unintentional.
Supportive friends and family will get through it, hopefully quickly, and help as much as they can. Less-than-supportive people may continue to be passive-aggressive (or aggressive-aggressive!) for a long while.
You’ll know if you need to let go of some of these people relatively quickly.
The time and effort to deal with them will sap your energy and you’ll feel worn out. Follow your instincts and remove yourself from those “energy vampires”.
More likely than simply cutting people loose, you’ll benefit from having an honest expectation of how your family and colleagues may react to your efforts of change and improvement. It may seem strange to think that their reactions would be anything less than positive, but remember how hard it is to break out of a longstanding habit.
It can be the same as viewing someone else change out of what you’ve known them to be.
If you see this resistance in your otherwise supportive family and friends, it’s best to confront it early and have a frank discussion about what you feel is going on. They may not even realize how they are reacting, and good communication can solve a lot of grief.
You Can’t Do It Alone – And Why Should You?
We can’t underestimate the value of social support in every aspect of our lives, especially when it comes to personal transformation. It can be hard enough to get ourselves motivated for change, and adding the stress of a negative environment can stop us right in our tracks.
The path to success has to involve more than just ourselves.
Align yourself with good people as much as possible, minimize your interaction with negative nellies, and open yourself to help and support.
Our social support network at GMB is our Alpha Posse.
Since the start of our company, we’ve placed a high value on a positive and supportive community. We’ve been blessed with great people that have helped us grow and fostered a welcoming environment for every new person joining us.
We hope you’ll join us.