You may have not given it much thought before, but you are far more influenced by the people you surround yourself with the most than you may realize. To shape your future for health and success, consider the impact your associations are having on your level of fitness. Philosopher, author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said: You must constantly ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I around?
- What are they doing to me?
- What have they got me reading?
- What have they got me saying?
- Where do they have me going?
- What do they have me thinking?
- And most importantly: What do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?
Think about the five people you are around the most.
If you are around people who make healthy food choices and purposefully lead active lives, you are more likely to do the same. Conversely, if you are around people who always want to swing through the fast food drive through, who stock the pantry with cookies and other junk foods, and convince you to sit around and hang out instead of going for a walk, you are likely to do the same. Sure, you have free will to do what you want, but it’s more difficult to carve out your healthy life if you are the only one in your circle who is doing it. If you have a spouse who refuses to eat a single vegetable and who isn’t an avid fan of exercise, and that can alter what you prepare for dinner and increase the likelihood that you will skip exercising. On the flip side, it’s highly influential to have a spouse who wants to hit the gym or go for a jog with you every day. Now I am not advising you to change spouses (ha ha) but if you don’t share the same values about health and fitness, you need to make a conscious decision to carve out your own path. You have to pay attention to how you might be influenced in negative ways and make the continual choice to be different.
If you have friends, family members or business associates who are less than supportive of your fitness goals, you can choose to limit the time spent with them. Maybe you have a relative who is always trying to feed you or who wants you to load up at the family pot luck or holiday party. You may not want to limit your associations with that family member, but you can set limits and say No. You have to keep your own best interests top of mind, especially when you aren’t surrounded by people who support you and your goals fully.
Create an atmosphere where you can flourish.
When you surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same or similar fitness goals you have, you are surrounding yourself with positive and powerful influences. Develop friendships where people support and encourage you and recognize your achievements. You can create this kind of environment by joining a gym, taking a group fitness class or proactively seeking out a fitness accountability partner. You can enhance your associations by following fitness trainers (like me!) online for motivation and inspiration, subscribing to fitness apps to support your efforts, and training (and signing up) for races or cycling rides in the spring.
Who you associate with the most really does impact you. Typically people in your life don’t realize they are sabotaging your efforts when they are encouraging you to eat more, drink more or skip exercise. They just want support in their less-than-healthy choices. Of course, if you are around people who put you down and belittle your efforts, definitely limit or cut off your associations with them.
As Jim Rohn says: “Who are you talking to? Who are you listening to? What seeds are being planted into your life? Atmosphere is critical! In order for your life to produce fruit, it must be planted in the right atmosphere. You wouldn’t try to plant tomato seeds in the dessert because it’s not the right atmosphere for a tomato seed to produce. Likewise, don’t try to become successful surrounded by negative people. Create an atmosphere where you can flourish. Learn to guard what you hear; guard what gets planted in your thoughts, so you can become all that you were destined to become.”