Okay, not all people but some of them. And they really show their true colors when you want to improve!
Conventional wisdom would suggest that when we try to improve ourselves, the universe, our families and all our friends literally have our back and high-fiving us along the way.
In a perfect world, they cheer us on, keep us motivated, share in our victories and support us when we suffer defeat. Yeah, well, the world ain’t perfect and neither are the people closest to us. In fact, some of them really suck (See my headline).
So, what do you do when those you thought would be in your cheering section, are at best ambivalent and at worst destructive? How do you stay focused on your goals when it seems like everyone is turning their back on your efforts.
It’s like a smack in the face.
At some point you’ve experience the proverbial stinging smack in the face when you are super excited about something only to have someone close to you say, “why would you want to do that?” with their best disgusted face.
When it happens for the first time, it’s pretty damn shocking. You’re all “wait, what? I thought you’d be happy for me.” And they are all “dude, are you only going to eat celery and lecture me about saturated fats?” It’s defeating and disappointing. You finally come to the point where you are ready to change your life for the better. Maybe you want to lose weight. You start exercising, eating better, getting enough sleep and starting some other healthy lifestyle habits. You assume your spouse, best friend, colleagues and kids will be on board and excited for you. Then, you come face to face with the ugly reality that not everyone wants you to be better. They like you just how you are – even if it’s overweight, sapped of energy and generally unhealthy. Why? Because the sad truth is that if you get healthy – they might have to face (and own) their own unhealthy habits and lifestyle. It forces them to see they may need to change too and, as we all know, change is hard. They may also think you (or they) don’t need to change. Like that extra 15 lbs., slightly elevated blood pressure or cholesterol isn’t a crisis. Um, ok. (insert eyeroll emoji).
So, how do you handle the BS?
How do you deal with the naysayers and vibe killers? What do you do when it seems all the people you thought would be down with your new kick ass way of life just don’t care or are outwardly non-supportive?
A few tips that will help you focus on you, set the right example and change your life for the better regardless of what those around you say, do, or think. Yeah…take that, naysayers!
- You do you. Do not think for one millisecond that you can convince, cajole or coax someone into joining you in living a healthy lifestyle if they basically laughed at you and shoveled down a plate of nachos as you explained all the fabulous new things you are doing to be healthy. You will spend countless hours and all your patience presenting compelling arguments. But guess what — they don’t care. Perhaps because they are not ready to make a change or maybe they just like wearing lots of elastic waistbands. Whatever. So…control what you can. Set a good example, do your thing and maybe, just maybe, they will come to see what a positive thing it is to lose weight, build strength, and have more energy.
- Surround yourself with positivity. I’m not saying ditch the friends who don’t want to go to spin class with you. But look for new or existing friends who share your desire to live healthier. There’s the theory that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think about that circle. Could it use some positive peeps who are motivated and inspired like you to get healthy? Friendships evolve and sometimes evolution is a selective bitch. Embrace it.
- Be relentless. Put reminders wherever you need them to keep your goal top of mind. Post it notes on your computer, mirror or fridge. Alerts on your phone to drink enough water. An accountability partner to remind you of what you are working toward. When you ignore the noise from those who don’t support your new lifestyle and stay laser focused on your goal, you have no time for their negativity.
- Don’t engage. There’s nothing more that I like than I good debate. I loooovvvveee to be right. But when you find yourself in a situation where your friends or family are being negative about your new lifestyle, rise above it. Bite your tongue and disengage. Stop defending your lifestyle and making the case. You’re not a defense attorney. You don’t owe them any reasons for why you are doing what you’re doing. Politely bow out of a conversation when you feel compelled to be defensive. Stay the course and keep your vibe high. Remember, you attract the energy you put out there.
- Don’t make it weird. That’s right…treat fitness and eating right like it’s just what you do now. It’s part of who you are and what you stand for. You don’t have to wear a sign that says “hey, I’m healthy now…want to hear more?” That’s weird. Just do the right things, set the example for your family and friends and live authentically and confidently. You will be surprised how many people will start to see this as a good thing and want to follow your example.
Finally, understand that most people’s negativity comes from their own insecurities and has little or nothing to do with you, personally. When they see you being healthy and fit, it triggers their insecurities about how they look or feel. However — to put it bluntly – it’s not your damn problem and it’s not your responsibility to fix them or make them feel better about it.
Your decision to be healthier is about YOU. Be a little selfish and protect your mindset. When you do, and you stay focused on your goals, you’ll succeed. And success in this case is living longer, healthier and with a better quality of life. All of that is worth ruffling a few feathers and making a few friends uncomfortable along the way.
Making the decision to change your lifestyle to lose weight, get healthy and regain your confidence and energy is sometimes overwhelming. I invite you to join my Wellness Tribe and surround yourself with positive, encouraging, badass women who want you to succeed.
And, I’d love to hear how you deal with the negative Nellies in your life.