You have a lot on your plate and a lot of things that are important to you. You’ve decided that you want to make health or lifestyle changes and spend more of your valuable energy on yourself. You want to feel better and be more of the person you know you can be.
The question is, “How do you actually make it happen?”
How do you keep your goals on your radar? How do you remember to say no to other requests that interfere? How do you stay strong in your resolve and how do you keep moving forward when you aren’t sure how to do it or if you even want to?
In the years that I have worked with strong, capable, determined women, I have observed a crucial mistake that can make the going much tougher, and the related component that will boost the success rate of just about any attempt at lifestyle change.
The crucial mistake that I see frequently is the tendency to underestimate the benefit of a dynamic support structure when working to create new habits with food, with exercise, or with managing a busy and stressful life.
Many successful women have found success by learning that they can rely on themselves. They know they are tough and many feel like if they want it done “right” they want to do it themselves. While some struggle to delegate in their professional lives, they know that success in business comes from creating and leveraging a team that can support you, expand your capabilities, and help you get where you need to go.
The place I see many smart successful women struggle, is in allowing themselves to have that same type of quality support when working to build something important in their personal lives.
The truth is, engaging a strong, active support system is one of the most effective strategies for creating changes that last. I’m not just talking about having a group of people who care about you. I’m suggesting that you evaluate your current support system in terms of its ability to actively help you get where you want to go.
Here are some questions to consider:
1. Who’s in your corner? Who can you rely on to stand with you and support you in your current goals? Who are the people who want you to achieve whatever it is that YOU want to achieve?
2. Who holds you accountable? I’m not talking about the “diet police” here. Who is willing to hold you to your goals and your objectives in a kind and helpful way? Who helps you make sure that you follow through and asks you about it (again, in a way that feels helpful), when you haven’t?
3. Who contributes to your motivation? Who can you rely on to remind you why you are doing the hard work involved in making changes? Who can you count on to hold up that picture of your final destination and encourage you to keep going? Who reminds you how far you’ve come and all the ways your efforts will or are paying off?
4. Who do you celebrate with when you achieve victories along the way? Acknowledging the milestones on the way to the finish line are incredibly important in maintaining motivation and feeling good about the work you are doing. Who encourages you to celebrate when you decide you are “too busy?”
5. Who believes in you? Who are the people in your support system who know you are capable of achieving what you have set out to achieve? These are the ones who can tell you WHY you are able to be successful. They know your strengths and help you see how you can leverage them to move forward more easily. They remind you that you can do this during the times when you might not believe that you can.
6. Who is your example? Are you the leader of the pack-the one who motivates everyone else-or do you have someone in your support system who is one or two steps ahead of you? Are you reinventing the wheel or learning from the wisdom of others who have succeeded before you? We tend to see more possibilities and grow more when we are surrounded by others who encourage us to stretch our ideas of what we believe we can do.
7. Who is your sounding board? Who do you talk things through with? Who do you go to to brainstorm strategies, tweak plans that aren’t working for you, get advice or just blow off steam after a tough day?
8. Who tells you the hard truth? Who do you trust who will tell you (in a supportive and helpful way) when you are missing the boat or getting in your own way? Sometimes strong women send out the vibe that they are “fine,” they “have it under control,” and they don’t need help. The truth is, we all need help sometimes. Who are the people who will call you on it when you are trying to be the Lone Ranger and it isn’t working for you?
Use these questions to identify any holes you need to fill in your support network. Doing so will absolutely pay off.