New Years’ Resolution Countdown: 5

Only 5 days left before the new year starts. Are you ready for this?

So far we’ve covered:

10 – Have a strong and meaningful reason why you’re trying to improve your health and fitness.

9 – Set specific and measurable goals and track them consistently.

8 – You can still indulge and enjoy treats, just make them actual treats and not daily staples.

7 – Put your health and fitness first.

6 – You can only accomplish that which you believe you are capable of. Don’t let negative self-talk or negative comments from others discourage you.

So, with 5 days to go I thought I’d talk about the people around you. Yesterday I got a bit riled up over the retired US Army officer who blithely commented in an interview that women are simply not capable of doing 3 pull-ups. That troglodyte deserves a swift kick in the soft bits.

But if it’s bad when some strange authority figure starts spouting nonsense, how much worse is it when your friends and family try to discourage you? If your spouse, or your coworkers, your friends or your parents knock your efforts, so mock you for making positive changes it can be not just discouraging but actually hurtful.

We rely on those close to us for support, but more than that even, we want approval, especially when we’re doing things that we believe to be good and positive. If you’re making an effort to eat right, take care of your health and get fit and strong then the last thing you want to deal with is someone whose opinion of you matters to take a big ol’ metaphorical dump on you for it.

So, what can you do? First off, remember that while it’s nice to get an attaboy from your loved ones, your friends or your colleagues, you are doing this for you. Most of the time being selfish is a bad thing, but when it comes to your health and fitness being selfish is precisely what you should be. This is, profoundly, completely, entirely about you.

Second, keep in mind the reasons why those close to you might have to trying to discourage you or talk you into quitting. Maybe they are feeling bad about their own level of fitness or their appearance and by dumping on you they’re trying to make themselves feel better/keep you from making so much visible progress that you continue to make them aware and uncomfortable of their own poor physical condition. If it’s a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend they may be threatened by your impeding stupendous hotness – perhaps feeling like you’re doing what you’re doing to prepare to abandon the relationship. So have some compassion. If someone seems to be jealous of your progress, offer to help them come up with their own plan. If a significant other seems worried that you’re planning to bail, show them some love and reassure them of your commitment to them.

Family members who question what you’re doing are another matter. Many a budding fitness fanatic has had to endure the “You’re getting too skinny” or “You need to eat more” diatribes from a well-meaning parent or grandparent. Sometimes there are cultural norms based upon ethnic heritage that fuel these kinds of comments. Sometimes it is just family tradition. For families whose heritage and history includes periods of genuine deprivation and poverty mom or grandma, or even dad or grandpa, may see it as their duty to provide an abundance for their families. A little extra (or a lot extra) padding can be seen in some families and cultures as a sign of success.

Talk these family members down gently. They really do mean well. Just make sure they understand that you’re being careful, that your goal is not to be skinny but to be healthy. And here’s where allowing yourself to indulge every now and then can also be used strategically. Family celebrations are not, if you’ve got concerned parental figures monitoring your intake, the time to stand out in the crowd by demonstrating your commitment to the Paleo lifestyle, for instance. No need to be a glutton, but if you can avoid drawing attention to yourself and becoming the center of a family argument, well one big plate of food isn’t going to kill you.

For some of the best tips on dealing with other people on your fitness journey check out this article from Nerd Fitness. Steve Kamb absolutely nails it in this article. I recommend bookmarking it and referring to it often.

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