WRITTEN BY TESSIE TRACY
When we think of taking on healthy habits, we might have thoughts like “I need to do this. I need to do that” and so on. But what about those closest to us? How are our closest relationships affecting our health, fitness and food choices?
The truth is, we are creatures of habit and environment. Our environment includes our primary relationships, which are the people we live with or speak to the most. We’re naturally influenced by and become more like-minded with those closest to us, for better or worse.
Have you ever noticed that you’ll start gossiping more if you’re always talking to someone who gossips? Or maybe a loved one is always complaining and always stressed, and you feel that attitude rubbing off on you.
Below are 5 tips to help YOU create healthy relationships, so that they support your healthiest self!
You might be thinking “Personal responsibility? But, it’s not me, it’s them.”
That just might be the case. Which is all the more reason why it’s up to you to make some changes. They might not have the awareness or desire to improve their mindset, healthy habits, etc. at this time.
The first step here is to take an inventory of how you are interacting with others.
Are you supportive? Are you reactive? Are you available? Do you listen? Are you compassionate?
My bold invitation is to not only answer these questions by your own inventory, but actually ask the people closest to you. If you dare.
Take Inventory of Current Relationships
I invite you to take a few moments to sit quietly and think, if there was a meter to rate my closest relationships from super toxic to conscious and healthy… where would each of my closest relationships land?
Ask yourself, how does this person make you feel most of the time?
What values do you have in common? Is there anything about this relationship you feel holds you back from being your healthiest self?
Write down some of your thoughts about the positive and negative aspects of each relationship.
Have The Tough Conversation(s)
It can be uncomfortable in itself to recognize we have a somewhat toxic relationship in our life.
It’s a whole other thing to actually do something about it. After obtaining clarity on the relationships that don’t feel so great right now, there are a few ways we can do moving forward.
First, let the person know you’d love to have a conversation with them.
“Hey friend/co-worker/acquaintance/lover, I appreciate you being open to having this conversation with me. This isn’t easy for me, but I’m really committed to improving my life and my relationships, and this has been on my heart to share with you. I’ve noticed when I’m around you I feel sad, small, less-than, defeated, wrong, etc.
From the bottom of my heart I don’t mean this to say that you are making me feel this way, or that you have done anything wrong. I simply want to be very honest with where I’m at, and I think what’s best for me is to have a little distance.”
Next, let them know a specific request. If it’s someone who is always talking bad about their body, and other people’s bodies, and coming across very judgemental, you can request that you two find other topics of conversation outside of appearance. Another example is requesting space like the example above. You might also request that they support your health goals if they tend to poo poo your commitments that are meaningful for you.
Here’s another example of how to make a request. Share with them some things you DO like, things that they do that feel helpful.
“Mom, I love when you listen and when we talk about ‘xyz’ I feel so connected to you. I like it when we (go on walks/watch tv/go shopping/etc. together) and when I feel supported by you. Do you think we can try ‘insert your request here’? And, is there anything I can do to improve our relationship?” If you are going to make requests, be prepared to give something as well.
Now, although this is written simply, please believe I know that it can be complex. The most important thing to remember with these conversations is that you come from a place of continually trying.
Be The Change
On the health and fitness front, if you really are trying to transform habits with food and exercise, and your friends that you want to keep around don’t share those values, here are a few things you can try.
Don’t be offended if they’re not into it. And at the same time, don’t feel bad about what you’re committed to. It’s important they know that you are serious about creating new habits such as eating whole foods, lowering alcohol, eating organic, moving more. You might surprised how inspirational you’ll be to them.
If not everyone is gung ho about your healthy habits, that’s ok. Just find at least one person who you can share ideas with, be accountability partners, workout buddies, share recipes, etc.
Instigate a group challenge. You can do this with a small group of existing friends, co-workers and/or loved ones, and do a 30-day healthy habit challenge. No, this shouldn’t be a 30-day quick-fix, fad diet, lose 20 pounds in 20 days type of challenge.
Do the challenge as a way to connect, get consistent, practice doable habits, to learn and to have fun!
Relax Into the Process
Relationships are designed to challenge us. They are a huge part of our growth journey, and that’s a good thing.
Trust that wherever your relationships are, they are designed to help you grow, be better, and learn about yourself. Just because a specific relationship is in the “negative” feeling category, doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. Try not to equate it to good and bad, but more like “exactly where each relationship is right now, is where it is meant to be for my highest good.”
This mindset will help you de-stress around this process, and have some grace for yourself and others in order to build healthy relationships that support your healthy habits.
Leave a comment and let us know what you think about these tips!