Dec 042009
The Comic Book Store Guy - Not YOU!

Probably not the best choice in a workout partner.

Having a partner in crime when you exercise is almost always a good idea. It’s that “almost” facet that the authors of a new book, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything examine. Joseph Grenny, author of Influencer, says, “Our research shows our friends have enormous influence over our success – whether for better or worse. The trick is knowing who to spend time with and who to ignore as you try to accomplish your goals.”

This notion of having to distance yourself from people who will detract from your health and wellness goals is tricky to address.  Whether these folks actively impede your efforts with criticism or undermine them with enabling (or re-enabling) bad habits, they’re not doing you any favors. The closer the folks are – such as members of your family or partner – the harder this can be. However, fitness is by its very nature a little bit selfish – you’re making yourself healthier, and nobody else can do that for you.

Since it’s creeping up on resolution time (and I don’t mean 1920×1080), it might be a good idea to begin thinking about how your interactions with various people contribute to (or detract from) reaching your goals. It might also be an opportunity to consider which role you might be playing for the folks around you – maybe you’re an inspiration, or maybe you’re a warning. In either case, here are some suggestions for setting yourself up to succeed as the calendar prepares to flip over.

  1. Figure out who is helping, and who is holding you back. Is there someone at the office who constantly tries to foist donuts on you? Maybe someone in your circle of friends just started trying to get fit. Take stock of what you tend to do with various folks, and try to shift things towards the healthy end of the spectrum a bit more.
  2. Get folks on your team (a/k/a “Recruit a friend”). If someone close or important to you is doing things that hamper your progress, you might have success getting them to join you. It’s certainly a better option than alienating them, or having to distance yourself from them – especially if they’re close friends or family members. Getting folks to drink the fitness Kool-Aid isn’t just good for you, it’s good for them.  Heck, that’s why we’re here.
  3. Long-distance and online folks matter. As networked as we are, it’s not surprising that we’ve got friends spread all over the tubes. Some of them may share some of the bad habits we’re trying to kick, which means you may need to cool things out with them for a while as you get your new (good) habits ingrained. You can try to get them on board to try it themselves, or maybe they’ll become sources of encouragement, just like the folks you see in real-life can.

There are any number of personal and corporate template-for-success books that extol the benefits of surrounding yourself with driven folks who want to succeed. It’s no different when it comes to fitness: hooking up with a others who are looking to achieve results will do you a world of good. Your own desire for success will help your party members, too.

There’s no place for an achievement-hindering loot sponge when it comes to health and wellness.

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  One Response to “Party composition matters”

  1. Good ideas 🙂 And yes, long distance and online people can really help – there’s a whole fitness facsimile of myspace on called bodyspace that is actually really really cool. People of all kinds and all levels on there too, seriously. Makes up for the fact that you aren’t always going to find people who are supportive locally, or who even understand what you want to do.

    That being said, I need to stop getting tipsy and telling a certain someone that he’s “a girl” because he’s a kardio kween. That probably isn’t too constructive…. :/

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