Mindful Monday will be a post, audio, or video about a lifestyle topic that applies well to your fitness journey and a way to lift your spirits on Monday to prepare you for the week ahead.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the people in my life and if they’re supporting what I want to build. For most of those people, that answer is a resounding “Hell yeah!”, for a select few, that answer is “ehhh, not so much”.
Whether it’s in fitness, building a business, acing an exam, or whatever your goal is, having a really solid support system that will cheer you on and help you when you’re down is really critical to your accountability and your sanity. Now, I don’t believe in broadcasting your goals and every move to the world because growth happens in silence, but having friends, family, and mentors to encourage you will help you build discipline over time.
I never would have started CrossFit if it weren’t for Olivia, a girl who became a good friend of mine during college. She had started CrossFit about a month before me. I was talking about it in class one day and she turns to me and says “You know there’s a Crossfit coach on campus? We should go sometime.”
And that’s what started it all.
We would keep each other accountable by setting a time that worked for both of us and sticking to it. Even on the days I was really sore or not feeling 100%, she encouraged me to keep going and sticking with it. I am forever grateful for her support and positive attitude. We started inviting others to join us and it became a small little cult. She is an incredibly positive person and a true leader (and also always just a litttle bit faster than me haha). She definitely deserves some credit for introducing me to CrossFit and pushing me to continue with it. She helped me find my passion in fitness and lifting. So THANK YOU!
Benefits of a support System (Or Even just 1 person)
A Stanford University study found that even a phone call every 2 weeks increased activity levels by nearly 78% (from 100 mins/week to 178 mins/week) and, after 18 months, sustained that increased level of activity. They asked 2 questions: How much exercise did you do in the past week? and If you didn’t hit your goal, what can you do to increase that amount in the next two weeks? I integrated a weekly check-in to my system for a constructive discussion just like this. This discussion helps you think critically about your life and will help you make the changes necessary to supporting a better lifestyle and building the discipline to maintain it later.
Having a workout buddy also produces a phenomenon called the Köhler Effect, or not wanting to be the weakest link when performing conjunctive tasks (like a partner chipper). In fact, participants paired with someone fitter than them exercised harder and longer. If you’re apart of a team and you have your part to do, you’re more likely to work harder at it. I consistently train with people fitter than me and I also frequently pick men who are slightly fitter than me for motivation (I just really want to beat them, even if by a slim margin). Either way, having a workout buddy breeds a positive competitive spirit, and pushes you to go harder (another reason I love CrossFit).
The research supports having a buddy in your fitness life, but the same can also apply to other areas of your life too. So, don’t neglect having a buddy for other things you want to accomplish and don’t be afraid to partner up with someone who is better than you. It makes all the difference.
Identifying a Toxic person
But what if someone in your network causes more harm than help?
Minda Zetlin, Co-Author at The Geek Gap, wrote an interesting piece on INC.com about the 8 signs of a toxic person. She focuses on the workplace, but these can carry over into your personal life and your fitness journey.
I want to outline and elaborate on them with a few sentences, but I encourage you to read her full article.
They gossip about others
We all gossip. But if the gossip is consistently negative or they’re extremely judgmental of others from the get-go, you better get-going because you’re next. I experienced this a lot in high school and in college with toxic groups of friends and it was ultimately began the demise of our friendship.
They complain. A lot.
We all do it once in awhile, but if someone complains to you about their problems and they don’t really know you, run. They want to suck you in and make you just as miserable as them. You could also combat this by politely saying, “I’m sorry this is happening to you, but you should figure that out on your own.” I need to get better at telling people this.
You know. The friends who want to be treated differently because they have “special circumstances” or want you to make an exception for them that you wouldn’t for any other friend.
They Always talk about their accomplishments or try to one-up you
You feel like you need to defend yourself 24/7
Refer to #1 where I mentioned they’re very judgmental. If you feel the need to explain yourself or defend why you did something because you suddenly feel uncomfortable in a situation you normally wouldn’t, pay attention.
PLeasing them is a production
Running around like a chicken with your head cut off because your friend asked you to help find the right pair of sneakers or the perfect sports bra, but nothing is good enough? Swipe left.
Generally unconcerned about you
Do they know your goals? Do they know where you work? Do they know what you like to do on Saturday evening? How much do you know about them? If there’s a big gap here, might want to put some distance between you and that person.
They’re draining your Energy.
I don’t have to say anything here. If it feels terrible, it probably is.
(BOnus) They’re petty
How often do they get upset about something so trivial or because things don’t go their way that they make other people around them miserable? Are they vindictive?
(Bonus) They hit you where it hurts
When there’s an argument or point of contention, they’re not focused on what happened. They’re focused on making you feel as awful as possible about everything you’ve ever done (that they know about), including positive things that happened. They bring up things from more than 2 weeks ago, they harass you because of something that bothered them 6 months ago that for some reason they just couldn’t get over, or they victim-blame you for something that happened.
If any of your friends, family, coworkers, etc display these behaviors, even subtly, I would reconsider them as a friend. If they’re bringing you down, set them free.
Being genuinely nice and supporting others only costs a minute and gives you a lot. Be conscious about who is in your life and how they make you feel. Have a buddy that keeps you accountable and helps you check your ego at the door. If you have the option, limit your time, energy, and space with toxic people and spread the love to everyone else, regardless of how a toxic person treats others.
Get you a gang that uplifts you, supports your transformation into a better version of you, and helps you sustain those changes by encouraging you and keeping you accountable, while reminding you to let loose and relax once in awhile.
If you need help staying accountable, come talk to me. I would love to be your buddy!
Happy LIFTing, Les