How To Change by Jane Thurnell-Read
Many people wnat different lives - they want to be healthier, happier, thinner, more successful .. but the question is how to do it?
One of the most important things we can do in life is surround ourselves with people who support us and encourage us to make the changes we need to make to be happier and healthier. Our family and spouses are in the right position to fill this role. They can be our cheer-leaders, our best and most constructive critics; people who offer a sympathetic ear when needed, but also hold us to high standards – they don’t let us get away with fudging issues, back sliding and woolly thinking.
Having read this far, you may agree with this, but think: “OK, OK, I know, but a fat chance of getting my spouse/partner/parents to act in this way.”
In practice as we go through life we often choose those who fit the pattern not the need. We chose lovers, spouses and friends who accept our world view, our excuses and our self deception. We follow a comfortable pattern rather than choosing those who can support our need to change and grow and challenge ourselves.
Often the important people in our lives don’t want us to change. If we change, our relationship with them changes. This can lead them to feel uncomfortable and threatened. Parents may not want their child to be more self-motivated and independent; (if that happens the child may visit less and need them less). A husband may not want his wife to go work out in the gym (she’ll get a better body and may run off with the gym instructor). A brother may be reluctant for you to go back to college (you could make new and exciting friends or, even worse, move away).
Sometimes parents and spouses are over-critical, commenting on our failures rather than our successes. They remember (and remind us!) of all the times we’ve failed in the past. They may tell us that we will never amount to anything and that we are bound to fail. In the face of their certainty and their knowledge of our history our nascent motivation may flicker and go out.
So, sadly partners and parents may not be the people to look to for support in our quest to be a better, healthier and happier person. If you’re in this situation, you need to look elsewhere. Friends may be able to fill this role, although you may find that different friends can help you in different ways. One friend may be great at supporting your desire to lose weight and get fit, but hopeless in the face of your desire to sort out your sexual relationships. And do remember when it comes to advice, take the advice of your friends who have succeeded in the area in which you are struggling.
Finding a friend who challenges and supports you can be difficult, but it’s worth persisting. You’re not just looking for someone who will make you feel good about yourself all the time. They will challenge you and hold you to high standards. You are looking for friends who will (sometimes) tell it to you like it is. They celebrate with you when you succeed, cheer you on the way and give you the occasional pep talk or proverbial kick to stop you back-sliding.
You’re looking for someone to provide the roughage in your life – not always comfortable but necessary for your health and well being.
If even this is difficult or you are not very good a making friends, look for people who are already succeeding in the area in which you are struggling. Ask them how they do it. Ask them for detailed information about the steps they took to be where they are now. Ask them how they got motivated, what worked for them, what tips and advice they can give you. Most people don’t mind this at all – they are flattered that someone sees them as being successful and a role model. These role models may not become friends; you may only meet them once, but their advice and insights can truly change your world. But don’t forget collecting the advice and information is not enough. You need to put it into practice.Get a different health and happiness tip delivered to your inbox every day.