Are you more likely to exercise if a friend joins you, if you attend a fitness class or meet with a personal trainer? Most people are this way. In psychology, this is called social support. Humans are social creatures and thrive from community interaction. Even introverted folks benefit from social time.
If you’re having trouble getting motivated to stay in shape, consider using your social nature to help you get re-connected with your fitness goals. Here are some reasons why it works and how to take full advantage of it.
When you’re with other like-minded people, it helps you be more positive. People who exercise regularly are more likely to talk about healthy meals, activities and thoughts when spending time together. Exercise enthusiasts are generally more optimistic, because they’re benefiting from endorphins (feel good hormones from exercise) and feel better about themselves in general (confidence).
When other people are expecting you to show up, it makes you more likely to make it to your workout session. This is called accountability. Friends will probably forgive you for missing once in awhile, but if you keep no-showing, they’ll eventually find a different workout partner. A fitness instructor will notice if you keep missing class and say something to you. People hold you accountable.
If you need more discipline than that, put your money on it. Hire a personal trainer or pay for group training. Missing a session with a personal trainer works well for many people because they lose money if they cancel at the last minute.
If you hate working out, but love socializing, joining an exercise group with people you like being around can be very beneficial. You’ll get to know the other regulars in the class and make new friends. You might begin to socialize with these people outside of the gym also. Birds of a feather flock together. You can all help each other with positivity and accountability.
Do This Now
- Make a list of people in your life who positively influence your healthy habits.
- Who do you know that exercises regularly?
- Who do you know that chooses healthy foods when dining out?
- Write down the names of people you know who are healthy, positive and encouraging toward wellness.
- Spend more time with these people!
- Invite these people to exercise, walk or share meals with you.
- Make a list of people in your life who negatively influence your healthy habits.
- Who do you know that makes negative comments when you say you’re going to workout?
- Who do you know that tries to get you to eat unhealthy food with them so they can feel better about it?
- Who do you know that says “no” every time you invite them to exercise with you?
- Limit time with these people.
- At minimum, avoid eating meals together. When they make bad choices, it’s easier for you to do so also.
- Make a list of people in your life who aren’t healthy, but might want to partner with you in making changes.
- Who do you know that doesn’t have healthy habits, but doesn’t encourage you one way or the other?
- Invite these people to come walk, exercise or cook healthy meals with you.
- You can make a difference in someone’s life.