When people are stuck in their health (i.e. they’ve tried everything, done all the work-ups, been to numerous health-care providers, taken the medications and the supplements, and chosen healthy lifestyle choices) but they aren’t seeing the results they want, it’s time to take an assessment of all the “other things” that may be contributing.
Some of these factors are your relationships, friendships, and community.
Did you know that who you hang out with regularly affects the outcomes of your health?
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. ~ Jim Roth
Or, through the lens of health:
Your [health] is the average of the [health] of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Take a quick survey…who are the “top 5” people you spend the most time with? Your spouse, partner, family, children, friends, co-workers?
In a non-judgmental way ask yourself: What’s their health like? What’s their philosophy on healthy living? Are they supportive of your healing journey?
Is your health an average of those 5 people?
Now, this point is very important.
Before you think, “A-ha! It’s all so-and-so’s fault that I’m not more healthy,” realize this: only YOU have control over your health. Your health is a reflection of what YOU have chosen and YOU alone!
(And since we’re playing the honesty game…ladies, your spouse or partner is the ONLY person who can make choices about their health. Sorry, you can’t cajole, manipulate, coax, entice or seduce your loved one into making health changes—only they can decide to change. If I had a dollar every time I heard, “Dr. Deborah, please fix my husband, too”….).
Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah, your “top 5”.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…“But I’m stuck! I don’t have a choice who my top 5 are!”
That may be true. You can’t suddenly not be in relationships with your spouse, children, or boss (although some days that sounds pretty enticing).
So what can you do?
- Add “Healthy People”
You can make choices about all the OTHER relationships in your life such as your friends, acquaintances, health providers, or coaches.
Is there someone in your life whose healthy lifestyle you admire?
Ask them to join you for a yoga class or a hike. Share with them your desire to lead a healthier life.
At first, you may have to be bold and courageous. It’s hard to put yourself out there! (As an introvert, I know!)
But you will reap the benefits of these new healthier relationships.
- Communicate With Your Top 5
Having a heart-to-heart with your loved ones can sometimes make all the difference. As with anything, how you approach the conversation is key.
Explaining your goals, why you want to reach those goals, and especially how your loved ones will benefit (i.e. When I’m healthier I’ll be a _________ (happier, more engaging, etc.) wife, mother, friend) can be transformative.
Ask for their support. And, specifically tell them how they can support you.
This conversation will fail miserably if at any point your loved ones feel like you are cajoling, manipulating, coaxing, enticing or seducing them to change. However, you may be surprised when your loved ones volunteer to go on a healthy eating plan with you!
Even if people don’t choose your healthy lifestyle, ask them to support your quest and desires.
- Encourage Healthy Choices In Your Top 5
Notice I didn’t say change the behaviors of your top 5! In other words, this doesn’t mean telling them to go on the healthy eating plan with you.
There’s a fine line here. Let me explain.
Ask your loved ones to join you for healthy activities…like eating dinner at the “healthy” restaurant in town (where they still feel like they are in control of what they order).
See the difference?
Other examples include: choosing bowling with your kids instead of sitting through a movie. Or, going on a family outing to a local farm and having your kids pick the vegetables to eat. Ask your friend to meet you at the new vegetarian restaurant in town that got rave reviews.
There are endless possibilities of healthy and fun activities. Get creative.
- Create Accountability
Accountability is a powerful tool. Even if you have nobody in your immediate circle who supports your health having a “check-in partner” can make a tremendous difference.
This can be a friend, a health-care provider, a therapist or a coach…. they can be in your “honorary top 5.”
I love being an accountability partner to my patients. In fact, a few of my patients check in with me every single day via a quick text or email. I’m never here to judge or criticize but rather to encourage and support—especially during an “off day” (which we all have).
It’s pretty amazing to have someone in your circle who loves, encourages and celebrates the milestones and the baby steps! (And, who can lovingly get you back on track when you need it.)
Your relationships matter when it comes to your health—especially when you’re feeling stuck.
We can’t always choose who’s in our inner circle (aka “top 5”) but we can choose the other people we spend time with. Find people who encourage, support, and challenge you on your health journey.
What action step can you take today to create more healing relationships?
Please leave a comment below.