Change is so much easier when you’ve got a buddy along for the ride.
Someone who understands what you’re going through, what the struggles feel like, and who really gets the little wins along the way.
And it’s not just about making it easier to get to the gym or stick to your meal plan. Tons of research (like here and here) shows that social support is incredibly beneficial to your health – whether that means your mental health, your physical health, weight loss, and even stopping smoking.
So, social support is important. But, what if, like so many of my clients, you don’t have anyone in your circle of family, friends, or coworkers who ‘gets you’ or who’s on a similar path?
I’ve got some ideas for you.
Doing it alone is hard
Making changes is hard, but doing it alone is even tougher.
Your fears get bigger, your self-doubts take on a life of their own, and it’s all too easy to pack it in because you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do it, and it’ll never work. Plus, no one knew about your goal anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
Well, I’m here to tell you, it does matter.
You and all your goals matter.
Each day you have the opportunity to improve your life – and by doing so, make the world a better place. So, let’s find you some workout buddies/healthy eating friends/change the world comrades/good old-fashioned (kinda) social support.
First, let’s take a look at why social support is so important to our health journey. Then I’ll show you some places where you can find your peeps.
Why get social support for your health goals?
There is so much research showing that many heath behaviors, social support is a huge advantage:
– Weight loss efforts are vastly improved by having friends and family involved
– Self-care activities are increased with more social support
– Healthy lifestyles are supported by having others involved
– Exercise motivation is increased, even when the social support comes from a support group and not from friends and family.
– Healthy eating is also improved with increased social support
So, no matter what your goal, having someone else along with you helps you plan, be motivated, and then actually achieve your dreams in the company of other supportive people.
Where to get social support
Right, so there’s the ‘why’.
Now, how are you going to find these people to support you if they’re not in your intimidate circle?
1. Get a coach
One-on-one detailed support, accountability, and knowledge. This is exactly the kind of support I offer through my Eating Psychology coach services – a friend, confidant, strategist, and knowledge base to help you get to your goals in a totally supported way. This is social support tailored to your needs in a way you can’t get with friends or family.
This is my favorite online wellness community. No matter where you’re at or what you’re into, you can find awesome people on the forums here to connect with, group up with, and support. They have a buddy-group section, as well as specific boards for all things health and fitness related. You find a lot of people here, from many walks of life, who are looking for some social support, either as an extra help, or because they just can’t find what they need offline. I can’t tell you how important this community has been to me and my journey.
I’ve spoken before about meetup. Here you can find groups of like-minded people meeting in real life to support each other and do things they love. Hiking, yoga, running, arts, writing, meditation – whatever wellness related activity you’re looking to get into or be supported in, check meetup to see if there’s a group in your area. If there’s not, you could try starting one. I run a Live the Whole meetup in Stockholm twice a month and the support there is unbeatable.
4. Take a local class
This can seem a bit old-school compared to all the digital options available to us these days, but finding your social support through community classes or local events is awesome. I know it’s hard to show up as the new person, all alone, but after a time or two you’ll be a part of things. Most people know what it’s like to show up alone – it takes guts! – and will make an extra effort to include you. In fact, I’ve found it’s often easier to make new friends in a group if I show up alone. So, get out into your community and find some social support that way.
Tell me in the comments: where do you get your support?