Your Support Network – An A-Team for Your A-Game

Who’s in your corner? Whatever your goals may be, one of the most important parts of setting yourself up to succeed is to ensure your support network is in place. Now, if we were all professional athletes, our support network would include shoe companies, coaches, nutritionists, maybe massage therapists (yes, please!). Alas, we are not all professional athletes. That doesn’t mean we can’t make our support network the best it can be. 

Your support network can make you or break you when it comes to achieving your goals. Here's how to make sure the people in your life are your A-team for your A-game.

EXPLAIN WHAT SUPPORT YOU NEED

It’s hard to get support from the people in your life if they don’t know what you need. Whether you need encouragement, a kick in the pants, or a training partner, you need to ask. Try to get specific about what you need from the different people who make up your support network. When I’m marathon training, I ask my husband to help me schedule my training runs into our week so I know I have certain times set aside to run. I also ask him to accept without question my need for three brand new pairs of running shoes I can ‘cycle’ during training. I ask my friends to be understanding if I skip a late night because I have a long run in the morning and to still be my friend even while I’m talking about running…a lot. 

Maybe your goal is healthy eating – what do you need to help you succeed? If you need someone to hold you accountable when you’re ready to throw in the towel and order a pizza while opening a bottle of wine, let them know it’s okay to speak up. While you’re at it, if someone telling you not to eat or drink something perversely makes you want to do it more, then explain to your family and friends that you’d rather they didn’t comment on your choices. If you want your family to eat the same meals you’re preparing, explain that (and maybe think about getting them involved in meal planning, so everyone is happy).

The point is, you should get specific and explain what support you need from the people in your life. They can’t help you if they don’t know how!

GET YOUR SOCIAL LIFE INVOLVED

Make your social life work for you for your healthy goals. Set up workout dates with friends. Make group outings less sedentary – less bars and restaurants, more hikes and day trips.

If you’re more into working out alone, tell your friends and family what you’re doing so they can congratulate you when you meet your goals or motivate you if you’re thinking of skipping a workout. Remember, you’re in control of what to ask for from your support network, so be clear about what kind of ‘motivation’ this should be – some people are okay with a kick in the butt, like, “Get off the couch – you said you were going to the gym!”, while a gentler approach, like, “I know you’ve had a long day, but you will probably feel better if you work out,” might work for you.

It can also be a great idea to sign up for either an event like a race, or for a series of classes, with a friend or family member. That way you can train together, or always have a workout partner. 

AS WELL AS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Not everyone wants to see your running photos, or your food photos, or your gym selfies. But that’s what the unfollow button on Facebook is for! šŸ˜‰ If your goal is a big part of your life (and it should be, otherwise why would you make it a goal?) then share it! You never know who you may be inspiring with your posts and there will be plenty of people in your life who want to be updated. I know I have followed along with someone’s training for a big event via Instagram or their blog and gotten invested in their story. 

From a support network point of view, it’s just gratifying to have people in your life give you a boost just with a double tap, or a ‘Yay, you!’ or even ‘You got this!’ when you feel like you really don’t.

YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK DOESN’T HAVE TO BE IN PERSON

Take it from someone who recently uprooted her life and moved to a different state! Sometimes your support network is not all in your immediate vicinity. My support network right now is equal parts in person, via social media and texting with friends. It still works for me!

Also, think about joining online groups who are all in the same situation as you. I belong to several private Facebook groups, where we can share struggles, victories, ask questions…all without annoying the 98% of our Facebook friends who do not want to read a detailed back and forth on what kinds of fuel to take on a long run.

EDIT YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK

Here comes the hard part – is your support network is working for you, or against you? Sometimes, for whatever reason, you may not be making progress on your goal. The way people react to that can have a huge effect on whether you keep up with your healthy lifestyle. If there are some people in your life who are negative, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship. A friend or family member who seems happy that you’ve hit a plateau, or who suggests you aren’t going to be able to meet your goal, is not someone you need in your corner. They may just feel threatened that you’re making a change, and be acting out of fear your relationship with them is going to suffer. Or, it could be that person really doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

How to edit? Well, each relationship is different, so only you can decide what the best approach is. You could try having a conversation about how their words or actions make you feel. You could just avoid discussing your goal with them and avoid the topic completely. Or, you may need to distance yourself from them while you’re training, or working toward what you’re trying to achieve. 

Who’s the most important part of your support team?

Who would you want for a shoe deal?

Comments

  1. I have happily been gym for a few years now ā€“ ā€“ but I think I only realized how much the brands I saw each day at the gym impacted motivated and inspired me. It’s time to rejoin šŸ™‚ even just for a few months.
    Carla recently posted…Be a Shamash.My Profile

  2. I like teaching a taking my group fitness classes. I think that is a great support team bc we are all there together reaching towards the same goal. To become fit and strong.
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness.com recently posted…Post Marathon IntentionsMy Profile

  3. I have a really awesome group of training buddies who are incredibly supportive and encouraging. And their encouragement doesn’t just stop at running. It was them that kept giving my gentle pushes and giant shoves to get my running tights business off the ground. They are incredible and I’m very lucky to have them in my life.
    Char recently posted…Don’t Colour Outside The Lines.My Profile

  4. I ‘m quite lucky that my partner even though he does like running is always so supportive! He never complains when I workout at 6am – our apartment is so tiny – and he comes to all my races no matter how awful the weather might be, he is always there cheering me! I used to be in an awesome gym in NYC and all the people I knew there were so motivating! Hopefully i ‘ll find something like that around these parts of the woods as well!

  5. You’re in my corner!! I hope… šŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see you1
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Friday Round-Up: Finding Soul + Some CycleMy Profile

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