When I talk with people about what they imagine will happen when they make a change toward wellness — whether that is making better food choices, drinking less alcohol, going to bed earlier, or making time to exercise — so many of them feel resistance when they recognize that their decision to get healthy will impact others.
Those we love the most — our kids, spouse, friends, co-workers — will inevitably feel the impact of our choices. That’s because all relationships function as a system and a change in one part of the system necessitates a change in other parts. In an effort to get healthy we are, by definition, imposing changes on other people. Often we anticipate that our loved ones won’t like the change, and sometimes we are right — our kids won’t eat the healthier food, our spouse resents us going to bed earlier, our friends want us to have one more drink with them. For many of us, just anticipating these reactions is enough to derail us from our goals and keep us in our rut.
If this sounds familiar to you, there are many small action steps you can take to prioritize your health while mitigating the impact on those closest to you.
Change is hard, especially change we choose. Making choices different from the ones we have always made, different from the ones our families have made, different from the ones our friends make is really hard. But it can be done! And you can do it!
Here’s one quick tip to help you stay on track with your goals:
Talk about your goals and plans with your family and friends. Share with them why you are making the changes and ask for their support. The more you can include them in the process, the less resistance you will feel.
Recognize the impact you are having on them and brainstorm ways to soften it, such as:
- Plan meals with your kids so they feel included as part of the process
- Find other times to spend quality time with your spouse if going to bed early/getting up early interferes with that
- Create other activities with your friends — coffee, walks, exercise classes, lunch dates