Here is it July - halfway through the year. For many people, the new year's resolutions that seemed like a great idea in January are now a distant memory.
When it comes to making changes, getting started is only one of the hurdles. For most people, the hardest part is the stretch in the middle. When the enthusiasm wears off and obstacles arise, it is all too easy to give up on our dreams. Has that ever happened to you?
What makes the difference between someone who keeps going and someone who doesn't? Oftentimes it is the support structures that they put into place.
If you were taking a trip, you wouldn't leave home without making sure you had everything you needed (hopefully). On vacation, the little things that we remember to bring - or don't - can sometimes make the difference between a comfortable, enjoyable experience and one that is stressed or uncomfortable. A journey towards a new habit or lifestyle is similar. If we jump in with lots of enthusiasm, but no planning or support, the journey may be stressful or less successful.
Planning for success includes anticipating the obstacles you may face and the encouragement or information you may desire along the way. You can improve your chances for a smooth transition by making sure that you provide yourself with adequate support. There are many ways to find the support that you'll need. Here are a few:
- Professional Service Provider - Depending on your goal, you many find that you want or need specialized information in the area that you are seeking to grow. In the area of wellness, for example, you might seek advice from a health care provider, fitness trainer, nutritionist, physical therapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist, among others.
- Professional Coach - Having a professional coach to accompany you through your change process can enhance your clarity, confidence, and consistency. Coaches are trained to listen deeply and facilitate inquiries that deepen awareness and encourage action. In this way, you may see things that you wouldn't have seen by yourself, or stretch further in taking actions that are aligned with your goals and vision.
- Accountability Buddy - Having a regular check-in with a supportive friend or colleague is a helpful structure to keep you on track. It is all too easy to set our plans aside when no one else knows about them! Sharing our goals with an accountability buddy makes it harder to break our commitments to ourselves. For more information about how to be an accountability buddy, check out this blog.
- Existing Support Group - Support groups are wonderful ways to get ideas, encouragement, and motivation to make changes. As with an accountability buddy, having peer support makes your goals public, and harder to drop when the going gets tough. Some support groups are ongoing and have a rolling enrollment. Others start and stop at specific times and include the same people over time. Choose the structure that works best for you. Meetup.com is a great way to see what is available in your area.
- Customized Wellness Circle - If you'd like the support of a group, but can't find one that fits, why not make your own? You may be a part of an existing social group that would be interested in including a wellness focus for its members. Work, neighborhood, community or church groups are especially good candidates. (If you'd like to explore how to get one started for yourself, contact me for more information).
- Virtual Support Structures - If an in-person group isn't a good fit for you, there are lots of virtual possibilities. From virtual healthcare and coaching, to private Facebook groups, to online communities like Sparkpeople.com, there are an abundance of resources. Here are some of the best wellness apps that are currently available, as compiled by Greatist.com.
Whatever your dream is, you are the captain of the ship that will sail you there. So, before your journey begins, make sure that you have the right crew onboard!
What about you? What kinds of support have you found most useful as you've made lifestyle changes? Please share your wisdom in the comments below!