Want to Make Lasting Changes? Get a Support Network


Building a Support Network, Accountability, Health Room 1

I’ve always been quite a stubborn person.

Growing up, I was never all that great at asking for help. I was the boy who would rather struggle through the maths problem in class on my own, rather than simply putting my hand up to ask the teacher what was going on.

I now realise the errors of my ways, and in this weeks post I want to highlight the importance of asking for help and having a support team in place to enable you to grow and make lasting changes to your habits – whether you want to adopt a new diet, or simply exercise a little more.

Being a Lone Wolf Isn’t as Cool as it Sounds

I’m not sure where it came from, but when I was young I adopted this lone wolf idea, and I applied it to most problems I encountered as I moved though life. Granted, I wasn’t adverse to teamwork and I enjoyed playing a shed load of team sports back in the day – I just wasn’t a big fan of asking for help.

I thought it would only burden the other person, and I almost saw it as a sign of weakness.

Although tackling a lot of problems on my own gave some benefits – it taught me how to focus and work hard – it also came with a price. It stunted my social development, and as the first world problems life began to throw my way grew in magnitude, my capacity to deal with them became increasingly strained.

When I hit university, the workload increased to a new level. I felt several steps behind everyone else on my course, and my stubbornness wasn’t helping. When others would ask the lecturers for help, I would get my head down and try to struggle through. It would take me ages to finally reach a vague understanding, and that was time I would never get back.

This wasn’t sustainable, and I slowly started to realise it.

Human Beings are Social Animals

Social interaction is a key component of a healthy living. 

Back in our hunter gatherer days, us humans existed in tribes of a hundred or so people. We would travel around in a big group, collecting food and water as we went.

The survival of the tribe was dependent upon teamwork. Everyone needed to pull together and help each other out. The same idea applies today.

Some of our best work is created when several interdependent people come together, playing to each others strengths and working towards a common goal.

There’s still something to be said for grafting hard on your own now and again, but for the most part I feel that you need to drop your ego and allow others in to your space to enable growth, and to fulfil your potential.

How Does This Apply to Healthy Habits?  

I’ve attempted to make quite a few changes to my habits over the past few years.

Early on, I was stubborn. I still hadn’t quite grasped the idea of asking for help, even though deep down I knew it would be beneficial. I’d make a change on my own, be successful for a few weeks or months, but then slowly revert back to my old behaviours.

This was largely because I didn’t really involve anyone on my habit changing journey, so I had no one to hold me accountable and keep me on track.

That all changed when I met my girlfriend, just over two years ago.

She has a long list of endearing qualities that I could go on about forever, but one of them is that she loves to help. I know that I can turn to her if I’m struggling with making a change. I know that she’s there to support me, keep me accountable and help me through.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been lucky enough to have plenty of other amazing, helpful family and friends around me before that would have loved to lend a hand. I was just too stubborn to allow them to.

Since I met her I’ve been able to:

1. Change my diet to one based on whole, plant foods

I did it once for a few months before I met her, then took a few months off to see if it made a difference. Second time round, things were much easier as we made the change together and held each other accountable.

2. Change the way that I train. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to have a ‘go hard or go home mentality’ with regards to training, which only led to me burning out and getting sick.

Under my girlfriend’s watchful eye, I’m now a bit more sensible about the way that I train, focussing more on the quality of my movements as opposed to completing as many sickening workouts in a week as possible.

3. Let more people in.

Michaela taught me that it’s okay to ask for help and to reach out when I’m in need.

I’m now more open to asking for help from others, which has meant that I’ve grown a lot quicker than I would have alone. I’ve also been able to help keep others accountable, allowing them to make changes. That’s a great feeling.

Accountability Sources

I’m lucky in that I now have a close support network in place that I can turn to if I need any help – friends, family members, and my girlfriend.

I know that if I set a target of meditating for thirty days in a row, I can check in with them to give me advice and help keep me accountable. If I’m flagging, they give me that extra motivation to keep going – I don’t want to let them down and have to tell them that I failed.

That’s the ideal – getting a few close friends and family members to help you through your habit changing journey. I realise however, that might not be available to everyone right now.

You might wanna change your diet, but you perhaps feel that the people around you will just make fun of you, or maybe they’re dealing with their own stuff at the moment and aren’t in a position to help you out.

Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to being a lone wolf for the rest of your life.

If you realise the importance of having a support network but it’s not available to you for some reason, or if you just want an extra helping hand, you might be interested in finding out a little more about my new online course.

It’s called Healthy Habits 101 – Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, and it’s all about helping you form lasting healthy habits, and getting rid of the ones that are holding you back.

The course can act as your virtual support network if you like. You’ll have access to me and plenty of like-minded students who will be working on their own changes. We can help keep each other accountable, increasing our chances of success.

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones is a mover, blogger and wellness enthusiast. He spends his time exploring and sharing ideas in mindful movement, healthy living and adventure.

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