That Company You Keep

“If you associate with eagles you will learn how to sore.”   Major Colin Powell Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services – National Region, Flickr.
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services – National Region, Flickr.

Proverbs, Plato, Confucius, poets, self-help gurus and a slew of motivational speakers agree: “You become like those whom you spend the most time.” And nowhere is this premise more apropos then when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

You may think you’re a strong-minded individualistic sort, but whom you hang with has a tremendous impact on your attitude, thoughts, habits and everyday actions. If you’ve recently committed to a healthy lifestyle, you may be feeling a bit lost. While all your work colleagues are heading to hump day happy hour, you’re lacing up your new running sneaks and mournfully waving goodbye.

Surrounding yourself with a health-conscious crowd is one of the keys to making your new lifestyle work. But, where are all these sweat-loving pals when you need ‘em? (Don’t worry; we still go to the pub, just not every Wednesday!)

If you are looking for a supportive environment, I’ve got a few suggestions.

Group of gym people exercising on cardio machines

Where to Find Support for Your Healthy Lifestyle

1. The Gym. This one might seem a little obvious, but I love my gym. Although motivations may differ — burn fat, gain muscle, de-stress, improve a golf swing — everybody in the place is moving their body in one fashion or another and I find comfort knowing that I am not alone in my endeavor. The hum of the treadmills, the clank of the weights, even the smell of the place jump-starts my motivation.

After awhile, everybody knows your name (sound familiar?) and that front left spot in the group exercise room is left vacant until you arrive. My best workouts have always been done in a group environment vs. doing them alone at home.

2. Yoga Studios. Practicing yoga at a legit studio has a complete different feel then exercising in a gym-like setting. When competition and ego are pushed aside, yoga can take you far beyond the physical body and help you find personal acceptance and grow in unimaginable ways.

Moving as one unit makes me feel like I am part of something much bigger than myself. I’m always in a good mood when I leave yoga and have a sense of belonging.

3. Meetup Groups. Meetups are a community of people with like interests. Group hiking, biking, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, you name it — it’s available and usually free!

Similar interests create instant camaraderie. I’ve had great luck meeting like-minded peeps at my local meetups. There are more than 200,000 different groups scattered across 182 countries, so chances are there is somebody out there with whom you’ll make a connection.

4. Canine Companions. Last but not least, if you truly lack motivation, get a dog! Pets are a huge commitment and one not to take lightly, but if you are in search of that elusive workout partner. adopting a dog could be the answer to your prayers. It’s a win-win situation in more ways than one.

Life changes can be a tough transition. Don’t go it alone. Until you find your rhythm surround yourself with people who have the same priorities. Before you know, it old habits will be replaced with new ones and you can encourage others to join you in your new healthy lifestyle.

Who do you have in your healthy lifestyle corner? I recently joined a hiking meetup in my city and cannot believe all of the hidden trails they have shown me. —Karen

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