What if your best friends were Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg & Oprah Winfrey? Do you think your life would be different?
What if your best friends were Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Lamar Odom & Charlie Sheen? Do you think your life would be different then?
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Think about who those people are for you. They have a huge impact on your life.
They may be your friends, family, co-workers, people you’re on a committee with, parents of your children’s friends, people in a class you’re taking,
All of these people can affect what you eat, where you go to eat, what you wear, if you workout, how you workout, what you do in your free time, your spending habits, what books you read, what activities you have your kids do, your mindset, how successful you are.
If you think about it for a few minutes, I bet you’ll come up with a dozen examples to support this. I think about being in college, living in a suite with 7 other girls. We wound up spending our free time together, eating the same things, wearing the same clothes, watching the same tv shows, joining the same clubs.
Quite frequently, I see how people’s health is affected by their family and friends. I have a client who needs to lose well over 100 pounds. His wife also needs to lose weight, but isn’t taking any action to do so & seems to be sabotaging his weight loss efforts. He’s scheduled to workout with me after work. His wife often makes plans for them to go out to dinner when we are scheduled to workout. Also, he goes upstairs after dinner to avoid being by the kitchen and tempted to eat more. His wife bakes cookies & brings them up to him after he has gone upstairs.
I have another client whom I see in the morning. Recently, she and her friend planned to go into the city for the day. Her plan was to workout and then go into the city. When she arrived for her session, she said her friend was giving her a hard time and was trying to get her to cancel her training session even though she had time to workout before they left. She said it’s hard for her because her friends don’t exercise & they are always trying to get her to blow off working out.
I think about my group of friends. They all exercise. When we’re making plans, working out is often mentioned. If we’re doing something on a Saturday, someone might say, “I’m running a race in the morning” or “I’m taking 9:30 spin class, so by the time I get home, shower & change, I can meet at noon”. Or, when making plans after work, “I want to go for a quick run when I get home, so let’s meet at 8”. We expect exercise to be a part of each other’s schedules. We support it.
We can also be affected by other people’s eating & drinking habits. Again, college life comes to mind. I have memories of people being cheered on to do shots and eating junk food late night.
And, for some reason, people like to push desserts on others. Have you ever tried to say “no thanks” to a piece of birthday cake? People are adamant that you have a piece of their birthday cake. “It’s my birthday! You have to have a piece of cake!”
People you hang out with can affect your mood. When I was working in marketing, I dealt with vendors. There were 2 guys we mainly used for the same thing. One of them was a total downer. Whenever we spoke & I asked “how are you?”, he would sigh & complain about something. The other guy was the exact opposite. When I asked him how he was, he always said, “I’m great!” with much enthusiasm. I knew he wasn’t always great, but he always said he was. And, it always struck me how much nicer it was to talk to him than the other guy.
Think about the 5 people you spend the most time with. Do they have healthy habits? Do they enrich your life? Are they happy? Are they successful? Do you respect them?
Think about your ideal self—the person you try to be daily, and the one you are working towards becoming. Do the people you surround yourself with support your efforts? Do they encourage you to take action to become better?
If you answered "yes" to all, great! You’re hanging with the right people!
If you answered "no" to any of the questions, you need to find people who will help you be the best you. There are plenty of them out there! They may not live next door, but there are groups for just about anything these days. And, with social media, it's easy to find like-minded people.
I work alone but want to connect with other people who share my enthusiasm for helping people lead healthy lives, so I attend conferences and join groups on social media with people who share my interests. People post information, questions, struggles, and total strangers responded with answers and support – it’s great!
There are supportive people out there for you to connect with, it doesn’t matter where you live! You just need to find those people!
Remember: you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It’s worth your time and effort to make sure you surround yourself with the right people—people who will help you be your best.