A coach posted a question the other day: “What’s the mistake most people make when they want to change their life?”
First off, what a big, awesome question. I dove in right away because my passion is helping people make positive changes in their lives in the realm of health and fitness. I consider myself to be a health and fitness “tour guide”- I let you choose the itinerary, but I make sure you experience the most important “must see” places, keeping you safe and enjoying your journey, and making sure it positively impacts your life.
My default answer for this question lately has been that people try to make too many changes at one time and therefore don’t or can’t measure whether something is working or not. Additionally, trying to do all the things right often leads to doing SOME of the things well SOME of the time. While the intention is TOTALLY in the right place, it’s hard to know if we are really making progress.
In reality, most people will be making forward progress in multiple things. Beginning an exercise routine brings attention to the other activities we do throughout the day- it’s nearly impossible to have tunnel vision on only one dimension of a bigger change. When I work with clients, the person focuses on tracking progress in one thing at a time on a metric that is entirely within their control. However, they often make progress on other measures of health and fitness as they move toward a bigger picture of a healthy lifestyle.
Another coach posted a great response to the question after I had posted my response, and it was “They think that they can do it alone.” Which I knew logically to be true, but somehow at the moment I read it…BOOM. Shifted my viewpoint a ton.
The Mistake of Going Alone
People in America are fond of independence. It’s seen as a strength, where relying on other people might seem to be the opposite. However, significant change is rarely made alone. It is usually the work of an excellent partnership, a team, or a group of people committed to a change.
For most of my adult I life, I was obese. I tried about every diet that was out there in order to lose weight and get healthy over about a decade. One mistake that I made was keeping my efforts a secret and trying to go it alone. Which is totally normal, by the way. I mean, who wants to tell other people that you are trying to lose weight? Because what if I failed (which I did. Many times)? And what if they judged me for failing?
The first time I reached out for real, professional help, I made significant change. I was welcomed into an existing community almost immediately, and I had a personal guide for helping me sort through my shit. Of course, 10 years of trying to lose weight prior to that helped me tremendously in terms of background knowledge, but what was the difference? I wasn’t alone anymore. People supported and applauded my efforts. Others helped me stay accountable to the things I said I was going to do. It was, in effect, the single most impactful period of change in my life.
A few years into health and fitness coaching, I was feeling drained, burnt, and ready to look for another job. Fortunately at the time, I happened upon a community of coaches that I felt like I FINALLY fit in. Joining this community gave me tons of information, inspiration, a language to express my ideas, and a sense that I wasn’t alone. I felt welcomed. It completely transformed my outlook on coaching long-term, and gave me a new network of people from whom to draw support and accountability. Becoming part of a community and connecting with others has accelerated my business, elevated my relationships with clients, and erased some of the self-doubt and fear I felt.
Using a Group for Health and Fitness Changes
Now I make sure that I continue to build in support and community for my clients and also for myself. Of course, I love being around people, so it’s natural for me to gravitate toward others who share my interests or are working on the same things that I am.
But even for those clients who don’t love being around others, it is one of my favorite things in the world when they decide they are ready to move away from individual training and into a small group of other clients. They instantly have a connection from me, and their common ground with others with similar goals or aspirations seems to drive them further along their path toward change. I have had the pleasure to watch friendships blossom, book clubs form, and weekend workout plans emerge from connecting my clients together. I want them to have the same experience that I had.
Today, it’s easier than ever to make connections to a community. The community doesn’t have to be physical- in fact I coach both online and in person, and most of my connections to other coaches and entrepreneurs are online. The beauty is that you can connect to anyone in the world, at a certain time or asynchronously so that you can find your tribe. If you’re in something for the long game, then you’ll want some friends for the journey.
Don’t know where to get some support? You can always join my free Facebook community- SO Fit Community. Click the link and then click “Join Group”! See you in there!