Nearing the end of this 10 part series, here we are at loophole #8, the Concern For Others Loophole. This one is self-serving in disguise as selflessness. How often do you tell yourself you’re doing something for others, that unnecessarily puts your healthy habits on the back burner? If you think you’re innocent, see if any of these statements sound familiar:
“Allison would be offended if I don’t eat the doughnuts she brought for the office.”
“My aunt is only in town for a few days, I should spend time with her instead of going to the gym.”
“I’m not buying chips for me, my kids like them so I need to stock up.”
“My husbands had a busy day, I can’t ask him to make dinner while I go to run group.”
“I won’t be thought of for that promotion if I don’t go to every happy hour.”
Even for women who aren’t as affected by what others think of them, when it comes to life at home, it tends to be the rest of the family before them. It’s understandable that no one wishes to hurt friends’ feelings, alienate ourselves at work, or have our kids binge on sugar at friends’ houses because they are deprived at home. However, that doesn’t mean your healthy habits can’t stay in tact!
The truth is; no one cares nearly as much as you think! It may sound harsh, but it’s actually refreshing news if you truly wish to stay on track. In a previous post (Navigating the Work Event Minefield) we looked at the office treat pusher and happy hour organizer. But it turns out, you can have your cake and [not] eat it, too. Networking doesn’t have to include 3 glasses of wine, you don’t have to eat doughnuts for breakfast or cake for everyone’s birthday, and you certainly don’t have to order the burger, fries, and soda at team lunch. Try a club soda with lime to ease the awkwardness of making small talk sans alcohol, thank the doughnut bringer even though you didn’t eat one, and make healthy choices when out for lunch (for tips on dining out without filling out, check out this post!).
It’s very common for women to sacrifice their workouts to spend time with others, thinking they can’t have both quality time with a visiting friend, spouse, or kids and get a workout in. This notion goes back to the first loophole we covered; the False Choice Loophole. Look at the above reasoning I mentioned – not working out because your aunt is only in town a few days – now, stop and think about that. Are you really with her 24/7? Can you do something active together? Would she truly feel put out if you told her you can meet her at 6:30 instead of 5:30 because you have a weightlifting class you enjoy and don’t want to skip?
Odds are, when you state that your workout (or avoiding junk food, or getting to bed by 10pm, etc.) is a priority to you, your friends and family will support you. I like to talk to clients about recruiting their support team, and how imperative it can be for them to reach their goals. Telling your spouse how much running the half-marathon means to you and why it’s so important, getting them on board with your goal and your plan, makes it much easier to ask them to pitch in so you can get your run in. Thanking your coworker for bringing in cookies and telling her you’re, “really working hard on cutting out sugar, but they look great!” can ease the guilt you may have felt by not indulging.
The next time you feel you can’t stick to your habits because of the way it effects someone else, stop and think how much – if at all – they are actually put upon. More often than not, it’s not even on their radar.
Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.