There’s no “I” in team, but “U” can be found in any group. Whatever physical activity goal you’re striving for, you don’t have to do it alone. There are people around you who want to see you succeed. In fact, they may even want to work with you to achieve similar things.
Here’s how you can access motivation and support from the various people in your day-to-day life:
First and foremost, the people you live with will have a massive influence on your ability to follow through with your plans and goals. You’ve probably already talked with them about what you’re trying to do, but if you haven’t yet, be sure to do so. Their encouragement will help you stick with it.
A spouse, partner or roommate can be the last line of defense when you have an activity session scheduled but you’re feeling reluctant or low on energy. They’ll encourage you to go. They’ll say to just do the best you can. They’ll remind you how great you’ll feel afterwards. And they’ll be right.
If you have kids, take advantage of their infectious energy, particularly when it comes to being active outside. Shovel the driveway as a team, build a snowman, go sledding, walk to school, or take the scenic route to pick up the mail. Every little bit counts, so if it gets you moving, it’s a win.
On a typical day, who do you spend the most time with? Your co-workers are likely near the top of that list. Find someone who’s on a similar wavelength when it comes to fitting activity time into the workday.
This could mean a walking meeting, a walk to the coffee shop, a lunchtime workout, a quick break to climb the stairs, or any other mini activity break you can dream up. If it helps you can be self-deprecating about it with your other colleagues. To break the ice, start calling yourselves something goofy like “the wacky walkers” or “the step-counting fanatics”. It’s not so weird if two of you are doing it together, especially if you’re owning the fact that it’s a little “outside the box.”
If your workplace has the right dynamic for a bit of friendly competition, it might be the right time to stage an office Olympics or a similar challenge where various departments track their steps or some other activity. If you’re creative and get the right people on board, you may be amazed at the positive momentum it creates.
Meeting a friend for coffee? Take it with you on a walk-and-talk session. Wanting to try out that new yoga studio? Invite one of your pals to take a trial class with you. Going with a friend can help relieve some of the tension you may feel about trying something outside your comfort zone.
It’s well known that working out with a buddy helps with accountability, as you’re more likely to keep a commitment you make to a friend than one you make just to yourself.
In addition, friends can bolster your motivation through social media. Make your goals public and share your progress on a daily or weekly basis. Some activity trackers allow you to download and post your workout data directly to your social media feed. It might seem self-involved, but remember: these are your friends. They want to support you, especially when you’re doing something positive. When they reply with a smiley face, thumbs-up emoji or “I’m proud of you” comment, it will help keep you going.
TEAMMATES & CLASSMATES
Joining a recreational sports team is a great way to fill your schedule with active time slots. It simplifies the process because the league schedule is out of your hands – your job is simply to show up when your team is playing. You’re more likely to make it happen because if you skip a night, you know you’ll be leaving your teammates short-handed.
Similarly, if you become a regular at a particular exercise class, you’ll get to know the other regulars and possibly the instructor, too. When they give you a high-five and say “see you next time,” it helps you build a positive and rewarding routine.
The real advantage here is that they’re close by. During your daily comings and goings, seize active opportunities like walking the neighbour’s dog, shooting hoops on the driveway or heading to the park as a group. If the family next door goes away on vacation, perform a random act of kindness (and give yourself a bonus workout) by shovelling their driveway.
When you’re at the nearby playground with your kids, chat with the other people there, as they may be on a similar mission to be more active. They may know about a great local recreation program or a new nature trail that you’ve got to check out.
Remember, you don’t have to do this all on your own. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people and you will make steady progress toward your goal. After all, it’s easier to move forward when others have got your back.