Building bridges: structuring your health success

01.16.14 |

When you consider your health, deciding your goals is probably not difficult

Of course you’d love to be healthier and more active.

You want to spend more time with your friends and family. You want to play catch with your kids. You want to climb a flight of stairs without being out of breath. You may even want to travel abroad or climb a mountain or run a marathon.

Having goals is a good first step, but goals alone aren’t enough to inspire a lasting change. We need to position those goals within a structure that support them. With the right structure, our chance of success goes up. With the wrong structure, our chance of success goes down.

Think of it this way: If you are building a bridge over a chasm, you want a bridge that’s strong, durable, and reliable. If you don’t build the bridge way, you will never reach the other side.

When we are building a bridge toward our goals, many structures are important. In the Habits of Health and in Discover Your Optimal Health, I talk a great deal about structural tension charts—the suspension bridges of healthy habits. Structural tensions charts are even a part of the 12-Week Health Transformation.

But today, I wanted to talk to you about a different kind of structure.

Building a bridge can be challenging. There are a lot of pieces, and sometimes those pieces might feel too heavy to lift by yourself. The journey to realizing your goals can be easier if you create a support network, surrounding yourself with likeminded people that will help and encourage you when you need it most.

This social structure can be incredibly powerful, and in my experience it is one of the most important tools for ensuring a client’s success. Whether you need help putting the pieces of your bridge in place or a safety net to help you back up if you fall, creating relationships with supportive, inspiring people can mean the difference between making your goals a reality and slipping back into Habits of Disease.

Support networks

People in your support network will fall into three general categories, and all of them are helpful:

  • Mentors: These people give you advice and guidance, helping to steer you to make the right choices and coaching you through hard times. Sometimes mentors are trained health professionals, and other times they are simply people you know that have made the same kind of change that you want to make. And it’s okay to have multiple mentors!
  • Peers: Connecting yourself to people that are at the same point in the journey as you are can give you a shoulder to lean on and to help you feel less isolated. You aren’t alone. There are many other people experiencing the same challenges. You can learn from each other, and you can help each other.
  • Newbies: When you are a few weeks or months into your journey, seeing someone just begin his or her own journey can provide a special type of inspiration. You get a better sense of how far you have come, and you have the empowering opportunity to help someone, to be a mentor, which in turn strengthens your own commitment to health.

If you aren’t sure where to start building your support network, visit my Facebook page or the Take Shape For Life page, and you can start talking to people just like you today!