Recently, the Habits of Health community has been exploring support systems and the power that comes with building Habits of Healthy Surroundings. Our goal is to become conscious of how we are feeling and how we are reacting to the world around us. That awareness can give us the presence of mind to Stop. Challenge. Choose. when we feel ourselves drifting toward feeling like a victim, villain, or hero.
Awareness is a powerful tool in your arsenal, but we can also build a support system for ourselves that makes choosing the healthy path even easier. If ideas like living above the line and escaping the drama triangle are new for you, you may want to flip to page 143 of Dr. A’s Habits of Health to learn more about these concepts.
Caught up? Great. Let’s customize your support system.
Your Ideal Support System: Microenvironment of Health
Just like there are no silver bullets or magic pills for creating optimal health, there are no instant shortcuts for building your ideal support system. We need multiple sources of support to insulate us from unhealthy influences and to help guide us on the path that leads to our goals.
No two support systems will look exactly the same. After all, we are all unique individuals with our own backstories, viewpoints, learning styles, and social dynamics. Most support systems, though, will include the following building blocks:
- Your coach: This trusted mentor is available to guide and encourage you as you work to create optimal wellbeing.
- Habits of Health Transformational System: Your step by step guide for staying on course to transform your life.
- Your LifeBook: An interactive journal that provides many of the benefits of a health coach.
- Healthy peers: Studies show that by associating with the people who have the qualities we desire, we are more likely to develop those qualities in ourselves.
- Online support: Whether it’s who you follow on social media or what online communities occupy your time, the rewards here are akin to the healthy peers you call friends.
- Social community: Feeling connected to your community and your family is important for your health.
- Fuelings: Easy to use and quick to access sources of healthy nutrition.
And these are just the beginning. I’ve met clients who expand their support system by changing the television they watch and the books they read. They turn off talk radio and instead listen to audiobooks and podcasts about self-development or about topics that interest them. They fill their homes and workplaces with reminders of their goals – from notes to themselves to mason jars full of rocks that represent their choices and aspirations. And they might join a new community or pick up a healthy hobby like cycling or yoga or hiking.
Our goal here is not to force you into someone else’s box. No! We want you to build the perfect box for yourself, customized specifically to you so you feel empowered, supported, and energized each and everyday.
Where to Begin
If you read the list above and felt overwhelmed, it’s okay. You don’t need to change everything all at once. In fact, that’s probably the least sustainable path you could take. Pick one area of your support system and optimize that first. Then add more and more pieces over time, gradually.
Here are some tips:
- A health coach can become a cornerstone for all of your future Habits of Health because of their ability to support and guide you.
- Read Your LifeBook in sequence and use the exercises in the book to start transforming how you think and how you connect to the world around you.
- Reflect on how your surroundings and identify one thing you could change or remove that would make you healthier (which could mean spending more time with health-minded people or perhaps taking the television out of your bedroom).
- Be easy on yourself. Learning to live above the line takes practice, and it will take time to optimize your surroundings as well, so give yourself the runway to learn and grow.
Where will you start? If you’re open to sharing, I’d love your stories!