Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pressing Delete

Everyone has that special someone, that person who, despite all odds, regardless of the battle won or lost, no matter what, will rain on your parade. They might not intend to crush your soul, but they do.

"I just completed my first 10k!" you may jubilantly exclaim, sweaty and flushed and holding your hard-won t-shirt. "When are you going to do a triathlon?" they'll reply. Your great accomplishment is never enough.

"I'm getting closer to my goal size!" you may enthuse to your family. "Do you really think you'll lose that much?" They doubt your fortitude, and plant the seed of doubt in you, as well.

"No dessert for me, I'm full," you may share at a celebration. "Are you on some kind of diet now?" may be the accusation as they scornfully eye you as if you're some kind of traitor.

Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. They get inside your head and jumble up your plan and try to sabotage your efforts. We all have at least one.

I've been thinking about mine lately, and even more now that a fellow historian/writer/fitness fanatic (only he actually gets paid to be a historian/writer/fitness fanatic, whereas I am only a legend in my own mind) posted this on his blog, CrushPlay. It's about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and influences, and getting rid of the people who crush your soul.

I usually refer to it as, "pressing delete."

I've pressed delete on workout buddies who slowed me down, friends who spread negativity everywhere, routines that distracted me from my goal, and habits that slowly and quietly sabotaged me. I've pressed delete on people who aren't ready to work on their goal, aren't serious about changing their health, or just plain don't follow through on their action steps. It's not personal, it doesn't mean we can't be friends. I am just not going to spend a lot of time trying to convince you of one's ability to reach a goal, yours or mine.

I've found that soul crushers have different motives. Some work from a place of envy - they wish they had the discipline to live a healthier life and don't want you to have it either. For others, they may feel resentment over losing their drinking or late-night snack buddy and try to make you stop taking the "fun" out of indulging in unhealthy habits. Some are just plain miserable in their own lives and don't want to see anyone succeed if they can't. And there are those who just don't think you can do it and don't want to see you get hurt when you fail.

Either way, that's fine. Their response has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to reach your health goal. It's a lot easier when you have support, but you don't need it. At least, not from where you may be expecting it. You can do it, whether soul-crushers are trying to sabotage you through planting the seed of doubt, protecting you from what they fear is going to end badly, or just doesn't think you have it in you. It sucks when these people aren't on your team, but that doesn't mean you can't keep winning.

It makes me sad and angry at times when people who are important to me doubt my chances at success, but ultimately the energy it would take to "convince" them is not worth the difference it would make in my ability to do it - which is none. There is absolutely no difference in my ABILITY to meet my goals whether people support me or not. It's a lot easier and more fun if they do, but it is not impossible for me to do it without them.

So I'm sure that some of you who know me in person are wondering if I am talking about you. :) I'm not. It's just been on my mind lately. A positive support network is absolutely essential to success, but keep in mind that it might not be where or who you expect. More on this next week.


KatieB said...

This is a great post. Such a thing has been on my mind lately as well. I just recently started walking (this is a first baby step from no exercise at all) but I haven't told anyone because of exactly what you mention. I have people who mean well, but they are not supportive. So far, keeping it to myself, and journaling my progress is keeping me on track and motivated.

I never thought about 'hitting the delete' on those people, or on habits that have undermined me in the past. That's a great idea, and one I'm going to try in my life.


EDP said...

"Their response has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to reach your health goal." Boy, this post was seriously needed today. Some people just won't go on that journey with you, and even when you reach your goal, they'll be asking whether you can maintain it. That's why I'm grateful to have such an encouraging, tough fitness cheerleader on my side. :-)

Michael said...

Well said-and when they are loved relatives it is even worse. But sometimes you just have to say-I would love to go to Black Bean for fried pork chunks tonight but I am at my caloric intake limit for the day!

Kid Eternity said...

I *****SO****** needed to read this/hear this today! Thank you!!!!