Following through with a desired change in behavior can be a challenge. Sometimes, its as simple as forgetting what you said you would do. For example, I recently decided to drastically reduce my intake of processed sugar because I feel SOOOO good when I don’t eat it.
But, here’s the rub: I’m not always conscious of the fact that the thing I’m about to enjoy contains processed sugar. It’s not that I don’t know, it’s that in the moment, I’m not thinking. It takes a wake-up call from a partner to help me reconnect with reality. A gentle reminder, and I have a fresh opportunity to make a conscious choice. What a sweet lesson.
Having a social support system is a proven way to keep us on track. Friends, family and co-workers, or members of a formal group hold us accountable, remind us our of commitments and even reward us when we succeed. According to a University of Minnesota article on the topic, it’s important to select a social support system that makes us feel good. The article issues this word of caution. “Remember that spending time with them should make you feel accepted, peaceful, and energized, not coerced or anxious.”
There are both emotional and physical benefits of having a good social support system. The article points out that they’ve, “been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological consequences of stress, and may enhance immune function.”
So, whenever you’re trying to change your behavior, engage the support of an ally – someone who will help you stay awake and be true to your commitment by respectfully posing a question or making a statement that causes you to pause, think and make a mindful, deliberate decision – hopefully, in favor of your intended goal.