Over the years I've worked as a Wellness & Nutrition Coach, I've had the privilege of witnessing the ebbs and flows of countless health goals – and I've noticed a recurring theme that deserves a deep dive. This series is brought to you by my urge to uncover with you the patterns that have led many of my amazing clients, and even myself, to stumble on our health goals. Keeping it real – we've all been there, chasing after those seemingly unattainable expectations and falling short of our goals. Wondering why this just "never stick" or we just "can't" get on top of our health.
This week we're talking about our support system (or lack thereof) and how to "find your tribe" that will help you achieve greater success.
psst... don't feel like reading? you can listen along here!
Support Systems... What are they?
Your support system is your network. These individuals should provide emotional, practical, and motivational assistance to someone pursuing their goals or facing challenges. It consists of people who genuinely care about you and are willing to offer encouragement, guidance, and understanding during various life experiences.
A support system is not solely limited to times of crisis but is beneficial in all aspects of life, including personal growth, goal achievement, and emotional well-being. The strength of a support system lies in its ability to create a safe and nurturing environment where individuals can share their struggles, celebrate successes, and rely on each other in times of need.
Some of us are blessed to be surrounded by our loving, supportive community. And there are also many reasons why life doesn't quite work out that way.
Why You Might Not Have Your Support System:
Limited Awareness: Some individuals may not fully recognize the benefits of having a support system or may not be aware of how it can positively impact their health goals, therefore it is not a priority to create this community. Luckily, once you realize this is something you truly want and need, there are many ways you can create it in your own life - and I will share some with you later!
Isolation: Modern lifestyles, especially in urban settings, can lead to increased isolation and reduced social connections. Busy schedules and digital communication may limit opportunities for meaningful in-person interactions. Do you have those friends you just go months without seeing because your schedules don't match up? Well, how can you support each other like that?
Geographical Distance: Life happens! And people may move away from their original support network due to job relocations, education, or personal circumstances, making it challenging to maintain strong connections.
Fear of Vulnerability: The fear of being judged or rejected can prevent people from seeking support. Opening up about health goals and challenges requires vulnerability, which some may find uncomfortable or risky. Which goes hand-in-hand with the next point.
Stigma Surrounding Health Issues: The stigma associated with certain health conditions or goals may discourage individuals from seeking support. They may fear being labeled or misunderstood by others. We may fear getting made fun of. We may fear that if we tell people what our goals are, and we don't hit them, then that's even MORE embarrassing. So just keep it to yourself, right?
Cultural and Social Norms: Cultural and societal norms can influence the perception of asking for help or relying on others. In some cultures, self-reliance and individualism are highly valued, leading to a reluctance to seek support. In such cultural contexts, asking for help might be seen as a sign of weakness or dependency, which can create a barrier to seeking support. Individuals may fear judgment or negative perceptions from others if they express vulnerability or admit that they need assistance. Additionally, social norms can influence how individuals prioritize their needs. Some cultures prioritize collective well-being over individual goals, leading individuals to focus less on their personal health and wellness. As a result, seeking support for health-related endeavors might not be a common practice.
Now if you've found yourself in this situation, all is not lost! There are plenty of ways you can re-build or create a new support system in your own life.
Let's talk about the benefits of having a support system real quick:
Motivation and Encouragement: When you have a support system, you're surrounded by people who genuinely care about your success. They offer continuous motivation and encouragement, uplifting you during challenging times and celebrating your victories.
Accountability and Focus: Your support system helps keep you accountable for your actions and progress. Knowing that others are cheering you on can boost your focus and commitment to staying on track with your health goals.
Knowledge and Guidance: Within your support system, you may find mentors, coaches, or individuals with experience in health and wellness. They can provide valuable insights, guidance, and practical tips to navigate obstacles and optimize your efforts.
Emotional Well-Being: Pursuing health goals can be emotionally taxing at times. Having a support system means having a safe space to share your feelings, receive validation, and gain emotional support during the highs and lows of your journey.
Sense of Belonging: Building connections with like-minded individuals who share similar health aspirations creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie. This fosters a supportive community where everyone can uplift and inspire each other.
Increased Resilience: When faced with setbacks or challenges, a support system can help you bounce back faster. Knowing you have a network to rely on provides a sense of security, boosting your resilience to persevere through obstacles.
Exposure to New Ideas: Interacting with others in your support system exposes you to diverse perspectives, insights, and ideas. This can expand your knowledge and approach to health, offering fresh ways to enhance your well-being.
Reduced Stress: Sharing the journey with a support system can alleviate stress and reduce feelings of isolation. Being part of a community that understands your struggles and offers assistance can lighten the emotional load.
Increased Confidence: Knowing you have people who believe in you can enhance your self-confidence. This newfound confidence can lead to positive self-talk and self-belief, making you more likely to achieve your health goals.
Long-Term Success: Studies have shown that individuals with a strong support system are more likely to achieve and sustain their health goals over time. The consistent encouragement and guidance from your network contribute to long-term success.
Need I say more?! If you feel like your current support system is not fulfilling your needs or is inadequate, don't worry – there are steps you can take to improve or expand your support network.
How to develop your support system:
Assess Your Needs: Reflect on what kind of support you require for your health goals. Determine whether you need emotional support, practical guidance, accountability, or all of the above. This will help you identify the gaps in your current support system.
Communicate Your Needs: If you feel comfortable, talk to the people in your existing support system about what you need. They may not be aware of how they can best support you, and open communication can make a significant difference.
Seek Like-Minded Communities: Look for local or online communities, support groups, or forums that align with your health goals and interests. Joining these communities can provide you with a new network of individuals who share similar experiences and can offer valuable support.
Seek Professional Help: If you're facing challenges that require specialized support, don't hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals or therapists who can provide the assistance you need.
Set Boundaries: If some relationships in your support system are toxic or unsupportive, consider setting healthy boundaries or distancing yourself from negative influences.
Be Patient: Building a new support system takes time. Be patient and persistent in your efforts to find and cultivate meaningful connections.
Where to look to expand your support system!
Family and Friends: Close friends and family members are often the primary members of a person's support system. They offer emotional support, lend a listening ear, and provide encouragement.
Mentors and Coaches: These are experienced individuals who offer guidance and expertise in specific areas, such as health, career, or personal development.
Support Groups and Communities: Joining groups with individuals who share similar goals or experiences can provide a sense of belonging, mutual understanding, and encouragement.
Online Networks: Virtual communities and social media platforms can connect people worldwide, allowing them to find support from like-minded individuals.
Healthcare Professionals: Medical and mental health professionals can form an essential part of a support system, offering expert advice and guidance.
Colleagues and Peers: In a professional setting, colleagues and peers can provide support, encouragement, and collaboration.
Teachers and Mentors: During education or training, teachers and mentors play a critical role in offering guidance and support.
Religious or Spiritual Groups: For some, religious or spiritual communities provide a support system through shared beliefs and values.
Remember, it's okay to outgrow or reevaluate your support system as you evolve on your health journey. Surrounding yourself with individuals who uplift and encourage you is essential for success. Focus on building a network that aligns with your goals and aspirations, and don't hesitate to seek support from various sources to create a robust and empowering support system that suits your needs best.
Join our community of friends who are also on their nutrition journey!
Don't miss out on Eat Well With Steph, a vibrant online wellness community that's all about elevating your health and happiness! Imagine being part of a supportive network, where your victories are celebrated, your challenges are understood, and your well-being is the top priority. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to embrace a happier and healthier life.
Discover how good it feels to fuel your body with healthy, delicious food.
Not sure if working with a Wellness & Nutrition Coach is right for you? Book a FREE discovery call & let's chat about the areas you need support in, & I'll see if I can help.
PS: You are worthy of living and capable of creating a healthy lifestyle you love. 🤍