Who are you doing it for?

Is peer pressure getting to you?

Ben recently put out a video about goal setting and what you really need to consider to achieve a better life. Watch it HERE.

But what can we do when you have firmly established what your goals but peer pressure gets in the way? When we set goals for ourselves, no matter what they are, doing so forces us to alter our day-to-day habits in some way because achieving something requires change, and it is these habits which are the first thing to get affected.

So if your goal is to change your body composition by losing fat and gaining muscle, it might mean an extra couple of training sessions per week and changing your approach to eating out socially – you may become the ‘bore’ who orders a steak and asks for potatoes instead of chips, your alcoholic drink might become a mineral water, and you might have to be forced to give the Pizza Hut buffet a miss. This is obviously going to have an impact on your social and family life.

When you say you’d rather not go out clubbing all night or your friends see you altering menu items to suit your goals, then comments from your friends and family such as “you’re boring/obsessed/neurotic” crop up.

Another example is a pet peeve of mine: The stares and sarcastic comments from work colleagues when you pull out a pre-packed healthy meal at work rather than popping to the bakery.

How do we deal with this?

Firstly we have to realise that’s it human nature to be curious about other people’s lives. Social media allows us to know what’s going on in anyone’s life at any point in time and therefore subconsciously making us feel like we have the right to know the in’s and out’s of peoples private lives. It’s become a habit to look at and judge people for their choices, because it’s so easy to do it through your phone at any moment of the day, and humans are social creatures who LOVE a gossip (even an internal one).

If you’ve been in the game for a while and you’ve created the habits needed to create/maintain a body which is healthy and high-performance then it’s relatively easy to refuse the beer/ask for your dressing on the side - however if you’re embarking on a journey that’s new to you, how do you deal with the peer pressure?

I asked my clients this question because they are all in different situations and here are some tips to help:
Get a support system – this means friends and similar like-minded people who you can spend time with encouraging one another by doing the same thing. So maybe you all get together at the weekend and go for a long walk with trackers to record your steps and then during the week see who can achieve the most overall steps.

"Get a support system - friends and similar like-minded people…"

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When your family questions your food choices- why are you not eating the cake/ having the chips? Or having vegetables AGAIN, remember that this is not a reflection of you. Many issues stem from family traditions and their own attitudes towards nutrition and ways of eating (remember, you only just became interested in nutrition yourself, so it’s unfair to expect them to understand completely).

When your particular goal is to improve your health by making better food choices often we can come against a barrage of questions and disapproval. Seeing as a lot of the time, people’s comments can be due to a lack of knowledge on their behalf - try gently explaining why you are doing something and making those choices; try not to be condescending or judgemental, just tell them why you are doing what you do, rather than why they should too – the final decision is just theirs. Be firm, if you have to repeat the process time and time again then do so. They will soon get the picture.

Most importantly remember that YOUR goal is not the same as THEIR goal for you, and it’s probably very different from their goal for their own health.

When friends know your goals and question why you are eating chocolate/ red wine/ dessert- explaining the concept of ‘balance’ can be hard. Eating well is not the same as ‘being on a diet’.

If people ask you why you are always ‘ on a diet’ you can simply explain that eating this way is improving your health/how you feel/your energy levels/ how you sleep at night and it’s not just about losing fat. Let them know that by changing certain aspect in your daily routine you are beginning to see the changes you are aiming for and reaping those benefits. It’s a positive change, not something you are doing to make life worse for yourself or just for the sake of being vain.

When friends state that you are ‘obsessed’ by training/ going to the gym/ running, remind them that this is something which is important to you and which you enjoy. If they watch TV for 3 hours in the evening, or they go out of their way to stand in the cold and watch a football match it’s not because they’re obsessed, it’s because these are habits which they have formed, it’s because they enjoy it, and it’s because they want to do it.
Then, remind them that what you are doing isn’t that weird anyway – it just so happens that you are choosing to do a different form of exercise than running, which is what most people see as ‘normal’. When someone’s goal is running a marathon, no one questions why they are out running 4x a week or going for a run before breakfast. No-one asks them why they need to eat 6 Weetabix.

So if you are being questioned about spending your evenings in the gym or doing a training session outdoors on a Sunday morning, or if someone asks you if you really need 5 eggs for breakfast today, compare it to something they can relate to in order to make it more understandable. Essentially a goal is a goal – and it shouldn’t matter if yours is a little different in the eyes of your mum.

It comes down to Repetition and Consistency- just as we always say at BTN – consistency is key. It’s the same for affirmation. Repeating your cause over and over again will soon get boring to those asking. (Believe me it’s taken some of my friends over 2 decades to finally stop asking if I want an alcoholic drink and saying ‘go ON just have one!’).

Being strong in your mind is as difficult as being strong in your body. But they are YOUR goals not anyone else’s.