It goes without saying that transforming your life is not easy. In fact, it’s extremely difficult and often filled with setbacks. Whether it’s pursuing the career of your dreams, moving on from a bad relationship, finishing your degree, losing weight, or something else altogether, life-changing pursuits push us to our boundaries and test our limits.
As someone who was drastically overweight for many years, I can attest to the difficulty of turning your life around. That being said, I managed to go from obese and living a sedentary, junk-food fueled lifestyle to a healthy weight and clean living in one year. I went from nearly 200 lbs at my highest weight (193 to be exact) and dropped to 118 lbs in just under one year. How did I do it?
I believe one of the keys was that two of my closest friends were also pursuing the same goal – to get to a healthy weight within one year. I strongly believe that pursuing life-changing goals is infinitely easier when that pursuit is shared with friends and here is why:
When me and 2 of my closest friends decided to fully commit to losing weight and undergoing a total lifestyle transformation, probably the biggest benefit of setting the same common goal was that we could hold each other accountable. Whether it’s going to the gym regularly, buying healthy groceries, choosing healthy dishes when we went out to eat – it’s great to have trusted friends who can drag you along to a workout or take you grocery shopping.
Having accountability reduces excuse making and makes it hard to rationalize your way out of tough challenges. I can count several times where I rationalized cheating on my diet plan and skipping workouts, but when my excuses were subjected to the unyielding scrutiny of my closest friends, it suddenly became clear that I was merely avoiding a difficult task.
Not Wanting To Let Each Other Down
This is the other side of the accountability coin. In fact, I’d say it’s even more powerful – no one wants to be the one who lets down their friends. In my case, letting down my friends meant eating unhealthy, not meeting our monthly weight loss goals, or skipping workouts at the gym. I’ll admit, I missed a few workouts here and there, but the feeling of guilt and the sense that I had let down my friends made it much harder to skip the next workout.
While this feeling of not wanting to let down your friends is powerful in itself, it can be leveraged to make it an even stronger motivator. For example, rather than set individual monthly weight loss targets, me and my friends created shared monthly weight loss goals. If I wanted to lose 5 pounds for the month, and my friends wanted to lose 4 pounds and 7 pounds respectively, we would combine our goals so that we had to lose 16 pounds collectively for the month. This meant that if any of us didn’t reach our goals, we would not only be letting down ourselves, but our friends as well. We never missed our monthly weight loss targets
Sense Of Camaraderie
There’s something ingrained in the human psyche that craves being part of a team. This feeling is magnified when your team is working towards something in common that you all desire. When you’re working with your closest friends towards a life changing goal, you feel a sense of closeness and passion. This feeling acts as a kind of synergy that fuels you to push yourself to the limits while you work towards your goals. Whether it’s pushing through a tough workout, grinding out a tough study session, or taking extra shifts at work, the energy you draw from your friendships can be the difference between success and failure.
Pursuing life-changing goals often means forcing yourself to do many things that you don’t enjoy, but pursuing a challenging goal with friends can make even the unpleasant tasks fun. In my case, I really disliked shopping for healthy groceries, cooking, and going to the gym – all very necessary tasks if you want to live a healthy lifestyle and lose weight. But by turning grocery shopping into a weekly excursion with girlfriends, getting together after workouts to cook and share a healthy dinner, and sharing laughs at the gym between exercises, the toughest parts of losing weight suddenly became activities that I looked forward to every week.
How Can You Change Your Life?
While my experience relates to weight loss, perhaps you’ve realized that these principles can apply to any aspect of your life that needs drastic transformation. In fact, I’m sure your friends can change your life in many more ways than the few that I listed above. Do you want to quit your job to pursue a passion, travel the world, or perhaps start your own business? Do you need to cut back on your poor spending habits and get out of debt? What about going back to school? Or even if you just want to learn to be a great dancer, ride horses, climb mountains, or scuba dive – we all have changes that we want to make in our lives, and often times we’re not alone. The next time you want to embark on a life changing endeavor, why not bring a few friends along for the ride? You’re much more likely to get to your destination.