Peer pressure is something we tend to associate with adolescents. However, it doesn’t take much observation to realise that it is in fact present in all our lives. That’s not to say that all peer pressure is bad. A personal trainer trying to motivate you to push that much harder is a good example of positive peer pressure. Unfortunately, we also face negative peer pressure, especially when we try to lead a healthier lifestyle. It makes it that much harder to stay motivated.
You’d think that you friends and family would encourage you and help you to stay motivated.
Most of us at one time or another have embarked on a new journey to change our habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps you started following a dietitian’s meal plan, joined fitness classes, or signed up for personal training sessions with a local personal trainer. Whatever the nature of the change you tried to implement, I’m sure that there were people around you who genuinely tried to support you to stay motivated. And then there were those others…
“Just one slice of cake is not going to do any harm.”
“You don’t look like you need a personal trainer.”
“Why don’t you rather try [some ridiculous fad diet]? It helped so-and-so.”
“Women shouldn’t do weights; you’ll just bulk up and look like a man.” (If you ever get this response, direct them to this article.)
“Let’s go out for coffee and muffins…”
“Come on! You only live once!”
You might even be exposed to criticism and condescending lectures. There are all sort of reasons why people might try to derail your efforts with comments like these. You need to keep focused on you.
Although it’s great to have supportive people around you, you also need to rely on yourself to stay motivated and stick to a healthy lifestyle.
So how do you stay motivated in the face of negative criticism?
- Recognise the fact that much of the negative peer pressure you will encounter is a reflection of other people’s insecurities. Don’t let them make you feel insecure about the changes you are trying to implement in your life. Stay strong and true to your goals.
- Don’t feel under pressure to conform and do what everyone else is doing (or eating, for that matter). Find the confidence to make your own path in life.
- Allow the results of your efforts to speak for themselves. Trying to ‘convert’ others by lecturing and persuading them is only going to backfire and cause more peer pressure to come your way.
- Once you’ve made the commitment, be patient for the results. These things take time, dedication and perseverance.
- Surround yourself with people who exert positive peer pressure, whether that’s family, friends, colleagues, or a personal trainer.
Looking for positive peer pressure? Want support, encouragement and advice to help you stay on track? Contact me here!