Day 12 – Starting Well Challenge: How Relationships Strengthen New Habits


(Click here to download Day 12 worksheet)

My wife has always been relatively disciplined with her exercise. But in the last two years, her commitment to her fitness has been ridiculous. It all started with a new friendship.

This new friend invited my wife to a fitness class at the local YMCA. They started attending two or three classes a week while going for walks on Saturday or Sunday.

On occasion, one of them wouldn’t feel up to it, but the other would call or text and off they’d go.

Now my wife just goes to her friend’s garage where they’ve created their own boot camp.

As I said, my wife was always relatively consistent, but this friendship brought the consistency to new levels, along with her fitness and strength (the girl has guns).

To a lesser extent, when I began my career in sales, I had to make cold calls. A fellow newbie and I would sit in each other’s office as we made our first 10 calls of the day to get ourselves going.

The key lesson in both of these scenarios was this: Relationships can be powerful in keeping habits or accomplishing goals.

By this point in the Starting Well Challenge, we have our goals firmly placed in our battle lines and habits selected to support the main goals we’re focusing on. On Day 11, we learned four ways to help ourselves maintain greater consistency.

Today, we talk about the impact supportive relationships have on our habits and goals.

Why are relationships important to our habits?

  1. Accountability: Good accountability partners remind us to stick to our own commitments.
  2. Encouragement: Who isn’t motivated by a friend who highlights the good we’re doing when all we personally see is how we aren’t quite doing enough?
  3. Healthy obligation: if you have a training partner, you better make that 5:30am run!
  4. Wisdom and direction: A mentor can help you uncover roadblocks to your consistency.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the negative side of relationships:

  1. Bad peer pressure: Bad influence doesn’t stop in middle school. There will always be people offering options that runs contrary to the habit you’re trying to keep.
  2. The crab in a bucket: The crabs in the bottom of the bucket will always reach up and pull down the crab that’s about to escape. It’s sad, really. It’s the ‘if I can’t have it, you can’t either.’ Sour grapes applies here, too.
  3. The mental perception of accomplishment: Author Derek Sivers shares in his Ted Talk that sharing your goals (especially putting them on blast) can offer the emotional equivalent to accomplishing them. Since you already experienced the feeling, your motivation dwindles.

We won’t focus on these bad aspects of relationships… just know they’re there and learn to notice them so they don’t hinder you.

Our project for today: Develop supportive relationships

This might be a little awkward for some of us, but it can absolutely be a key to our success. I can almost guarantee you that others are hungering for these types or relationships, too. Here are some suggestions if you’re at a loss:

  1. Ask someone to keep you accountable. Who is the one person you know who is able to speak the truth to you in love? Tell her that you want her to apply that skill to your life around a particular habit or goal.
  2. Find a training partner. Perhaps you know someone who is going after the same goal. Reach out and walk through a training or change process in tandem.
  3. Hire a coach. You might want to research and hire a person who is an expert in behavioral change – a personal trainer, a teacher, a sales coach.
  4. Create or join a ‘mastermind group’: A mastermind group sounds like the villains who battle the Justice League. It’s simply a group of individuals who sharpen each other – a group of like-minded sales professionals, a CrossFit program, a small group Bible study, a running group, a pack of moms or dads that want to be more intentional parents. A group of fellow sales professionals at my office get together every Monday at lunch. We’ve all fed off of each other’s ideas and strengths.

Today’s Action Step:

  • Write out your one to four main habits.
  • Decide which type of supportive relationship you need for each: an accountability partner, a training partner, a coach, or a mastermind group.
  • Write out that relationship next to your habit (or goal).
  • Make the call or send the email before the end of the day, even if you feel silly doing it.

This action step might feel awkward. That’s okay. Do it anyway. My wife’s friend didn’t only intensify her own commitment, but she also helped change my wife’s habits, too. You might do the same for someone else if you just ask.

(Click here to download Day 12 worksheet)

Question: Do you have this type of relationship in place right now? Leave a comment to tell us about it

Preview of Day 13: We’re nearly done and I’m proud of you for sticking with this process! On Day 13, we’ll talk about a simple weekly review. If we don’t review our plans often, we’re bound to let things slip.

Don’t forget to click a social media button below and share this post if it’s helpful to you. Also, you can find links to each day’s post and worksheets along with other helpful resources here: 2014 Starting Well Resource Page.


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