As I observe the many new years resolutions that my friends and family are making I am baffled by one thing. It seems that the people closest to them are their worst saboteurs. How is that possible? You would think that you’re closest friends and family would have your back. If anyone is going to be supplying weight loss sabotage you would hope it wouldn’t be your closest friends. They of all people would want you to achieve your goals for the new year. I don’t think our friends, family and colleagues have deliberate fiendish intentions. I just think they naturally find that it’s much easier supporting the status quo than adjusting to the unknown world of change. They can be unwitting accomplices to having us fail, quit, and struggle through accomplishing our goals.
Take the example of one of our employees who’s trying to lose weight and get healthy. His comment to me was that his good friend was the worst at sabotaging his efforts. Everyday his friend would invite him to go to lunch at some fast food unhealthy place. He would decline saying he brought his lunch or that he was just going to have a shake (something our employees can eat free at work) but his friend would keep at him until he decided to go with him to lunch. Once again his best plan and intention ruined for the day. Now he agrees that he can still say no but he finds it too hard after the second or third time.
Our daughter has set a goal to quit smoking. She does really good most of the time. Then she gets around her sister that smokes and she says she really struggles. Her sister wants her to come outside with her while she smokes and talk to her. That’s really hard for our daughter to do without lighting up.
In both of these examples they need to have a transformation conversation with the other person. In the book Change Anything they talk about transformation conversations. It’s an opportunity to turn an accomplice into a friend with a simple and heartfelt request for help. After all our true friends want us to be happy and just like in these two examples they are unwittingly hurting us. Most likely they just don’t know how to help.
My husband, David, had one of those with me just the other day. I’ve talked about him and his addiction to sugar before in other articles. It has been a real problem for many years. Overall he’s really healthy but he does eat too many sweets especially around the holidays. So we were driving to the ski slopes and he said to me “I need to have a transformation conversation with you, I need your help.” So of course I asked what can I do to help you? He said that he really wanted to reduce his intake of sugar and that not only did he not want me to make desserts with sugar, he wanted me to say something when he went to order desserts at restaurants. I told him that I could do that but that I’m not comfortable saying anything in front of other people like “you know you shouldn’t have that dessert” or “you told me to stop you from having a dessert”. I just don’t agree when people do that to their spouses in front of others. So we came up with a code sentence. When we’re at functions or in groups at dinners and there’s desserts then I’m supposed to say “I’m so excited about 2013, I think it’s going to be a great year. That’s the sentence (or something close to that depending on the situation) that will tell him not to eat the dessert. He still can eat but I’ve done my part.
Last night was the first social function we’ve been to since the new year. We went to a friends wedding reception. There was a big dessert table with lots of selections. I was so proud of my husband. He looked over at it but went no where near it. He had his chicken skewers, some shrimp and the salad and skipped the desserts completely. I didn’t even have to use our code sentence. I know that there are going to be many other more difficult situations to pass on dessert coming up. I’m just excited that he’s asked me to help him and that it’s something I easily can do to support him.
You might be surprised how your friends and family will be willing to help you if you just ask.