I love my Weight Watchers program. Although I reached Lifetime over 12 years ago, I faithfully attend my weekly meetings, because they keep me on track and I’m always learning new things. I was recently reminded of a truism I had learned a while ago. You are more successful if you don’t do it alone.
Our program leader has us regularly set small goals, and I have always done so and found the practice very effective. But a few weeks ago, she suggested working with someone in the program to keep our goals. A few people had already made the connection but I hadn’t. Since I want to keep exercising, particularly walking, I paired with another woman who was struggling a bit to integrate it into her life.
We began texting each other. Every time she went to the gym and worked out on the treadmill, she would text me. When I completed my two walks for the day, I would text her. We both have Fitbits and while we don’t challenge each other since I walk more than she does, we let each other know how many steps and miles we covered in the day.
The result is she is definitely walking more and had a significant weight loss this past week. I thought walking 3-5 times a week was ingrained into my habits, but knowing I was going to text her, pushed me further. In this case, I felt it necessary to be a role model.
Yes, there are days when life intervenes and one of us doesn’t get in an anticipated exercise, but we are buddies. We cheer each other on even as we hold one another accountable. “I wasn’t in the mood,” is not something we want to text each other.
It amazes me how easily I can lie to myself or give myself excuses. I wouldn’t lie to anyone else. And that is part of the reason buddies work so well. Another is the feeling that we are in this together. We understand the challenges our buddy is facing because we have the same ones.
We live in a face-paced world with many demands on our time. Too often we put the tasks ahead of relationships forgetting that humans are social organisms. We need that contact for our well-being.
Some people are really good at maintaining connections with friends, usually of the same sex. I wasn’t that person for a good portion of my life. Although I appeared sociable in my professional contacts, I was a loner and thought it worked just fine. Friendships take time and I didn’t have any to spare.
I was wrong.
Making time for lunch with a friend energized me. Exchanging thoughts with someone I liked and whose thoughts I valued, gave me greater insights into whatever I was doing. The time with others enriched my life.
Although I generally think of buddies in pairs, if you have a common purpose small groups can foster similar feelings of success and accomplishment. The barn raisings which were part of our pioneer culture brought the community together to get a specific task completed. Everyone participated in one way or another. At the end of the day, there was a new barn and people felt the sense of satisfaction of doing a good and worthwhile job. In addition, they shared a camaraderie that spilled into their future interactions.
While few of us will ever be part of a barn raising, if we are open to the possibility there are still occasions where a group of like-minded people will get to get to achieve an objective. When you hear of one, strongly consider participating. As with the barn raising, you don’t need to be one of those nailing the boards in place. There are always other jobs, but the sense of achievement and belonging are worth the effort.