“Choices are chances for us to celebrate the human condition: that we have the power to create reasons for ourselves to become the distinctive people that we are” -Unknown

“Allow your goals to determine your choices, not the situations” -Anthony DiMarino

“We often allow situations and circumstances to determine our choices. Instead, allow your choices and goals to determine your situations” -Anthony DiMarino

Does this happen to you? You have a goal, say, weight loss or improving your fitness. Your progress is going well. However, you are in a social situation. You feel pressured and obliged to participate in something that will move you away from your goals. Sound familiar? You are not alone.

As humans, we are social creatures. We require a community and a social group to feel accepted and happy. We see friends and family often. Sometimes, these meetings include special events or more formal gatherings than normal. Our social interactions usually consist of a variety of activities including eating, watching movies, taking naps (our family’s typical), and games. Most of the time, these activities are in line with your goals. They support and move you toward achieving something you are striving for. But, what happens when you feel pressured to do something that works against your goals?

Let’s say you are trying to stay more active. You’re at a family event. Everyone is gathered in the living room watching a movie or sport event. You want to get some exercise in while you are with your family. However, you feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing. Do you give in? Or, do you recruit family members to take a walk or shoot some hoops? It’s your choice and your right. There is no rule saying you have to follow the crowd.

Another example: You are at a dinner with your friends. Everyone goes around the table and orders food that is completely unhealthy. You even imagine the pounds the food will add to their waistline. You are the last to go. You feel pressured to follow suit and pig out with your friends. But, you want to stay focused on making good decisions for your health. Instead of following the norm, you flip the script and choose an item that fits within your meal plan.

I can see you thinking: “Anthony, this does not normally happen for me.” Truth be told, it probably happens more than you think! We are surrounded by people all the time: friends, family, coworkers, our kids. A certain expectation or pressure sits under the surface. You want to fit in. You do not want to look odd or the weird one. There is a nagging temptation in your mind to “go with the flow”

What can you do to stifle these temptations?

-Start with your goal in mind. Decide to make choices that will support your goal daily

-Communicate with those closest to you. Tell them what you are working on and ask them to respect your wishes

-If someone pushes you to do something that does not support your goals, you can respectfully say “no”. If they truly care about you, they will not take it personally

-Pat yourself on the back! It takes strength and confidence to say “no” to something that does not align with your goals.

I know this sounds harsh. I am not saying you have to do this EVERY time. But, pick and choose when you will indulge in those temptations. Feel free to have cake on your birthday. Or, if you are like me, enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner and watch football all day 🙂 Make a plan before going into these social situations. Make a decision and stand by your decision. As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

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