― Ralph Waldo Emerson
You are at the two week mark! Whoo-hoo! Congratulations! At this point in the program, you are likely aware of how much other people’s support can help when we are making changes in our lives.
As the saying goes, no man (or woman) is an island, and when we are establishing new habits, it is best not to go it alone. You don’t have to be the president to need a cabinet of close advisers for advice and inspiration, so think about who you can reach out to today who will understand what you are up to and support you. I can’t underscore enough how critical this is for success.
The first and most obvious reason that we need a support team is that our cabinet can help hold us accountable, acting as a bit of external willpower when our self-control falters. Most of us care what other people think of us, and when we make our intentions public in some way—even if our public is just an inner circle of close friends—our intentions have more power. Beyond that, other people can keep us on track when we are so depleted that we no longer care what other people think. When I was trying to wean myself from my diet based on sourdough bread, my husband was a huge help. When I’d ask him to order me a tuna sandwich on a sourdough roll for lunch, he’d come back with a plain tuna salad for me (and then run for cover). Similarly, whenever I need help getting back into my morning routines after a vacation, my good friend who is also a life coach holds me accountable by texting me daily.
Second, there is a plethora of empirical evidence that we are herd animals, and we typically do what our peers do. (Please don’t think you are the exception to this rule. While I don’t doubt that you are in many ways a maverick, odds are that you also look and act a lot like your peers in many other ways.) Compelling research demonstrates that our behavior is influenced not just by our friends but by our friends’ friends’ friends. Because the behavior of others is highly contagious, we do well when we hang out with people who are already in the types of habits that we are trying to establish. This means finding a group of people who practice gratitude regularly — or who at least don’t think it is too hoaky or dorky.
What To Do Today
Task #1: Use the page titled “Gather Your Cabinet” in your workbook to figure out who will best support you in keeping your new habit.
Task #2: Keep practicing gratitude, of course! And keep things fun, people.