When I was little I heard about the “buddy system” a lot. Teachers would say it was best to do a task with a friend so it would get done faster and more safely. Then there was that crazy looking doll “My Buddy” that was basically a doll for boys. Needless to say, I stayed away from that freaky doll. But the value of a buddy (the human kind) still holds true today! I mean, that’s why women tend to travel in packs, right? All kidding aside, I know I’m at my best when I’ve got someone alongside me—or—cheering me on to be my healthiest.
My “partner in crime” is often my sister. She and I have literally been through thick and thin together. As the older sister, I feel a sense of duty to model good behavior for her. When we’re focused on getting healthier, the minute I slack, she slacks. This isn’t to say that she’s a lemming and just blindly follows my lead. But, I think good and bad habits can be caught like a cold and, as such, I want to make sure I set a good example for her. There’s good reason for me to. I want to live as long as I can to be there for her and my family. Research shows you can do the same by surrounding yourself with a support team. That team can help you reach your goals by encouraging you in different ways.
The BetterU program has identified four kinds of supporters. First, there are informational supporters. They’re the people who give you sound advice on health, nutrition and exercise. Second, there are emotional supporters. This person or persons are your cheerleaders! They provide motivation so you can keep going when the going gets tough or the tough shows up on your table in the form of a brownie sundae! Third, there are people who partner with you to be active or eat healthy (that buddy!). Finally, there are the supporters who provide you the means to reach your goal by offering childcare, transportation or just helping you get your ‘to-do’ list done so you have the time to dedicate to your new routine. That’s what many people say they lack: the time to go for a walk, the time to prepare a healthy dinner, the time to take care of themselves.
I wish you luck this week, ladies (and gentlemen!) Now start your engines!