Relationship Habits are Strongly Influenced by the Company you Keep
Did you know you are over 50% more likely to be obese if your partner or friends are obese?
The reverse is also true: if one person in a relationship loses weight, their partner is highly likely to lose weight as well.
What??? How is this possible?
I don’t know about you, but something about this just didn’t sit right with me. I always assumed my choices were up to me, not determined by others around me.
I’m the only one in control of me – right?
Recently I had a chance to test these ideas. As my wife and I have solidly landed in middle age, we noticed we were each carrying more weight than we would like. So we decided to make a conscious effort to alter our eating habits. The food we bought changed, the way we cooked changed, the amount we ate changed. It worked, and I believe a large reason for this was because we supported each other. I KNOW that if I had been doing this alone I would have had a much more difficult time.
Interestingly, it has also emotionally brought us closer together. We talk more, have more fun, and spend more time together. We’re on the same team. Sharing a common goal helped us feel we are moving forward together in our lives.
Feeling closer to my wife after changing our eating was totally unexpected. But really, as I thought about it more, it makes sense. As we developed positive habits in one area, it naturally increased our motivation to change other things. Without even realizing it, we stacked our habits!
So what does all this have to do with developing YOUR relationship habits?
You may not be in a place where you need or want to lose weight, but I bet there is something in your life you want to change. Maybe you would like:
- To exercise more
- To have more fun
- To keep the house cleaner
- To get out in nature on a regular basis
- To spend more time with friends
- To read more
Of course you can work on improving these areas of your life on your own, but you are going to be WAY more successful implementing positive habits if you work together with your spouse, lover, or even just a close friend. Plus, it’s way more fun and satisfying to be focused on improvement as a team – especially if it leads to deeper relationship connection and intimacy!
You may be worried your partner won’t participate or, even worse, might drag you down in changes you want to make. This is a valid concern. I encourage you to search for common ground. Find something you both are motivated to change in your life (even if you may go about it in different ways). The key to lasting change is structure. You must agree on the goal, have clear rules for how you will reach that goal (ie, what new habits are you implementing), and open communication about how it is going.
This task is closely connected to my last email about changing your environment as a way to improve relationship habits. Working as a team may not change your physical environment, but you will significantly alter the emotional structure of your relationship.
So what do you think? Are you ready to enlist your partner as a teammate on the path to living a better life?
Please send me a message to let me know what you decided to focus on and how it’s going. I’d love to hear from you!