This article in a nutshell…

The best way to achieve good health and fitness is to create an environment that makes success easy. A huge part of your environment is the people you have around you. The right people will lift you up and help you be your best, while difficult people can bring you down and make things tougher than need be.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to manage the negative people in your environment and get the right people around you, including a specific example regarding who to have around you when your goal is to lose weight.

Digging deeper… creating the right environment with the right people

Creating a successful environment means ensuring you have the support you need around you. It’s about creating room for what you want in your future health and well-being. It’s also about removing everything that does not support that.

Dealing with cynics and nay-sayers

Having the right people around you can be the difference between unparalleled success and endless, uphill effort and strain. You’ve probably heard it said that, “You’re the average of the five people you’re around most”. Those top 5 places in your life really count.

If we’re surrounded by difficult people, cynics and nay-sayers, life gets harder and harder with every word we hear.

By contrast, if we’re surrounded by encouragement, consideration and understanding, the path ahead is an easy once.

Whatever we set our mind to, things are easier with the right people around us. It’s for this reason that making conscious decisions as to who you let into your environment on a regular basis is so key in achieving your goals, attaining true well-being and crafting your best life.

What to do with difficult family and friends?

Who we have in our lives is a matter of choosing to be around the right people, but what about the people we can’t just cut out of our lives?

What about the people we really care about?

What about family and lifelong friends?

What about co-workers who are integral to our business but not our kind of people?

Sometimes it’s just not an option to cut people out of our lives, and sometimes a bit of adversity can be helpful… because struggle can help us grow.

So, instead of trying to just be rid of everybody that isn’t right for us, there’s an alternative…

A new way to be around difficult people

Do you have a family member who is set in their ways? What about a lifelong friend you just can’t bear to end a relationship with? What about the moody teenager or a rude or disrespectful co-worker or boss?

Having to deal with irksome remarks day-in-day-out can be difficult to deal with. And for many of us the gut-reaction is to try and ignore them, to bite back or to take the frustration or upset inwards or elsewhere.

The problem is, if you ignore the problem it just carries on tomorrow. If you bite back, you get locked into an energy draining argument you’d rather not have. If you take the frustration inwards, it leaks into other areas of your life and leaves you feeling badly about yourself.

How to deal with difficult people in your environment…

How do we deal with these people then?

You have the power within you to deal with the difficult person and be in control. You just need to know how…

Most advice you’ll find about this will be around choosing the right words to send the right signals or establishing boundaries in conversation about what you will and won’t talk about.

These can be really effective tools and should be used when applicable, but they are tools which require you to think on your feet in the moment. They also rely on you keeping your cool – and to a certain extent taking on board what the person is saying.

The crux of the matter is that if there are difficult people in our lives and those people are upsetting us, bringing us down or holding us back on a regular basis then we are giving them too much of our energy and too much of our attention. This energy and attention is better afforded to ourselves and to the more encouraging, considerate and understanding people in our lives. A huge part of the accident of giving this energy and attention to the wrong people is treating the words and actions of people with the severity with which they are intended.

A person who is not contributing to our well-being may do and say things with intense severity. What they are saying may matter to them a lot, regardless of whether or not it is true, considered or helpful. What they are doing may be done with the utmost sincerity and yet, it just may not be right for us.

Whatever the intention of the others in our lives, we have to be able to filter out the severity with which detrimental words are spoken and detrimental actions are taken.

Tactics that set you up for success

What if you had something

Here is a tried and tested method for better interactions with difficult people you just can’t cut out of your life. It puts in place a “set-up” that so you are prepared for the difficult person before you even enter the room.

What this will help you do is keep track of how much energy and attention you are investing in the words and actions of the people in your life. It will help you regulate the energy and attention you are investing in the people in your life and it will help you redistribute it where necessary.

5 Steps to creating the right environment with the right people

Step 1: Make a list of all the significant people in your life.

Step 2: Write down the answers to the following questions for each person:

  • What do you perceive this person values highest? (What do they respect, prize and aspire to above all else).
  • How does this person seek the fulfilment of their highest values? How close are they to being the person they want to be in terms of character, how they treat others and how they behave on a daily basis? (Chart who this person wants to be next to who this person chooses to be daily).
  • What is the advice this person offers most frequently?
  • Where has this advice got them in their own life?
  • What in this person’s life do you want for yourself? Are they good with money management? Do they have great relationships with their loved ones? Do they have a pleasant, warm and inviting home environment? Do they excel where you struggle? These are the areas you SHOULD consider advice from them on.
  • What in this person’s life do you NOT want for yourself? Are they bad with money management? Do they have unstable relationships with their loved ones? Do they have an undesirable home environment? These are the areas you SHOULDN’T take advice from them on.
  • How happy is this person? (Happiness herein is measured based on the person’s ability to gracefully overcome difficulties presented to them in life and result to a place wherein a smile can come naturally to their face several times a day).

Step 3: Consider the answers to the questions above and devise a rating out of ten as to how much you will take on what they say and do. (10 being take on everything and 0 being not at all – not even slightly).

Those you look up to, admire or are happy with, should be around 6-9 on the scale while those who make you feel tense, frustrated or unhappy should be on the lower end of the scale. If there are people in your life who have lives nothing like what you’d like for yourself, these people should score low.

This isn’t a black and white thing though, there may be some areas that the person is doing well in, while they struggle in other areas. Treat them accordingly.

For example, if someone is great with money management but has terrible relationships, then you might consider taking their advice on money and ignoring their relationship advice. If someone is actively derisive about your health goals, but are overweight themselves, then you know only to take their advice on unhealthy food and habits.

There are only so many hours in the day. To get the most out of this exercise, you’ll want to reduce your exposure to people with lower ratings as much as possible. If it’s a workplace encounter, you can do this by reducing small talk during your first encounter of the day to a simple, ‘Hello’ as you walk on by.

At home or among friends, time reduction may be more difficult. Aside from simply not making plans with your lower-rated people, you may opt to get clear about the specific kinds of conversation you will and won’t have with them, and the topics you just won’t touch. And if the conversation makes it way around to one of these topics, you’ll want to have your way out of the conversation organised and ready to act upon.

Step 4: Notice how you feel around this person. If you feel badly, give yourself a rating out of ten as to how much energy/attention you gave their words and actions in the last encounter. Match that up to the rating you set up as a benchmark. If you have been upset by them, you gave them too much of your time or energy. If you think you gave them too high of a score in the first place, aim to reduce it in future encounters.

Step 5: Instead of taking their words at face value, now that you have the rating system set up, seek to understand the person more deeply. Ask yourself why they think what they think rather than why they said what they said. Ask yourself what might have brought this person to his point in their life/mindset/relationships. This will help to deepen your empathy with this path. If they are to be in your life indefinitely, you owe it to yourself to at least have some understanding of the way they see the world and why.

More time for the right people

Once you have reduced the time and attention you are investing in the people that bring you down and hold you back, you’ll have a lot more space in your life – and in your head – for better things and better people.

Having the right people in your environment can lift you up or bring you down.

Having the right people around you is such a huge part of meeting your well-being goals. For this reason, building a network of the right people can and will make all the difference.

If you are trying to lose weight, the right person might be a coach, a personal trainer or nutritionist – equally it could be a role model, a class or a friend.

Being part of an uplifting community, like Questly, and managing your well—being goals is often the difference between success and struggle.


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