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You’ve been making some BIG changes.

You tuned up your diet.
You’re getting to bed earlier.
You started hitting the gym.
You even quit a few nagging recreational habits. 

GO YOU!

You feel the benefits, and your friends know you are better off for it — but what happens when those closest to you aren’t responding to your new lifestyle changes?

“Hey, I’m taking a quick break, wanna smoke?”
“Aren’t you hungry? Let’s pick up Taco Bell on the way home.”
“Oooo wings sound good! Why don’t you ditch the gym and we’ll go to an early happy hour.”
“Yeahhhh… Could you pull an all-nighter and file those TPS reports with the correct cover letter?” 

Okay, maybe not that last one…

I want to make it clear that these hypothetical queries from your friends and family are in no way evil. Remember, these are the people who care for you. They are not to be associated with negativity and spite; however, they could become deterrents to your health and fitness goals.

So, how do you navigate these rocky waters? 

In my observation, haters gonna hate for two predominate reasons: 

1. People will question what you’re doing because they love you and, above all, don’t want you to fail.
2. Fear. Your success highlights potential — the potential successes they could have if they’d only put in the work. 

As your results leave you inundated with the responses of others, be reassured that you have zero obligation to respond to individuals in camp #2… “Bye, Felicia!” Their crassness towards your altered nutrition plan or your newfound fitness routine is adversity you needn’t shoulder. As for the peoples you call Brother, Baba, or Bridesmaid? Savviness sold separately. 

As we begin to formulate responses to our cohorts and kin, might I remind you that not all plants in the garden grow at the same rate. As it is in nature, so too are our relationships. Your altered mindset, your newfound habit, and your personal developments are yours and yours alone — increasing and populating at a very individualized rate. When you cross new horizons, it’s unrealistic to expect your family and friends to come along stride for stride.

As you address them to their faces, give them some assurance that you are still you and you really appreciate their recognition, their ongoing love, and their interest. Take heart in their awareness of this “new you” for it is proof of the changes you’ve been making. Respect them enough to respond, communicating you appreciate them and you’ll be staying true to these habits you’ve cultivated. As a final aside, do tone down any could-be annoying social media posts or rants at family gatherings, bing conscious of how you communicate at all times. Lastly, do not forget to keep on keepin’ on!

Many great minds have ushered this simple idea and I’d like to share it with you as a close to this post:

To best help to others, you must first help yourself. 

You’re not selfish, you’re takin’ care of business. Respond to those who love you with humility and grace. Any negativity? Talk to the hand.

Taylor Gish is an Exclusive Coach at MSP Fitness and Lead Instructor to the Strength+Endurance Program. His individual training focus is on the sport of Olympic Weightlifting where he has been competing locally and nationally since 2013. Taylor enjoys cooking, eating, and spending time with his wife and kids — in no particular order.