Monday, January 4, 2010

Are you supportive or destructive?

It is still early January and the ink is still wet on those New Years' resolutions. What did you do when your friends and family shared their resolutions with you? Did you roll your eyes when your overweight girlfriend said she's resolving to lose 50 lbs.? Did you chuckle when your chain-smoking brother said he would quit smoking in 2010? Did you remind your sister that she said the same thing last year when she mentioned she would be going back to school this year?

You can play a supporting or destructive role in helping others achieve their goals. Every snicker or unsupportive word has the potential to kill somebody's dream. Several studies have shown that social support can be key in weight loss. I'm willing to bet that theory applies to other goals as well. We all do better if we feel supported by those we love.

If you think a goal or resolution is unreasonable, then offer guidance - not criticism. Say to your friend, "Weight loss is often difficult to plan, why not resolve instead to see a nutritionist to learn about healthy eating, and to do some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes every day."

If you are tired of hearing your sister talk about going back to school to get her Master's, help her make tangible plans. Ask her if she has already decided on a course of study and a school; and for a specific date by which she will complete the application process.

If you have no faith that someone can or even intends to accomplish a goal or keep a resolution, then don't say anything.

Your words can carry so much weight for those who love you and value your opinion. You can be responsible for encouraging someone to achieve, or be responsible for stepping on and shattering their goals. Which one are you resolving to be?

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