Mostly B’s: “The Lover”
Since you’re such a people person, chances are you have at least one workout buddy, live for parties and can’t imagine life without Facebook. One of the many perks of being a social butterfly: Research shows that making a behavioral change with a friend boosts your odds of success. Just be aware that this can backfire if your friend has not-so-healthy habits. Obesity actually spreads through social networks, according to research conducted at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and The University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla. More specifically, the study found that when a person becomes obese, the chances that a friend of theirs will become obese increase by 57 percent. “I once had a patient who told me she had 20 friends using her brand of cigarettes,” adds Dean Ornish, M.D., founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and author of The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health (Ballantine). “It gave her a sense of connection.”
Transform yourself: If you aren’t already doing so, make a point of gathering healthy and supportive people around you to help you reach your goals. If weight loss is your mission, become a regular at your gym’s jam-packed indoor rowing class or tap into the accountability-enhancing qualities of a personal trainer. Having problems in your relationship? Consider group therapy or talk with friends who’ve gone through similar struggles. If you’re in a rut at work, “Talk to others who have made a career leap similar to what you’re dreaming of, or shadow someone in your desired job for a day,” suggests Hofsess. Besides the opportunity to network, watching other people succeed builds self-efficacy, or the belief in your ability to change. Balaghi, who embraces all friends—virtual or otherwise—agrees: “On days I don’t want to go to the gym, I check out my Facebook support group page and read how great everyone else is doing and that motivates me—I know I can do it, too.”
Max your motivation: Of course it’s important to make positive changes for yourself, but because “The Lover” tends to put herself last, you may be more motivated by dedicating healthfocused goals to someone dear to you. “Instead of trying to kick your cigarette habit because you know smoking is wildly unhealthy, pledge to quit smoking for your daughter so she can have her mother around for years to come,” Conner suggests. Rather than training solo for a marathon in an effort to slim down, sign up for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, where you run in honor of a patient battling cancer, or grab a friend and walk 50 miles to raise money for multiple sclerosis. This way, even if you wind up forgetting about your own goals, you’ll still wind up achieving them (if only by accident!).
Mostly B’s: “The Lover”