Are you having trouble achieving a goal, completing a task, or working through an issue? Find a friend or group to help you.
My doctor once told me I should do weight-bearing exercises. It was hard to motivate myself to lift weights until a friend suggested we meet in her basement gym three times a week. We set a schedule, and it worked. We had such a fun time together; I looked forward to the exercise sessions.
People have quit smoking by enlisting the help of a friend. My husband quit by telling a co-worker that if he ever lit up again, he’d pay him $100. My brother promised that if he smoked another cigarette, he’d shave off his mustache. When he lit up again, he followed through, hating how he looked with the shaved mustache. His new vow was that if he smoked another cigarette, he’d have to shave his head. He kept his full head of red hair.
Committing and announcing it to friends has helped my fellow writers complete remarkable achievements. Liisa Eyerly, a critique group member, credits our group with her recently released book Obedient Unto Death. Without our bimonthly meetings in which we submit pages, she claims she would never have finished the book. We also set goals and check in with one another regularly, which makes us accountable. And most importantly, we cheer each other on.
Cheering can be powerful. I fondly remember the crowd clapping and shouting words of encouragement while running in Madison’s Crazy Legs race. About three-fourths of the way, when everyone was wearing out and a steep hill loomed ahead, a group of well-wishers who had stationed themselves on the side of the road played Rocky’s theme music. Gettin’ strong now. Gonna fly now. It gave us the extra boost we needed. And having my family waiting at the end, clapping and shouting my name, gave me that extra burst of energy.
A friend told the story of firefighters supporting a fellow firefighter who was undergoing his first chemo treatment. They surrounded him in the clinic, opened a cooler, and passed around beverages. These old friends told stories and joked around, making the ill firefighter forget his fear. They surrounded him with love and support.
Similarly, support groups have helped people with serious issues such as alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, divorce, overeating, and grief, to name just a few. Just this week I’ve spoken to two women who, thirty-some years ago, had children with unusual birth defects. Both mothers asked for help. They wanted to find others who were dealing with similar issues so they could have someone to talk to, but the hospitals weren’t able to help. The mothers talked about how alone they felt. Today hospitals provide information on available resources. It’s also possible to search the internet for a support group which meets online or which allows members to seek and give advice through a forum.
Draw from the strength of those who will support you, help you overcome obstacles, and encourage you. You’re not alone. Go out there and find your people.