Are there Crabs in your Bucket?

“You are the average of the five people closest to you.”  Take a moment to think about it.  Seriously…take a moment.  If you look closely at the five individuals of your inner circle, collectively you will share similarities in socioeconomic status, hobbies,  and of course nutrition and exercise habits.  With this in mind, you need to be mentally prepared for potential push back when you make the decision to start a fitness program.  Friends may try to entice you to grab a bite to eat at the Steakhouse instead of going to the gym, co-workers may conveniently bring a box of donuts to work, or your spouse may complain that you don’t spend enough time with them.  Most friends and loved ones don’t do this consciously, it’s more of a subconscious defense mechanism.  They have strong emotional ties to you and any change you make may alter the status of their relationship with you.  When this happens try the following strategies:

Invite your friend to join you for a workout.  It’s  a great additional outlet  and you can grab a healthy dinner after you burn some calories first.

Take  healthy snacks to work and keep them handy when the “Donut Avenger” makes an appearance.  If you have more snack choices  you are less likely to indulge.

When your spouse feels you are “taking away” their time with you, be positive and understanding.  Tell them you respect what they’ re telling you, but emphasize that by personally making these healthy changes it will improve the quality of the time you both spend together.  Also, you can always invite them to join you as well.

While these are great strategies, they won’t work with everybody.  In fact, some people in your life may have a “Crab Mentality” and want you to fail!

Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs.   Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that members of a group will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, conspiracy, or competitive feelings.

The take home point is this…If you are surrounded by individuals at work and/or home who are negative and do not support your efforts to make a positive changes in your life… it might be time to find some who will.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that you have to sever all ties, but you will need to find a strong support group if you desire permanent change.  Some options may include:

Join a network of individuals that work towards common goals.  This can be a hiking/running group, a recreation sports league, or fitness club.

Consider hiring a professional trainer or coach.   This can range from traditional private training or joining a fitness bootcamp.

The upside with either approach is that you will naturally develop a solid support group and forge relationships with people who share the same goals, have experienced the same struggles, and will help you escape the crab bucket for good!