Episode 45: NYRT #4 – The Power of Social Support

How many of you have heard the little statistic that only 20% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions or the statistic that 80% of New Year’s resolutions don’t get completed, they get dropped?

First of all, I want to tell you that that is a statistic that comes from one study, but that study has failed to be replicated, so we’re not really sure if that’s the truth or not. However, there are studies about what makes goal completion happen. There are studies about what the difference is between people who complete New Year’s resolutions and those who don’t, what are the differences between those populations. And there’s actually a lot of studies, particularly in the field of health communication (which is what I have my PhD in) about what helps people make major life changes.

One of the things that they study a lot is quitting smoking because there’s a lot of federal money being put into really, really well-done studies about smoking cessation. One of the things that we know from those studies is that a big thing that distinguishes people who complete their goals and people who change their life in big ways and people who don’t is social support.

So, what do I mean by social support? Social support is exactly what it sounds like. It’s having people around you who support you and your goals. It is being part of communities that are working towards the same things that you are working towards. For example, one of the reasons why people are really successful generally in becoming more physically fit when they join CrossFit gyms is because CrossFit has a reputation for cultivating that sense of community. There’s a high amount of social support that is present within a CrossFit gym.

So, as usual, I’m gonna tell you a story. A couple of years ago, before my PhD, I was doing my Master’s Degree, and I wasn’t really immersed in the world of behavior change yet, but I loved new year’s resolutions and I always sucked at them. One day, I was talking to my cousin who’s the same age as me. She’s three months apart from me. We’ve always been really close, and I was talking to her, and I said, “Alex, I really want to do something different for my New Year’s resolution this year,” and Alex was like, “Oh, my gosh, yes, this is a big thing for me too.”

And so, what we decided was that for that year we were gonna pick one habit to adopt every month, and we were going to meet once a month and talk to each other about how our habits were going. So, we would get on (at that type it was Skype) a Skype call at the beginning of every month, we would talk through our habits, we would choose a habit, and then we’d kind of text each other throughout the month and just kind of let each other know how things were going.

In the past couple of years, I’ve been more successful at my New Year’s resolutions because of all the things I know about behavior change, but previously to that, that year was absolutely the most successful that I ever was in terms of growing and changing and in terms of fulfilling my New Year’s resolutions. I really was able to form some solid habits. That is the year that I started actually getting up in the morning when I wanted to get up. That’s the year that I ran my first half-marathon. That’s the year that I really got my time management under control, and it was because I had this person on my side. I had this person in my life who was giving me that sense that I wasn’t alone, that I was supported.

And so, this series is about New Year’s Resolution Tips, and the tip I want to give you is that you absolutely can make your life a lot easier next year if you find someone who can help hold you accountable to your goals, and that can be a friend, that can be a partner who’s also excited about change, that can be your cousin, that can be a community that you join. But I want to mention that one of the most powerful and actually evidence-based ways to have that sense of social support is to hire a coach. There are reputable studies that have been done by organizations like the CDC that show that people who are making major life changes, if they’re in a program without a coach that’s education-based versus if they’re in a program with a coach where they have one-on-one support, they are more successful in making those big changes if they have that support.

So, we are accepting applications literally right now for a January start date, and typically, when New Year’s arrives, we tend to get a spike in applications, and at least last year we were on a waitlist until mid-April. So, if you have been thinking about doing big things next year, if you’re thinking of challenging yourself, if you’re thinking of setting big scary goals, if there are things about yourself that you envision, if you want to finally take action to make the version of yourself that you’ve been dreaming of for years into reality, you are the kind of person I want to apply for Alliance Coaching.

Now, do not come to Alliance Coaching if you are in the mentality of “I want to fix myself” of “there’s so much wrong with me.” I don’t want you to come to Alliance Coaching from a place of negativity or from a place of self-hate. If that’s the place you’re in, then I would really encourage you to go to therapy first and get in a place where you are at least at a baseline level of neutrality or acceptance about who you currently are.

But if you are a person who you’re like, “Yes, I’m okay with who I am right now but I have this beautiful vision for a life I want to live,” you are the person who I want. I want you to go to karinn4.sg-host.com/applynow. I want you to fill out that application right now so that we can get you matched with a coach, and so you can have the new year that you’ve been dreaming about since you were in high school or middle school or since you got into this whole self-help thing. You are the person I want, and I cannot wait to see your application come through!

I’ll talk to you in the next episode!


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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