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How to Handle Non-Supporters

Don't Let Anyone or Anything Distract You From Your Goals!

Deciding to make a change to your overall health and wellness can be a difficult task to embark on. There are so many questions, unknowns, especially if this is the first time going through a change. Where do you go for information, who do you turn to for quality help? When you've made the decision to start an upgrade in any area of your life, whether it has to do with your health, training, nutrition, stress management, and or sleep quality, it's important to have a support team. This can be friends, family, co-workers, professionals, or any buddy else who is there to help you along your journey. Unfortunately, our support system may come to show, what we call non-supporters or in other terms gaslighters. Gaslighting is the act of someone (or group) making someone else (or group) question or doubt their own intentions.

Non-supporters are out there, and you've probably experienced or been in situations where someone wasn't 100% supportive of your journey. There are various reasons why people are not supportive, it could be that they don't understand your goals, they are jealous, they think you are being too extreme, it makes them feel uncomfortable, they are fearful of how it might affect your relationship or another one of the million reasons. Sadly, many people are naive to their own words and or actions, or as to how they might have a negative association on someone's journey. Whether they are totally against your goals or they use phrases like, "oh it's just one bite", "you're being too sensitive", it doesn't matter what it is, it's important to not let anything or anyone distract you or make feel bad about your journey. Please note, this is from the perspective of safe and healthy behavior and or outcome-based goals.

We have to be REAL, those around us do have the power to affect how well we adhere and think about our journeys. Mostly unconscious, but we tend to change our behaviors based on those around us. As humans, we naturally want to please others. Due to this natural instinct, we can find ourselves quitting or dropping out because our goal didn't seem to fit with everyone else around us. Read more from our article Do Not Dropout. Sadly, we cannot please everyone, even as much as we want, AND THAT IS OKAY! You don't have to avoid or lose family and friends over it but, there are ways to handle these situations. We are aiming to remove more stressors and negative associations in our lives and in our journeys. We are here to provide a few strategies to help you and non-supporters.


Being open about your goals within your journey is encouraged by many professionals. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work in our favor, but there are two sides to this. When you decide to make a change and embark on a new journey this can be intimidating to outsiders. They might be feeling as though you are personally changing too much too quickly. This is when pushback and resistance can start to develop. If you are opening up to family and friends about your journey it's important that you are not forcing them to follow along with this new journey. This type of push towards your new lifestyle tends to develop a hostile environment and can be considered an all-or-nothing approach to outsiders. Which doesn't sit well with anyone. Rather, continue to educate them as to why you are doing the things you are doing. Lack of education could be another reason for the pushback. Non-supporters might not be well versed in a particular matter. Find opportunities to sprinkle some educational information about the benefits as to what you are embarking on. Show them the information you were provided or researched, visuals are helpful tools when looking to educate. It can also be as simple as changing up the language you use to present information about your journey.

Another great way to educate your loved ones is by involving them in some our your habits. Have them help in the kitchen as you prepare your meals, take them to your workout classes, have conversations about health and wellness, and see what it means to them. Providing a positive atmosphere eases the tension and provides a safe environment for comments and questions. Involving a loved one can help open and expand their horizon on a particular habit. They will get reassurance from you and potentially a professional. Again, don't be too pushy, if they say no, accept their decision and move on. We can't force our goals onto anyone else. To keep the positive vibes rolling make sure to thank them for joining and try planning another involvement.

Remind your loved one that just because you are making changes in your life that it doesn't mean you are eliminating them from your life. Now, there are times where you do have to remove negative people, but usually, that is dealing with other issues in the relationship. Change is as much of a scary thing for your loved ones as it is for you, they feel as though your changes will have an effect on your relationship, and it shouldn't. Having empathy towards your loved ones can bring them peace of mind and eliminate some of their non-supportive motives.

Change the Subject:

When it doubt, change the subject! Sometimes we just have to accept that others do not agree with us as much as you've tried to educate and be open about your journey. Consider this sacrificing a win to avoid conflict and extra stressors with your loved one. As much as you want to prove to them your journey is right, if it's causing tension, accept their beliefs, and change the subject. It can get uncomfortable when the person continues to bring up the subject matter, but change the subject for the greater good of both parties. It may take a few times but it will work. Here is a sample conversation:

  • Loved One: Hey, I just made cookies and pie for dessert. Can I get you some?

  • You: Wow, those look delicious, I appreciate the offer but I am actually going to pass. Thank you though.

  • Loved One: Oh come on, it's just one cookie.

  • You: I know, but I am actually working on this goal. Again I appreciate it but, how have the kids been?

  • Loved One: Just have a bite!

  • You: No thanks, have the kids started school yet?

Do remember, whoever is being non-supportive, to some degree they are right, to themselves at that moment. As challenging as it might be showing empathy to this person can help ease tension. Acknowledge their views, and tell them you understand where they are coming from but you are going to graciously pass, and then change the subject. This is a great way to dissolve any unnecessary conflicts and turns the conversation back to a welcomed and positive one. Never be sorry for making a change in your life, especially if it is to better yourself. If the conversation still isn't going as planned step away from the conversation completely. Some people are looking for you to apologize for causing differences in the group or room. You don't have to be sorry for anything! This is your journey, not theirs.

You do You:

Most importantly, this is YOUR journey! There is a reason you decided to make a lifestyle change, and whether or not you get resistance or push back from those around you, ultimately this is your journey.

Always resort back to your "why", the deepest and most rooted reason for making this change. We like to use the word intrinsic motivation, simply referring to something that is your internal driving force, think of it as your own personal engine. Many research studies are now concluding that intrinsic motivation is more likely to develop positive outcomes in regard to work efforts, goal mastery, and overall performance. Knowing your personal "why" has shown to be more sustainable and have longer-lasting effects versus extrinsic motivations, like family and friend support. We encourage you to keep your "why" written down, have it somewhere you can see it daily, and continue to say it every time you see it. This is going to be your anchor! Nobody else has the power to do this for you. With that, keep in mind that others may not understand your personal "why". It's not necessarily because they don't support you but, rather it's not meaningful to them. Due to the fact that it's not meaningful to them, their words and actions may come across as non-supportive. It's not worth developing stress or friction between you and your loved one, trying to get someone to understand. You can't force someone to understand your personal "why" because it's just that, personal to you.

Being able to flip the situation is key. How can you turn the negative situation into a positive one? Remember, to be understanding and patient with those around you, despite them not being understanding and patient with you. Your goal isn't to develop conflict or hostility, but rather to embrace others' points of view. This goes both ways! Being accepting, although sometimes difficult to do can be very helpful, especially if you have already tried to educate them. Simply accept their opinion and follow the change of topic technique. In reality, we might not always know their personal situations, they might have had a bad experience with a similar goal. We just don't know, nor can we assume.

Being open and honest about how someone is making you feel is also important. Always looking to keep things cool, calm, and collected when dealing with non-supporters. Respect that others might have different opinions of your journey, and continue to fuel your own fire. You do you! Read more from our article Just Be You. For a moment, think about how you feel when you hear or see someone accomplish a goal. Think about how you feel knowing they have overcome some sort of obstacle. You might feel happy, excited, or even inspired! The more you persevere and show others your determination over various bumps in the roads, you might just become their inspiration. Now think how amazing it would feel to be the inspiration to someone. It's a win-win! Keep your head held high, and have your personal "why" insight at all times! Life tends to work in circles, what comes around, goes around, and hopefully, you are can be the leader!

We are social beings, where change is scary from both sides of the party. We thrive off of human interactions and the happiness of others. When we feel as though we are going against what our loved ones believe, it can leave us feeling discouraged and make us question our goals and journey. But it doesn't have to leave you in the dust. By following some simple strategies without force, you and your loved ones can live harmoniously together despite differences. Stay positive and persistent with your goals, even when loved ones are being non-supportive. Keep in mind that this is a two-way street. Both the person who has decided to make a lifestyle change and those who are the non-supporters can be responsible. If you are making a change make sure to avoid being the one who creates the friction, and yet again there will be those who are just non-supporters. You can still accomplish your goals despite imbalances between you and your loved ones. You don't have to cut anyone from your life. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone. You continue to do you, and you will reach your goals!


Dysvik, A., & Kuvaas, B. (2013). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as predictors of work effort: the moderating role of achievement goals. The British journal of social psychology, 52(3), 412–430.

Cerasoli, C. P., & Ford, M. T. (2014). Intrinsic motivation, performance, and the mediating role of mastery goal orientation: a test of self-determination theory. The Journal of psychology, 148(3), 267–286.

Larson, R. W., & Rusk, N. (2011). Intrinsic motivation and positive development. Advances in child development and behavior, 41, 89–130.

Vartanian, L. R., Herman, C. P., & Wansink, B. (2008). Are we aware of the external factors that influence our food intake?. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 27(5), 533–538.



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