I love this quote because it really speaks to the effect that others can have on our general well-being. I also like it because it means I am about 20 years old, based on who I am around every day!
Whether we like it or not, we are products of our environment. The people we spend time with can have a big impact on what we do and the decisions we make. Hopefully this can be in a positive way, but, unfortunately it can just as easily impact us negatively as well. When I work with people trying to make positive changes of ANY kind, I always like to find out who they are hanging out with, and where they are spending their time.
This quote by Jim Rohn also reminds me of a model of behavior and can apply to many things in life. From physical activity to nutrition habits and much more, our personal choices can be affected by things that are at play that we may not realize, including:
- Individual choices: We all know it’s important to eat right and exercise, however, not everyone possesses the resources to make this happen. Others have every resource available to them and still struggle to make healthy choices a priority. The typical American lifestyle is not conducive to good health and it leaves people in situations that may not even present a “good” or healthy option. The choices we make are shaped by the opportunities we have or choose to take advantage of.
- Relationships: Who we hang out with can have huge implications as to the choices we make. Are you going out to party and drink with friends, or are you going to hit the gym or go for a walk? Your best intentions can get hijacked very easily if you are spending time with people who are a negative influence. Your mental health can also be impacted. Upbeat, optimistic people can be very up-lifting. Negative complainers can weigh you down and drain your energy. Spending time with supportive family and friends can improve your odds of making healthy choices and support your general health.
- Community: How many times have you passed the break room at work only to find yourself grabbing one of the brownies or doughnuts? You never would have had that junk if it wasn’t around you at school or work. Take notice of this and remind others around you that it isn’t helping anyone. Some schools and workplaces are very supportive of good health. Others can take an unhealthy toll on well-being. On an even broader scale, our communities shape behavior too. It’s hard to bike, walk, and run when there aren’t safe streets or paths to do so. Choose your living space wisely.
- Politics: Our health behaviors are influenced every day by public policy and most people don’t even realize it. From seat belt usage to zoning laws against fast-food, our opportunities and resources are influenced by rules and regulations. These policies are usually meant to protect us, but many times they are lacking and can leave us at risk. Go vote when the time comes. Even better yet, contact your representative and make them work for you. From schools to neighborhoods, healthy places and spaces should be a priority for everyone!
So, who are you spending most of your time with, and where are you spending it? It’s important to take time to reflect on this. Are there things going on in your daily environment that can be improved or changed? Positive, healthy people and places can be instrumental in helping all of us achieve good health and quality of life.