Is it money? Time? A successful career? A big home? The dream job?
If you saw where this was going, you already know that it's none of the above. The number 1 predictor of happiness is the quality of our connections and relationships. This is what I call, your "choir." Our relationships and connections are our choir. These are the people that pick us up when we are down, no matter what. Choirs are ever changing, and grow and develop as we do. Your choir doesn't have to be big. You just need ONE good friend, ONE good person who's got your back and who loves and supports you no matter what.
We need people in our lives that sing our praises for the times when we don't sing our own. I certainly learned this lesson the other week when I wrote my blog post about "throwing in the towel." I felt truly alone. I felt like I had no choir. I wasn't even in my own choir. But out of the woodwork, came so many choir members to let me know that I was not alone, and to remind me of my purpose. To press on. There in lies my first mistake. I had stepped out of my own choir. I hadn't been singing my own praises. You must be in your own choir.
We all need a choir because WE is more powerful than ME. We are more powerful together than we are alone, and that's why having a choir, even if it's just ONE other person is so important.
If you've ever felt unhappy, it's time to work on building your choir. Don't get overwhelmed with adding people just to add numbers. Really truly think about who you want to add.
My rules for adding people into my choir:
Do you make the cut for your own choir? Having a choir is one of the most important things we need as humans for the sake of our happiness. We need social connection. It's why I believe so strongly in the power of retreats where we get the opportunity to create relationships and connections. It's why I believe in the power of WE, and that we are stronger together, than we are alone. It's why in the Trainer In Your Back Pocket, we are a tribe, rather than just individuals.
There's no denying that when we feel lonely, we simultaneously feel unhappy. Maybe your choir needs more practice. Or maybe you need to make cuts from or additions to your choir. Maybe you forgot to put yourself in your own choir. No matter what, if you want to find happiness, you've got to begin building your choir. We simply cannot do it all alone. It's why the "S" in our MEDS is essential. That Social connection is key indicator of happiness.
So, if you're an introvert like I am, and you find it intimidating to reach out to your choir, I hope you find comfort in knowing that your choir is always there for you, whether you reach out or not. Maybe a simple phone call, text, or hand written letter to let your choir members know that you appreciate them will not only help you feel happiness, but them too. I guarantee you'll feel happiness when you reach out and let your choir know how appreciative you are!
Feeling stuck? In need of a new choir to help you achieve your health and fitness goals? You're always invited to join the Trainer In Your Back Pocket tribe, where you'll have a group of supportive, like-minded individuals who are constantly striving to be stronger both on the inside and out. We also have powerful women-only well-weekend retreats each year, to connect, and grow our choirs. We got you!
This shit is hard. Believing in something so much, working so hard for 10 years to make it become a reality, and still struggling to make it work has been the biggest test of my willpower. It would be so easy to quit. To give up. To throw in the towel. But I can't. And I won't.
Last month, I attended a fitness convention for the gym that I work at part time. I sat in the crowd, listening to all of the "new additions" into online training that the big box gym plans to implement. I crumpled into my seat. I slowly retreated. I may have even brushed away a few tears. This brand new online training module that the gym plans to launch is the "new craze." It's "never been done before," and it's "cutting edge." As I listened closely, I shrunk even more. My confidence sank. My soul got crushed that day.
For the past 6 years, I have put my heart and soul, and every resource that I have, into building the best damn online fitness training program I could possibly create. For 6 years, I've been building, from the ground up, the Trainer In Your Back Pocket (TBP) program. I spend every moment innovating a program that combines not only fitness workouts, but nutrition and wellness, mindset and accountability, and most importantly community. So, to sit in the crowd, and hear that "it's never been done before" left me feeling a little less than worthy.
I thought it would pass. I thought the feeling of being a small bug getting squashed by the big corporations would lessen. But it didn't. What the F* am I doing? Why bother pushing, hustling, when, 6 years later, it hasn't rewarded me (financially)? I'm no fitness model. I'm no Social Media guru. I'm just me; a slightly overweight lover of improving my health, exercising, and living a healthy, inspired life. Luckily I have two educational degrees to back up my passion and knowledge for health and fitness.
Well, enough is enough. I needed a perspective change this week. It was time to swap my focus from being a squashed bug, to helping those who want my help. If I was in this for the money, I'd have given up 5 years ago. The Trainer In Your Back Pocket (TBP) is so much more than a paycheck. It's my chance to help spread health to a sick, unhappy, and unhealthy world. I must keep pressing on. My dreams for this program are to help so many more people find their true powerful greatness within.
So, in order to force a perspective change, I pulled out the trusty white board in my office, and began creating a list of all the great additions to the TBP program that I implemented this year, and all of the things I want to add to the program next year. As the list grew, my mindset began to change. Holy moly, I did a ton this year! I added so much value to the already value-filled TBP program. Not only did I implement the coolest training tool yet, the MYZONE fitness tracker, but I put together so many bonus programs, like Awesome Abs April, Amazing Arms August, March Madness, the TBP Travel-Fit-Kit, and the 100 Woman Blood Sugar Project. I was busy! This is on top of all the content that I create and provide each month with the monthly workout plans, weekly workout videos, nutrition challenges, and wellness challenges. As I made my lists on the white board, I also got inspired to create some new projects for 2018, and I can see the great value in the upcoming year ahead. It was just the motivational push from behind, and inspirational "carrot" into the future, that I needed to turn off the self-doubt.
So, if the big box gym wants to do their thing, BRING IT! The Trainer In Your Back Pocket is the place where everyday people can come to feel connected, loved, inspired, and know that they are getting the best damn fitness and nutrition advice out there.
So, with that long rant, I want to send lots of love to you all, and a million thank you to my TBP tribe who supports the Trainer In Your Back Pocket program year after year. You guys are the reason I continue!
Abby Malmstrom M.S., a.k.a. The Trainer In Your Back Pocket, is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wellness coach, and "real food" nutritionist. Her life as an active duty military spouse takes her all over the world, allowing her to influence, teach, and connect with folks in communities she never even dreamed of reaching. Life's an adventure, so join Abby for the ride! It's time to "Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well, Be Well."