Lately I’ve been trying hard to live a healthy lifestyle, but in order to do that you first have to look from the outside in.
Healthy living can be hard for a college student because we’re always pressed for time, stressed out and have little to no money. Of course, I know there are habits and actions that need to be developed by me, for me, like eating healthy, exercising, reading for fun and getting a full night’s sleep, just to name a few.
Even though being healthy is a personal journey, I got to thinking about how externalities affect an individual’s way of life. As I thought more about it, I realized that the people you spend time with influence your way of thinking and way of life.
As you come into this new school year, it’s important to take a moment for yourself to think about what your goals are for the year and what type of person you want to be.
After you figure that out, it’s important to assess how your friends impact you. Do they push you to do better in school? Do they offer intellectually stimulating conversations or motivate you to exercise? Do they make you want to eat healthy foods and support you emotionally? Perhaps they splash a little bit of spontaneity into your life?
If you think about your friendships you will soon realize what they have to offer you in your personal growth, and you can learn to utilize the traits of those around you to better yourself.
With intellectual friends, try to study with them more, attend an interesting seminar on campus, read a book or listen to a podcast simultaneously and have discussions about it.
If you have any exercise junkies as friends, ask them to go to the recreation center with you or to go on a hike.
For the healthy eaters, try to take trips to the grocery store together, cook with them, prepare meals for the week or go out to get a bite to eat.
Don’t forget that you have the ability to help your friends out, too.
I have a friend who is super smart, loves to read nonfiction and knows pretty much everything there is to know about social justice issues, but she doesn’t have a regular workout routine. Just this week she gave me a book to read about undocumented migrants and I’ve been taking her to the gym with me and creating workouts that we can do together.
She is bettering me intellectually and I’m helping her out physically.
After analyzing your friends and your relationships with them, you may realize there are some that don’t have anything to offer you on the personal improvement front, and that’s okay. It’s up to you to think about why you are friends and if it will be beneficial for you to keep this person around.
We all have those friends that offer a good time, who know where the best parties are and are always coming up with new things to do. Just because they don’t motivate you to be physically or mentally better, doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to bring to the table.
They are the weekend friends, the ones who you go to when you are in need of release after a stressful week. After all, variety is the spice of life, and it’s important for you to have a dynamic friend group.
After you realize the relationships you have with your friends, you can hone in on the strengths that each of you bring, making your friendships stronger and your relationship with yourself healthier.