Do your friends move you towards your goals or away from them?

Do your friends move you towards your goals or away from them?

Recently, I went kayaking with a friend. It was a great outing, made a little more challenging by the wind going against us. I realized this was a great metaphor for friendship: it’s great to have the help of a friend when you’re facing a challenge or trying to reach a goal.

When I reflect on what I consider my circle of friends, I appreciate that they come from all walks of life. I have some that are very athletic, some that are driven entrepreneurs, some who are retired, others that are starting out on their journey. I have casual friends I see at parties and I have close friends with whom I travel.

The friends that are in my inner circle and the ones I see the most are the ones who achieve—they are growing in their lives, not just existing. Our friends have a huge influence on how successful we are with our goals, as well.

Josh is my accountability partner for my Goals That Matter system. He’s also my personal trainer and good friend. We push each other to achieve our goals and to achieve more. Pre-Covid, we would go out for a healthy meal or see a movie but most of the time we are doing something active: hiking, kayaking, running or backpacking. Being active with him moves me towards my health goals.

Another friend, Lance, is an entrepreneur. We talk regularly, often about our individual businesses and the goals we have for them. We ask questions of each other, get support, and challenge the other to step up our game. I have gone to business networking events with Lance and have presented the GTM system to his staff. My relationship with Lance helps move me towards my business goals.

Friends from my GoBundance group challenge me on my financial goals. We share our financial plans, look at potential investments and hold each other accountable for achieving the financial goals we set for ourselves, all which helps move me towards my financial goals.

I want to be around people that make me want to be better. They may roll their eyes when I’m say I’m leaving at 9pm as I have an early run the next morning, but they will support me because they know I’m training for the next ultra-marathon. They understand the importance of my goals. They don’t say “come on…you can blow that off for a day, can’t you?”. They respect my goals even if they wouldn’t want to do it themselves.

Remember that we are the sum of the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. If your 5 closest friends go out for burgers and beers every weekend, it will be challenging to enlist their support for you to eat well, go to bed at a decent hour and get up to pursue your goals.

You may have friends that actively try to “keep you down” as it were. People often do not like change and want to keep things as they are. Some may resent the changes you’re making. Some may be a little jealous or think you’re just nuts! You’ll have to decide how you want to resolve these issues. Remember that having people in your life that support you help you grow further and faster.

You may find that over time, how you interact with your friends will change. You may still see the drinking buddies occasionally, but you see them on a weeknight when they have to end early as well. You may find you start hanging out with people on the weekend who spend their leisure time like you do. For me, that meant hanging out with runners. It was an early dinner on Saturday night (pasta anyone?) with an early morning run on Sunday.

As achieving your goals become more important, you’ll find that your circle will naturally evolve in support of that. Trust in that process.