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Birds of a feather ... a lifestyle change requires a mentor: Look to your friends!

Dec 15, 2011, 6 a.m.

When you have to change your lifestyle, having support from those around you can make all the difference in success. Whether you need more exercise, have to change your diet, or just finally decided to retire, you likely know someone who has already experienced it. Consider these friends as mentors and the most important part of your lifestyle change program.

Your safety is the most important reason for looking to friends during lifestyle changes. Every lifestyle change program includes some possible problems. The symptoms of overdoing new exercise show up subtly before they turn obvious. At that point, they can be real relative to individuals. Nobody knows your personal habits and expressions like your closest friends. They will know at a glance if you've had enough time on the stationary cycle, or if you are ready for a bit more. They can even tell if your behavior looks like your blood sugar is off.

Your friends care enough about you enough to refuse to light a cigarette you should not be smoking, or to stay patient with your attitude that second day without one. When they have experienced the same lifestyle change, they already know the best walking paths, or diet-friendly restaurants. Instead of just telling you where to find them, they share them with you. Then, demanding requirements to change your lifestyle add to your joy in each day. The transition becomes more welcome. Because they increase the chances of your program's success, look for your most valuable lifestyle change resource right next to your heart with your best friends.

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