We hear this from people, and it seems to be linked (typically) to a negative tone. Whether you’re trying to make a lifestyle improvement and eat better, drink less, work out more, save money, be more patient, or whatEVER – people take notice, and not always in the most supportive ways.
When people say this to me (or around me) it drives me crazy – because in my mind, we SHOULD change. We should be continually growing, evolving, improving and working to find (and possibly fix) the areas in which we aren’t at our peak. Each season will have a different area that is perhaps less balanced than the rest, so maybe post holidays it’s health and fitness, and fall it’s a financial fitness focus; however, it is OK.
I do not want people to think that it’s a bad thing to change. Changing your mind is perfectly acceptable, and just because someone sees you (or your behavior) in a way that was more aligned with their beliefs in the past, doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. They can accept you as a person and embrace your growth, or not. It’s not for you to decide and it’s not worth trying to convince someone otherwise – because it won’t work.
If you look at yourself and see shortcomings that were prohibiting you from living your best life, or flourishing in those relationships, then it makes SENSE that you would seek to improve that. Changing habits (especially later in life) is rough because it typically involves not just habits – but a focus on the identity that they are linked to, and your perception of who you are. The people around you also have to come to terms with this new identity, and that can cause friction or discomfort.
Don’t close yourself off, but be patient with those friends and family. They won’t understand your “seemingly overnight changes” and they will be (likely) waiting for that shoe to drop and you to “go back to the old ways” that they were comfortable with. Improving or transforming yourself causes evaluation of many internal things, but also our external relationships and “roles” within those. People enjoy friendships and relationships for many reasons, and some of the reasons that they might have enjoyed your company, may no longer align with who you are, or are trying to become. If you’re trying to focus on health and wellness, those friends who you used to party with at the bar every weekend and eat pizza afterward might not be sure how to interact with you now.
Bridge the gap by at least offering some insight (as much as you feel comfortable), and by trying to meet them where they are. In the beginning stages of whatever change you’re making, perhaps your habits and willpower aren’t where they should be for you to go to those past haunts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still go for a walk. Enjoy a cup of tea instead of beer or just share space in the sunshine for a bit. Once your willpower has leveled up, and they have seen your long term resolve, then try again to join the group, but see if you can eat before you go so you’re not tempted to indulge in junk food and perhaps order a seltzer instead of an alcoholic beverage. This is just one example, but there are many trying situations when faced with growth, and I hope that you can find it in yourself to hold steadfast in support of your own metamorphosis.