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First things first, a very happy – and healthy – 2024, may it be a great year for you! 
As regular readers of this blog will know, we’re not great fans of the usual approach to New Year’s resolutions. It’s the reason we refer to them as the dreaded New Year’s resolutions (!). 
To us, peer pressure – “I’ve decided to lose 3 stone / run the London Marathon / double my salary / fill in the blank(s) / what about you?” – plus industrial quantities of food and alcohol isn’t a good recipe for a successful outcome. Little wonder that few New Year’s resolutions make it past the first week in January, let alone have a successful or happy ending… 
This is why we always suggest a completely different approach to the year ahead. Last year it focussed on one very simple principle – or mantra, if you prefer – to guide your life. Not only was it a much simpler approach, but could be used by everyone. 
Even better, it’s fuelled by those inexhaustible power supplies we all have access to – otherwise known as intuition and inspiration – rather than relying on gritted teeth and sheer willpower. If you need a quick reminder about what it is, click here
So, what are we going to suggest this year? 
Well, it’s something that hides in plain sight but, so easily, undermines our best efforts. Like so many things, it’s obvious once pointed out, but virtually invisible until then. In fact, you may only notice it when you’re away from home – or with a different group of people or bump into someone you haven’t seen for a while. 
Have you guessed what it is yet? 
While we’ve all become much more aware of the advertising we’re subjected to these days – both conscious and subliminal – it’s easy to overlook that much closer to home. Well, much, much closer to home. 
The advertising – well, influence – of those around us, both positive and less so. Put another way, birds of a feather flock together. 
If, like us, you love people watching then you’ll have seen this in action. Any group of people sharing the same behaviour, attitudes, clothing and the like. How there’s a cohesion within it, bringing them all together in many different ways, whether they’re aware of it or not. Sometimes there’s still quite a lot of diversity within the group. Other times not, with the different members seeming to have merged into identikit versions. 
From an evolutionary point of view it makes perfect sense, with groups offering greater safety and security in return for adhering to their own particular “rules.” Again, whether those concerned were aware of it or not. 
However, this isn’t quite what we wanted to talk about today. Rather, it’s the “influence” – both positive and less so – that groups have over their individual members. And, to make it very personal, we’re talking about the influence of those we spend most time with. 
You may not have heard this quote from the great motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, before but it sums things up perfectly: 
“You’re the average of the five people you spend most time with.” 
Put another way, the people you spend most time with shape who you are, regardless of your age. Positively and less so. Whether you’re aware of it or not. 
Now, before we go any further, you may like to mull this over and see how it applies to you. Perhaps you can even see who helped shape some of your particular traits and foibles… Positive and less so. 
While it may sound rather strange, beliefs, habits and behaviours are contagious. Easily picked up without us realising as we go about our lives. And nothing does so more than the people we spend most of our time with. 
If your friends and family are sitting on the sofa, being highly critical, watching rubbish on TV and eating processed food then it’s likely you’ll be doing the same too. Similarly, if they’re regularly exercising, engaged with life, have a positive outlook on life and eating a good diet, then you will be too. 
Put another way, you don’t see a happy dog in a sad house or a sad dog in a happy house. Who we spend time with is really who we’ll become.  
Or, as Jim Rohn also said: 
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” 
So, where are we going with this?  
Perhaps suggesting you should be more than a little mercenary with your choice of friends?!? Of course not. Just to be a little more aware of the hidden influences you’re encountering each day and, just as important, whether you wish to continue with them… 
Sometimes, when you haven’t seen someone for a while, it’s very obvious how different you’ve become. However, where you’re spending regular time with someone, it can be much less obvious. 
The good news is that, as so often is the case, simply taking a step back for a more objective view can be enough. Allowing yourself to notice who you’ve been spending time with AND how this has been affecting you. Then, asking whether you wish to continue doing this... 
If you realise you don’t, you instantly become less of a “match” to that particular person or group. Have less in common and so, naturally, start to drift apart and spend less time together. 
And, in so doing, you’ll have made room for someone who is more on your new wavelength. That’s how easy it can be. 
If it all sounds scary, it really isn’t. It’s a natural progression. After all, you’re not the same person you were yesterday, let alone 5, 10 or 20 years ago… 
As always, the choice is yours. 
Picture by unknown author 
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