The Secrets of Success: Tap into the Power of Positive People

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When people first come to SparkPeople, they are often happily surprised by how positive our members and community are. SparkPeople members are by and large a positive bunch, continuously looking out for one another and spreading encouragement. This positive support system is so important in any healthy lifestyle journey--and it really works! Our most successful members--real people like you who have reached their weight-loss goals or lost at least 100 pounds in their journey to date--truly understand the power of positivity. When we recently surveyed this elite group, we found out so many things these big "losers" did to reach their goals and were finally able to quantify just how successful certain habits or strategies really were. You can find it all in The Spark, now a New York Times Best Seller!

We couldn't keep all the secrets in this book to ourselves, so we're sharing our 15 favorite secrets of success on the dailySpark from March 1-15.

Secret #12: Tap into the power of positive people.
Successful SparkPeople members don't just consider people a nice part of their community; instead they tap into the power of positive people and use that as a weight-loss tool. How?

60% of successful members connected with positive people who they knew would help them stay positive, and nearly just as many proactively read other people's success stories on as a motivational technique. Among people who had lost at least 100 pounds, the numbers were even higher—72% proactively connected with positive people, and 71% read inspiring stories of other successful SparkPeople.

There are two techniques here, both of which have a resounding impact on your success. The first combines support from others and positivity. That means it may not be enough to ask your pessimistic cube-mate at work to support you in your weight-loss goals. And if your partner or roommate isn't supportive about your goals, you may need to look elsewhere to keep your spirits up. You have to seek out support from people who are also positive if you hope to remain that way yourself.

The second technique, looking outward for inspiration, is another interesting one. I guess it is no surprise why weight-loss success stories are so intriguing for us to read and shows like "The Biggest Loser" are so popular among viewers. While it's interesting to learn what each person did to reach his or her goal weight, the simple act of learning about someone else who was successful can help you feel like YOU can be successful, too. What a powerful motivational technique!

When I was on my own weight-loss journey (long before SparkPeople), I lived alone in a city where I barely knew a soul. I didn't have the support of a workout buddy, roommate or family member who really understood what I was going through. No one was cheering me on or giving me pep talks to stick with my plan, and as a result, I struggled more than I would have liked. Would it have been a lot easier if I had someone else to count on? You bet! But one thing I did do was read the success stories of others. I would tear them out of my fitness magazines and keep them in a folder so that I could look at them anytime I needed a motivational boost. Each person I read about was proof that I could do it, too.

You don't have to go it alone though, even if you don't have supportive friends or family in your life. SparkPeople's overwhelmingly positive community is here to support you when you need it! And we have boatloads of success stories and motivational members (as voted on by you) whose stories and pages you can browse whenever you need a boost. Here are some resources to help you get support (online and in real life) and tap into the power of our positive community. The Spark is the only top-selling weight-loss book this year that isn't about what to eat or how to exercise. We all know HOW to lose weight. Often, the challenge lies in maintaining the motivation and positive outlook to follow the program, and that's exactly what we focus on in our book. Read The Spark to become the master of your own motivation once and for all!

How do you tap into the power of positive people? What other stay-motivated tricks help you reach your goals?

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Thank You for a great article. Report
Absolutely great Report
MIC: Motivation, Inspiration, Commitment are the KEYs! Report
The negative outshines the positive because we let it, and this is so important as it keeps us motivated and we can and will do it! Report
I am SO glad to be a fellow... "Spark"-ler. I too wish to surround myself with positive, encouraging & motivating people. It's sad when I recognized, I couldn't seem to get it from "friends & family" on another social media site, and have found the "friendships" I've developed here are what I "need" and want in my life. Thanks for what every one of you does in your "sparking." Report
Hi, Nicole ...
Yes, it's me the spun out on tangents so far I've lost all sense of a routine peep. I know many people say they feel motivated by success stories of others, but being a fiercely independent, introspective type from about as soon as I could get up on my hands and knees, these stories don't do a thing for me. In fact, I'm kind of sick of seeing the typical "I lost ... lbs!" & reality shows, including "Biggest Loser," are a real turn off for me (no offense intended). Once in a while I might catch a boost of inspiration from someone in a more subtle kind of way, perhaps by hearing or seeing them taking on a project of some sort, or just being around them.
I've definitely come more and more throughout my life to a place of shutting out the "negative peeps," constant whiners, people who can't laugh at themselves & walk around with a sour grimace on their faces with the realization that there are worse things than being alone. I agree that negativity is mentally toxic, and where the mind goes, I truly believe, so does the body!
But when it comes right down to it, the motivation that really counts for me is that which comes from within myself -- it comes from arriving at a point where I really really want something and am determined in my mind to achieve it. All the most important achievements or changes I've made have come from this inner sense of "it's time -- no more excuses, stalling, wimping out, etc."
Just wanted to make the point that there are others like me out there, even tho we may be in the minority ... when things go wrong, we tend to look inward rather than outside for the solutions. Report
Having positive people in your life is good period. Negative folks just screw up your day. SparkPeople are just terrific at giving you that boost when you are struggling. Report
SP is ABSOLUTELY VITAL in my sticking to my guns, so to speak. Having sooo many positive people who truly want to help you succeed, well, that's a beautiful thing! I thank God for this website and all the people I've met here, because I KNOW I can't do this on my own, but lo and behold, I'm doing it with SP! Report
Thank you for the very positive post. Report
I knew that this was something lacking for me before I found SparkPeople, but I didn't realize just how much some of my friends had been influencing me in a bad way. The positive power of SparkPeople is potent! Report
LOVE IT GREAT BLOG!!!!!!!!!! Report
Glad to be part of Sparkpeople! Report
This is very good! Report
I find myself being very supportive on Sparks but sometimes I complain about people in my personal life. I have not always been this way and am trying hard not to be so judgmental anymore. I have only gotten much supports from Spark friends. Report
My husband is every supportive of my recent decision to improve my food and fitness choices by following the SPARK. Report
YES! My very first experiences with Sparkpeople were of people I didn't even know giving me Goodies that said "welcome" along with a big "you can do it! you are worth it!" It made me seek out others to encourage as well. Report
So true!!! I need good support around me, learn how to deal with stress with non eating habits and be around other people who know how to take care of themselves! Report
Thanks for the blog... I've found this to be so true! Report
While surrounding myself with friends that have been incredibly supportive, it was also important for me to disassociate myself from friends that had their own issues with weight. I needed to stop feeling guilty about my progress and stop feeling like I was a bad person because there was an attitude: that by simply loosing the weight, I was rubbing it in some people’s faces. It took a lot of positive reassurance from some amazing people to help me move on and realize that my misplaced concern about possibly hurting others was keeping me from making healthy choices in front of those negative people for fear of being accused of being insensitive to their weight issues. I’m really grateful for having some amazing people in my life that have been key to my continued progress…56 pounds and counting! Hooray! Report
Thoughts are things. We need to stay positive, find positive ideas, conversations, or feedback when we are down if we want to get back up! Thanks for this blog. Report
When I was told I had 6 months to live. I didn't believe it and I wouldn't let anyone around me who started out OH I am so sorry! Or Poor you etc.. I would ask anyone around me to be positive because I was.
Positive thoughts bring positive actions.

"Knowledge is the Power" Make it Happen!
Thanks for the post. Report
We all have bad days and I can understand that, but I don't like to be around people that are contiually negative. Positive is where it's at. Report
I agree! Being positive can really make all the difference! Report
I see that this blog has attracted a mixed review. Some people have found the support they need and others haven't and even find that they have to hide their true feelings or not shout out at all. My experience has been extremely positive. One week when I gained weight not only my SparkFriends but strangers who saw my post jumped to the rescue with positive comments and encouraged me to stick with the program. I found that extremely motivating. It helped me get back on track. It helped me examine some of my misconceptions and realize how much depends on my action and not just my wishes. This week I have found new energy and have forged ahead. It is the Sparkers who deserve credit for helping me get my act together. Report
Staying positive has always been part of my spiritual growth. You are right, Spark People is full of positive and great supporting team communities. I have taken full advantage of it! Report
Great blog - positive people are a pleasure to be around! Report
If I'm going to be able to make these changes, I'll need all the positive energy I can get. Report
The people you hang with you will become like...if positive people, then you will be positive-if negative, then you will be negative. It does make a difference! Report
I know just what you mean and feel the same. I try to be as positive as I can but when I see others success sometimes it depresses me instead of inspiring me Report
I do get positive comments from some of the people I have friended here. But in real life I am on my own. I want to be like the ones you keep refering to as being at goal or lost 100 lbs but when I read about them all I can think of is how lucky they are why can't that be me?! I keep trying but I think I'm just not going to be healthy like them. And that is where I need HELP!! But I feel like no one wants to hear that here so I struggle harder to fit in. Hiding my feelings most of the time until I write something like this. Does any one understand? Report
To have a a friend.....
To hang with positive a positive person....

And keep my trap shut more.....Listen
I don't reach out well at all. I think it is because I either feel like I will fail and people will know about my failure or because when I have/do I don't get encouragement I get "yah right", "ok whatever", or negative messages. So, when I joined Sparkpeople a couple years ago I did it for the information and tracking tools. I peeked at message boards but didn't join in. The success stories worked great for me because I too would say they did it so can I and I am my best encourager and worst enemy.... Anyway, somewhere along the way I decided to one step at a time join the community and couldn't and still can't believe how positive they are and I feel great giving others positive encouragement. Giving encouragement is as good as getting it! Thank you!!!! Report
This is so true, about the positive nature of Sparkpeople. I plan to be one of those 100 pound losers eventually, and I know already that chatting with other positive SP members has given me such motivation. Initially the motiviation has to come from within yourself, but once you start getting to know SP and the members, the motivation just keeps coming! I am so thankful to have found SP! Report
I just try to talk to myself and tell me that I can be the person I want to be and I am worth it. Report
Going to local group exercise classes (Outdoor Boot Camp, Group Indoor Rowing, rowing classes on the water) has been a great source of positive energy for me, both from fellow class members and coaches/teachers. The best coaches/teachers are supportive and encouraging, which creates a environment that brings out the positive side of everyone. Being around positive people has helped me overcome my own feelings of fear and discouragement. And as a result of my success and persistence, I'm more optimistic and can encourage others in turn. Report
My daughter who lives in Wy told me about Sparkpeople. We are very new at this new life style, and find that it helps us, and we are each others Best Positive People, and look forward every day to the positive in put we receive here. Thank you. . . . Report
So much truth here! Positive feedback and encouragement feeds positive behavior... and it works in reverse too. I so much prefer the positive! LOL
Thanks for this blog... Report
Positive ppl help I guess, but it's the ones that don't think I can do it that make me want it more! I want to prove them wrong and be able to say "I told you so!" Report
Sparkpeople community is definitly the best support group I have. I get so inspired by reading many of the blogs, how much we have in common and how quickly they reach out when I am feeling low. Report
My best bud Dennis is my positive person. He helps me with what I need. He's willing to hear my heart. we walk one day a week to catch up on things. I also have friend Reed and we chat about strength training as I do it 4 days a week and he does it too. I am so grateful for these 2. Report
I get too focused on my lifestyle changes, activity, nutrition etc. I have to be careful that it is not the ONLY thing I can talk about with my support team. They have lives too! Report
The Spark in the Dark team has been hugely supportive. Some family/friends are not very supportive, in fact have undermining/sabotaging behaviors that I have to cope with. Spark is a place where people understand that you have goals that are healthy and they are supportive. Report
I especially love the Positive support I find here. I find support at my gym as well. My husband is positive, & supportive too which really helps too when I am having a rough day. Report
Important to be surrounded by positive people Report
I know people get wore out about my diet because i have done this for years but spark people is different it's not a diet. My husband has taken me every week paid out for weight watcher jenny craig you name it 100's of dollars because of my health. I have heart problems! I couldn't ask for more but i can tell hes burnt out with my diets to so i don't say much! Sparkpeople is a God sent to me i can't say thank you enough! I was ready to give up the battle but there was a little little flame and it caught and i am seeing the light again! Report
I've got parents and co-workers offering cheers of support.... that goes a long way....Spark people keeps me focused.... a day without spark is like a day without sunshine! :-) Report
My positive people are my long-time friends, parents, husband and son. I have to give myself some credit too for pursuing a healthy lifestyle and continuing on even when the weather is crap, temptations are everywhere, and working every day to a better "me". Spark People is the one of the newest best things to enter my life. Thanks for putting me on the right path to a long and fun-filled life for myself and those I surround myself with. Report
I have support of my boyfriend and his dad, my sisters and the people at the classes I attend. So I think that I am lucky. I have spark people too :P Report
I am very lucky that I am surrounded by positve people in my daily life, but the added extra bonus to hear from people who share the same goals and lifestyle is a tremendous bonus. I love turning to Sparks every day for my own daily dose of encouragement. Report