There’s an old saying that ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Well, this adage is true. Whether we like to admit it or not, who we surround ourself with matters. You are becoming, in a very real sense, who you hang out with. Like osmosis, you pick up their ideas, beliefs, mannerisms and language. Now, this can be a great thing or a bad thing. It all depends on who is in your circle of people. If you surround yourself with uplifting individuals who challenge themselves to be better, then you will likely pick up on those positive behaviors. However, if your circle is unmotivated and has a tendency to gripe about their problems instead of tackling them head-on with a problem-solving disposition, then you’re in trouble. If you find yourself in the second category, don’t fret. There are steps you can take today to alter your daily interactions — and, in effect, improve your overall sense of self. Here’s what to do:

Identify your circle of influence. 

Make a list of people who you interact with the most. This list could include coworkers, family members or even social media influencers whose content you consume on a regular basis. Think about how you feel every time you end an interaction with them. Do you feel uplifted? Are you motivated? Do you feel like you’ve just spent 20 minutes complaining? Do you feel less focused? How you answer these questions will determine whether they’re influencing you in a positive or a negative way.

Make a list of people you admire — and reach out to them! 

You know the person I’m talking about. They’re both successful and humble. They are continuously reaching for something and they’re doing it for themselves — not for praise and admiration, but for the simple goal of improving their life and the lives of those around them. This person breathes positivity. They walk into a room and instantly elevate the overall mood. Once you identify this person, or persons, reach out to them. Send them a text, call or email them and begin to form a friendship. Hopefully, you can break into their circle of friends — which is probably chockfull of people who are positive and motivated, too. (Note — those Instagram or Facebook accounts that perpetuate negativity? Unfollow them. It’s so simple and so easy. Replace those ‘follows’ with uplifting material that encourages you to be a better version of yourself).  

Listen to your words.

Ok, this might be the scariest step of them all. Look inward and ask yourself ‘am I that positive person in my group of friends, or am I the one who encourages destructive behaviors?’ Hold up a mirror to your words and decipher which category you fall into. If you want to surround yourself with motivated individuals, then you’ll need to raise the bar on yourself! Challenge yourself to be the one who responds with positivity. Choose not to wallow in others’ ‘pity parties,’ but offer solutions instead. This’ll not only positively affect those around you, but it’ll also improve your overall outlook on life.