As we approach the holidays, we will be getting closer to family and friends. We all have someone in our life who could benefit from a healthier lifestyle. I know that it's difficult to watch someone slip into obesity or not care about looking after their body. This person is in your life because you love them, but how do you help them? I've presented some strategies you may use to help nudge this person in a healthier direction!
Invite! Invite them to whatever you are doing. Even if you are absolutely sure they will reject your invitation. They may say no more times than you count but all it takes is that one yes. This individual may have not be ready for a change on your previous proposals. But there could be a time when they are prepared to join you on your fitness journey.
Educate! Show them the research about the positive benefits of exercise. Not all of the benefits of exercise are physical. Try to bring up the emotional, mental and social advantage to adopting a healthier lifestyle. However, you cannot do this in a pushy or know-it-all way. You must be tactful. During a meal, bring up an article that you have read where exercise has been linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety. Your delivery may need to be more indirect than you prefer.
Support! Positive reinforcement is key. If they joined you for that hot yoga class but ended up feeling exhausted and foolish in the back, praise them for at least attending. Showing up is the hardest part of any workout routine and they were able to check that box! Ask the person for one positive thing about the class or the workout. I know that a majority of it was torture but there had to be one aspect of the experience that was uplifting. By bringing up this positive note, they may be able to change a small part of their thinking.
Now you are equipped with three strategies to help you encourage someone to adopt a healthier lifestyle!
With all of this said, there is one more thing you must understand. And that is: you must accept that they may never change. This may be the most challenging aspect of this post. Your actions may have no impact on this person. You must honor this person's freedom and ability to make their own decisions. However, DO NOT GIVE UP. Keep inviting, educating and supporting this person. They may never listen to you but what if one day they did...
Thank you so much for reading! If you know anyone else in your position, please share this with them!