We all have people we care about. Part of caring about other people means wanting them to be healthy. But it can be tricky to encourage others without sounding preachy, judgmental, or self-righteous. How can we successfully lead those around us toward a healthier lifestyle?
5 Ways You Can Encourage Others to Be Healthy
1. Start Small
Pursuing a healthy lifestyle is no small feat. Sometimes, knowing where and when to begin can feel overwhelming, especially for someone just starting on their health and fitness journey. The people you care about might look at your success story and get discouraged, believing they aren’t capable of the same success. There is simply too much to learn and too many habits to change.
In these instances, you can encourage others to start small. Even one step toward a healthy lifestyle is better than no progress at all. Change one habit. Make one small change. Examples of these small changes might look like:
- Drinking more water throughout the day
- Adding one serving of fruits or vegetables to your daily diet
- Committing to 20 minutes of movement every day (this could be walking, biking, or just playing outside with the kids)
- Going to bed 30 minutes earlier
- Replacing one unhealthy food with a healthier alternative
Each small step builds momentum, leading to BIG success over time. You can encourage others to start by taking the first step toward a healthier life.
2. Remove Negativity
If your goal is to encourage other people, you must leave the negativity at the door. Making negative statements about your body, the appearance of others, how hard and terrible your workouts are (even if it’s true!), and how much you hate giving up carbs isn’t going to motivate anyone else to join you.
Positivity is the best way to get your family and friends aboard the health train. Instead of saying, “I hate running,” replace it with, “I’m getting better at running.” Instead of “I wish I didn’t have this loose skin,” say, “This is the receipt for all my weight loss!” The way you frame your own health and fitness journey has a significant impact on other people’s perceptions.
Likewise, use positive language when talking to other people. Be loving, encouraging, and non-judgmental when talking about health and fitness. Let the other person know that you believe they can do anything they set their minds to, and that you will be their biggest cheerleader, no matter what happens.
3. Get Outside
Being outdoors is great for our bodies and our minds. If you want to encourage others to get healthy, start by getting them outside.
You can ask a friend to join you on a walk, bring your teenager outside for a game of cornhole, or go for an easy hike with your loved one. Even 10 minutes outside can increase energy and boost your mood.
Plus, playing outdoors usually feels less like work and more like play. Even people who don’t want to join you in the gym may very well come along for a stroll through the park. Who knows? Those short outdoor sessions might just be the kickstart they need to lead healthier lives.
4. Avoid Unsolicited Advice
Encouraging others means just that – encouraging. You’re there to cheer them on, celebrate their successes, and pick them up after failure.
Encouragement does not mean giving them unsolicited advice.
Most people who are unhealthy or out of shape know they are unhealthy or out of shape. They know what they should be doing to get healthy. Your opinions about how they should or should not live their lives are unhelpful. Instead, that unsolicited advice often backfires, leaving your relationship strained and your loved one feeling embarrassed and hopeless.
You can certainly share your story, using “I” phrases like “When I decided to get fit, here’s how I did it” or “I really noticed that eliminating refined sugar made me feel a lot better.” But avoid telling someone else what to do. You can never force someone else to change their behaviors.
5. Set an Example
The best way to encourage others to get healthy is to model healthy living yourself. When your loved ones see you doing the work – gaining energy and confidence as a result – they will be inspired.
Think about who and what encourages you to be a better athlete, friend, parent, and person. Most likely, it’s someone whose life you admire. Someone who set a goal and worked hard to accomplish that goal. Someone you can look up to and say, “I want to be like that. If they can do it, so can I.”
YOU can be that motivation for the people around you.
Whether you know it or not, someone is always watching you. If you want to encourage others to lead a healthy life, keep living it yourself. Don’t talk the talk – walk the walk. Others are more likely to follow your lead when they see how a healthy lifestyle has impacted your life.
How are you encouraging others in your life to be healthy? Share your comments with us below or tag us in your inspiring stories on social media!