Sometimes, the people you care about need a cheerleader to inspire and encourage them to meet their healthy lifestyle goals. They may need someone to give them an extra push to create these goals in the first place. It can be a challenge to help motivate people to get fit…ultimately it has to be something they really want to do for themselves. Here is what you can do to help them make that commitment to fitness.
DO BE AN EXCELLENT LISTENER.
Do more listening than talking. People are likely to talk themselves out of their excuses, rationalizations, and negative thoughts. Be understanding, and if you can relate to something they’re saying, tell them “Yeah, that was a problem for me, too.” They will see that you had similar hurdles in the process of committing to a healthy lifestyle and start to see that it is possible for them, too.
DO LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
Talk about what you’ve learned in the process and let them see how this commitment to fitness has helped you. These benefits may not be visible on the surface. Talk about what you’ve learned about yourself. The reason people usually hold back from change is fear of departing from routine…after all, we ARE creatures of habit. It’s not always easy to create new habits. Help them see what they have to gain from the process of getting fit!
DO BE THEIR WINGMAN (OR WOMAN). HAVE THEIR BACK AT ALL TIMES.
Be there for them when they buy new shoes or workout clothes. Try out that new cardio class with them. Go for a walk, a hike, or a run together. Help them make time to fit exercise into their schedule. Challenge your friend to a game of one-on-one basketball, or play frisbee. Find something active they enjoy doing, and do it with them. Make this a weekly activity!
ONCE THEY’VE SET THEIR FITNESS GOALS, HELP THEM STICK TO THEM.
Offer to help them make a fitness schedule. Or you could even make a contract with a friend to become physically active. If you have similar goals, you can work out together and you’ll both be motivated! Celebrate the completion of a difficult workout with them.
A FEW DON’TS
Don’t push too hard. This is about them, not you, and you want to strengthen your friendship, not damage it. Pay attention to what pace they are comfortable starting. Help them build from there, but don’t rush them. Don’t be judgmental- always, always, always be positive about their efforts. Remember! You can’t force them to change their habits; only they can do that for themselves.
Use these tips to help your loved ones get on track with a healthy lifestyle. While in the end, it’s their own decision to commit to staying fit, you can be a great source of encouragement and motivation. Be a great friend and cheerleader!