ENCOURAGING LOVED ONES TO BE ACTIVE
Are you the one at the family picnic who encourages your loved ones to an active game or activity instead of lying around on a blanket? If so, I imagine that at least once, you wished your loved ones were more interested in being more active. There is certainly a balance in how to encourage your loved ones to be more active while not being totally irritating. This article will provide you with some important ideas on how to encourage your loved ones to be more active without pushing them away.
1. BE THE CHANGE
When I left my corporate job, and started training to become a personal trainer, I learned so much incredible information. I wanted to tell everyone! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and share it with every person that mentioned food or exercise - anytime, anywhere. I started by telling my Dad that golf once a week was not enough exercise. Shaking my head at his ham and cheese on white bread sandwiches. I wrote my Mum a training program to help her with those flabby ‘bingo wings’ that she was always complaining about. I tried to convince my non-exercising sister to run with me – even though she hated it.
With all this, I learned a very important lesson that telling people they should change, wasn’t a very effective method. Not everyone is as passionate about fitness as I’d like them to be. And that’s OK. When I stopped trying to change people, convince people and teach people to be more active, I realised that life was more fun - for both me and them!
People are more likely to change from watching and mimicking someone else’s behaviour, than by being told. Think about how we all learned to talk and walk. We simply observed and copied. Mimicking behaviour is hardwired into us from when we were very little. If you live a fit lifestyle, just by spending time with you and seeing how you live, your loved ones may start to want to become healthier. And if not, that’s their decision.
2. TAKE BABY STEPS.
So, we know that by declaring that all social gatherings now will involve a ‘fun run’ and that every family picnic is going to be ‘gluten-free and clean’, probably won’t work. So, what do we do instead? Take baby steps. Start with compromise. Make a small suggestion to a friend or family member that perhaps every second catch up, you do a walk-and-talk instead of a sit-down coffee.
When it’s your birthday (or even if it’s not), you might suggest that you all do something active together. Think rockclimbing, hiring kayaks or a national park walk. When people realise how much fun they had, it may plant a seed for them to want to continue to be more active.
If a loved one is complaining about lack of energy or putting on weight, you could
suggest some fun things that you do that may help. Tell them a personal story about how your energy has increased since you’ve been exercising consistently. Offer to be their workout buddy or their support via text.
3. EXERCISE NOT JUST YOUR BODY – BUT YOUR PATIENCE.
For me, it took many years from when I started ‘being the change’ to start to see changes in people. It seems that when they realised that I was no longer watching to see what they were doing (or not doing), they started to ask me questions. As I changed, they changed. This is the power of being the change. But it takes time.
Some people take longer than others to get a revelation of the importance of staying healthy and fit. A lot of times, people have layers of limiting beliefs and decisions to work through. Many people who join a gym have been thinking about it for 6-12 months before they actually make the commitment. As much as it could be tempting to buy a gym membership for a loved one, unless they’ve asked for it, it probably won’t go down well. What you could do instead, is buy them something fun like dance lessons, an adventure experience or even a mini trampoline. My cousin gave me one and I love it!
For some people, it unfortunately takes a scare, such as a health issue to finally get them to act. For others, they simply need to come to their own conclusion over time. So, in your quest on how to encourage your loved ones to be more active, be careful not to expect change from people. It’s their life and they get to choose how they live it. Either way, keep exercising your patience muscle and be there for them to support them along their journey.
Kat Millar owns Get Results Training, dedicated to helping people transform their health, mind & body. Since 2003, Kat has helped thousands of people achieve their goals. She’s a coach, speaker, awardwinning figure competitor, fitness lecturer & NLP practitioner. Her passion helps people achieve life-changing results & fulfillment, with a range of programs for holistic health & body transformation. Contact via Kat’s website or Facebook