The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
It can be disheartening to witness a loved one struggle with their health. It can be even more difficult if their health problems are due to their own lifestyle. You may be confused about why they don’t work harder to care for themselves and may be thinking about what you can do to help.
However, making lifestyle changes isn’t easy and can take an enormous amount of willpower and encouragement. It’s hard for someone who has been unhealthy for a long time to completely change their lifestyle and improve their health. They often need a little bit of a push and encouragement just to get started.
Luckily, by showing your love and using gentle persuasion, you may be able to give your loved ones the encouragement they need to make these essential changes. This article will provide some tips on persuading your loved ones to get healthier, as well as other ways you can help them along the journey.
You can’t just sit around and wait for your loved ones to develop a healthier lifestyle themselves. Therefore, you need to have a conversation about how they got to this point and continue conversing with them about their health as they start their journey. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when persuading your loved one to make healthier changes.
The first thing you need to do is understand why your loved one is struggling to get healthy. Many people who struggle with their weight, diet, or exercise often have an underlying mental health concern that keeps them from pursuing healthier lifestyles. You won’t persuade your loved one to change if you are dismissive or ignorant of these issues. So have a discussion with them to figure out why they are struggling and develop a strategy from there.
Lecturing your loved one will not solve anything. In fact, it may only make them feel worse, which will tempt them to continue their unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, instead of lecturing them about their habits, emphasize your concern for their well-being. After all, these bad habits are surely to be hurting their health and causing them great pain. By primarily discussing their health, you are showing your true love and concern for them rather than coming off as judgmental.
Throughout the process, it is essential to be more of a cheerleader rather than a coach. Someone starting their health journey requires love and encouragement, not lectures and discipline. So make sure to celebrate their successes and cheer them on even when they have bad days. You will make it much easier for them to keep going and less likely they will derail.
As mentioned before, you want to be their cheerleader, even on bad days. That means not judging them for skipping a workout or cheating on their diet. Everyone indulges in cheat days every once in a while, no matter where they are on their health journey. Therefore, there is no reason to judge them for these bad days.
Instead, keep being their cheerleader and be empathetic. If you feel inclined to do so, you can also have discussions with them to figure out why they had a bad day so that the two of you can prevent them in the future.
In addition to using persuasion tactics when talking about their lifestyle changes, there are other activities you can do that will further encourage your loved one to stay on track. Below are a couple of tips to keep your loved one motivated.
If your loved one hasn’t exercised much or eaten healthy in the past few years, they are unlikely to succeed with a complete overhaul of their lifestyle. Instead, they will need to make small incremental changes that add up over time.
Therefore, instead of expecting your loved one to start running in the first week, encourage them to take a short walk each day. And instead of completely throwing out all junk food, start with just eliminating a few items (or ban eating out). Good health is about establishing a good lifestyle, which is more likely to succeed if small steps are implemented over time.
The best way to get active is to do it together. It is much harder to start working out without a buddy or cheerleader by your side. Therefore, offer to join them when they hit the gym or go for a walk. It will make the activities more enjoyable, and they will be more likely to turn those activities into a routine.
Furthermore, cooking meals together is a wonderful way to encourage healthy eating and smaller portions. Cooking is far more fun than eating out and cheaper as well. By making it a social activity, you and your loved one will enjoy the experience and look forward to it. This will make other temptations, like ordering takeout or eating microwaveable meals, far less tempting.
This tip should be obvious but is still worth mentioning. Healthy habits do not stick if they are only followed every once in a while. Therefore, these need to become part of a routine, not just an every once in a while thing.
For example, the two of you could schedule your gym visits or walks instead of just going whenever you two are free. By making a schedule, you ensure it is part of your routine and look forward to it. Also, make sure all meals incorporate healthy food instead of just one or two meals a day.
Encouraging your loved on to improve their health won’t be an easy task. Their bad habits are probably ingrained at this point, and they will struggle to alter their lifestyle completely. However, with some gentle persuasion, encouragement, and love, you may be able to influence your loved one to create a better lifestyle. For more tips on how to persuade your loved ones to create a better lifestyle, check out the resources at BetterHelp.