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Healthy Ways to Motivate Your FriendsHealthy Ways to Motivate Your Friends


Healthy Ways to Motivate Your Friends

When you find a healthy lifestyle that you love, it's only natural to want to share it with others. But it's easy to come across as more of a coach than a cheerleader, which can instantly turn off your friends from your advice. Try these healthy ways to motivate your friends.

Create an open invitation for exercise.

Chances are that a friend may turn down your first few invitations to exercise together. Spend some time considering why, and look beyond their initial excuse. Maybe he doesn’t like morning exercise, or maybe she is intimidated by the level of group exercise classes you now attend. Instead of inviting friends to come with you to your workouts, consider offering to attend a session that is a better match for their fitness level. Attend a beginner class, or consider a dance class or hiking group that is new to both of you. Try several approaches and be sure to keep the invitation open. People reach the point of action at different times. You never know when a friend will be ready to start exercising and finally take you up on your offer.

Live by example.

Motivating someone to join you in adopting healthier habits requires a careful balance. If you are too preachy and over enthusiastic, you can appear unapproachable or even condescending. Often, motivating another person requires no talking at all. When you make healthy food choices, commit to your workouts, and show your healthy attitude, the people around you are watching. When they see the positive influence these changes have made on your quality of life, it may be what they need to make those same changes for themselves.

Be honest.

Seeing results has a big influence on your attitude, and once you reach your fitness goals, things will have never looked better. It’s easy to forget the hardships you overcame when you finally see success. Your positive attitude can be encouraging to others, but it may also make them feel like they could never do what you did. Be honest and express how difficult it was to reach your goal. Discuss the ups and downs and how you got through them. This will keep you approachable and real to those you are trying to help. Once they can picture how you overcame your challenges, they will see how they can accomplish the same thing.

Stay committed.

The worst thing you can do is get a friend fired up about healthy eating and exercise, and then drop the ball on them. Don’t be the friend that forgets to show up for planned workouts, or who is constantly canceling at the last minute. While a friend can’t rely on you to always keep them motivated, you may be an essential part of getting them started towards a healthier lifestyle.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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