How to Nudge Your Loved Ones Toward Healthier Lifestyle Habits

It is nearly impossible to “help” close friends and family members with their health and fitness issues. The best way to help loved ones is 1.) Be a positive power of example and 2.) Detach with love from their bad habits (and really mean it). In other words, you can’t change them. What you can do is take care of your own health and express your love and concern. In other words, if your spouse is overweight with subsequent health problems, tell them about your desire to have a long and happy, active life with them well into the future. Then, put on your exercise clothes and go out and take care of yourself!

If you notice attempts at positive changes, you might want to reinforce the changes without seeming condescending. If you usually go for a long run, and your spouse has finally started going for walks, be careful not to overshadow their accomplishment. Pay attention and pick up on cues for how you can support them.

In any case, while taking care of yourself you can ask for their support. This may involve certain considerations and adjustments to support your health choices. For example, if you are working hard at weight management, you may ask that your loved ones support your efforts by not bringing junk food into the house. Or you may need to ask for understanding when you take time away from the family to do your exercise. In being transparent about the real effort that is required to make difficult changes you are showing your loved ones how they might make changes as well.

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