People have a much better chance of changing their lifestyle when the people around them are supportive of their efforts to improve how they live. That's certainly true for serious lifestyle concerns such as illegal drug addiction; rehab clinics know that former users are much more likely to quit successfully if they can break away from the people still in that lifestyle. It's also true for more everyday health habits, such as quitting smoking, losing weight or just trying to eat more healthily.
So how can you assist a loved one to make positive changes in their lives? The answer is - by doing it with them! Making changes can be difficult if other people aren't changing with you. I recently noticed that my husband seemed to be drinking every single night and it was becoming a bit of a problem. We had a good discussion about it after I told him how I felt and we have now set some ground rules for us going forward. These include not drinking in the house, and not drinking when the kids are around. Even though I have previously also drunk in the house, I have felt much better since we have both stopped this.
It's hard to stop smoking if all your friends are out there on the pub doorstep still puffing away, and it's miserable trying to diet if your family fills the cupboards with tempting treats. Be supportive of people trying to improve how they live by joining in with them - you could do yourself some good in the process!
- If your friend is trying to be more active, why not join in with their exercise sessions so you can motivate each other, or consider signing up for a fun run you can do together.
- If your partner is improving their diet, it's important not to lead them astray. Make sure there are healthy snacks and food around the house and join in with what they're eating so they aren't tempted by your meal instead.
- If you're supporting someone as they quit smoking, use it as inspiration to quit yourself or consider switching to electronic cigarettes as they could be a healthier alternative. Don't tempt them; hide your cigarettes and don't put pressure on them to join you for a smoke.
- There's a strong correlation between the amount of time people spend preparing food and how slim they are. Restaurants tend to be more generous with butter, cream and salt than you'd be if you were cooking at home. So if you're trying to eat more healthily, eating out can be a minefield. If you have a friend or family member trying to eat healthily, don't base your social life around eating out. Instead, how about a healthy home cooked meal or visit a park or attraction where food isn't the focus?
Making changes alongside your loved one can improve you lifestyle too, and it can also improve your relationship with that person. I highly recommend it!