A common question we hear from health coaches and wellness enthusiasts is “how can I get my unhealthy friends or family members to take better care of themselves?”
It’s a great question that comes from a place of love, and there’s no single answer that’ll work for everyone. But one thing we know with 99.9% certainty is that preaching to or lecturing people about how they should eat better/exercise/reduce stress is rarely effective.
Change comes from within. So rather than trying to convince anyone that your path of wellness is one they should follow, try this instead:
1. Share your journey.
Share what you learn as your own wellness journey unfolds, simply as a matter of what’s going on in your life. Maybe you find new creative ways to prepare greens, or discover a form of movement that is playful and fun, or you find that switching to a functional medicine practitioner addresses your health challenges better. Talking about what’s new with you in this regard could inspire others to develop more personal awareness of their relationship to health.
Keep in mind that this could materialize in unexpected ways in others, so while they may not go ga-ga over your Cajun kale recipe, maybe they’ll start reading labels a little more closely, and that’s progress.
2. Offer, and accept no for an answer.
Offer to bring a healthy dish to dinner, offer to take someone outside for a walk, offer water, offer a wellness book, offer to pay for a weekend at a retreat center. Offer, but accept no for an answer without asking again. Think of it as gentle pulling rather than pushing, of inviting rather than coercing. It may take 50 no’s before you get a yes, but that yes could make all the difference!
3. Ask high-mileage questions.
At IIN, our students and health coaches learn what we mean by this. High-mileage questions are ones that truly get to the root of things. They quickly and profoundly compel someone to think very deeply about their motivations or actions, and the reasons behind them. An example of a high-mileage question might be “what do you stand to gain by being sick?” Of course, these are sensitive questions, so make sure you ask at a time when someone would be most receptive. It’s likely you won’t get a straight answer right away, but if your question is a good one then it will have a ripple effect in helping someone come to realizations of their own.
A healthy lifestyle is important, but not for everyone, or at least not always when it’s most important to you. So acknowledge that your friends and family are on their own journey, and their health shouldn’t be your burden.
Check out the Integrative Nutrition curriculum or attend an info session to learn more about our holistic wellness approach.
How do inspire people in your life? Share with us below!