One of our biggest challenges isn’t setting long-term goals but making them sustainable. Encouraging your loved ones to make lifestyle changes with you can help.
Kickstart your own goals
Know what you want and be proactive. Whether it's improving your eating habits, increasing your physical activity or reducing sedentary time (eg on social media, TV and computer), set yourself a goal and strategies to achieve it.
Clearly define your goal and be confident in what you want to achieve. Write down the goal and refer back to it from time to time to stay focused. Once you're clear on what you want to achieve, it'll be easier to encourage others to join you on your health journey.
Encourage and engage others in change
Be empathetic to others’ needs. Understand their own goals, and compromise to find a solution that suits them and you.
Not everyone will have the same health goal or readiness for change, but you may be able to find strategies that work for all. Encourage others to think of small changes to their daily routine that can contribute to positive health changes.
Make the healthy choice the easy choice
Encourage others to come up with creative ways to improve health behaviours. Some small changes to get you, your family and your friends on track include:
Swap the biscuit jar on the bench for a fruit bowl.
Arrange for more active work functions and meetings where possible. Try after-work lawn bowls rather than sitting in a restaurant, or have walk-and-talk staff meetings instead of booking a meeting room.
Set aside some outdoor time with the family - play cricket or volleyball, go for a bike ride or walk the dog.
Bring a plate of healthy options for festive gatherings and encourage others to do likewise.
Limit family TV time by replacing it with a fun, active alternative such as doing something outdoors or getting everyone involved in cooking their favourite meal.
When catching up with friends, plan a walk before, during or after your catch-up so you can chat while being physically active.
Get the kids involved by encouraging them to help decide on meals or meal preparation.
First published in Sanitarium’s Good food news