By Lauren Denos: 5/18/2015 (Mindset)

Have you had times when you want to help others, but they just seem so set in their ways that you cannot seem to get through? Helping others with what you know is a great thing, but you also have to let them do what is right for themselves. You cannot fix anyone else; you can only share what you know.

The best way to do this is to be a good example. This holds true even if you are a professional in an area you want to help people in. The truth is many people simply are not ready to change yet. You telling them how to change and create better healthy habits is a nice gesture and it is not a bad thing, but it does not mean that they are ready for it. When people see what you are doing they can see the lessons, but they are not being forced to change.

For example:

  1. When you always park your car at the furthest end of the parking lot so you can walk more, that shows the extra effort you are putting in to stay healthy.

  1. When you are out with friends and you choose a healthier option on the menu, or you use portion control and put half of your meal in a “to go” box, your friends notice.

  1. When people on Facebook see that you went and worked out, sure it may annoy some people, but that is usually because those people feel bad that they are not taking care of themselves. This does not mean that you need to post a thousand selfies of yourself at the gym, but there is no reason you cannot post about breaking a personal record or doing something new, or simply that you are proud of yourself for getting a workout in when you really just wanted to veg out and watch Dr. Who.

Many times it is not the direct advice people are given, but the things they see the people around them do that helps them to gradually start changing their habits. Many people do not take the direct advice because they are simply not ready to change yet. If a person is not ready to change, they can have all the information in the world and it will not help. However, when a person is ready, they will seek out the information they need and no one can stop them.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I have trained plenty of people, some of whom were ready to change their lifestyles while others were not. This is difficult for me, because I want to see people healthy and happy. Yet, I am a guide not a wizard. In that case, all I can do is give them the information and be a good example and let them work in their own time. I am not with them 24/7, so if they do not want to change I cannot force them to. Sure, working out the couple times a week they see me and hopefully changing their diets a little bit will help, and those are great steps. But, I am not there to take them on a run or a swim every day, I am not there to smack the cookies out of their hands when they are on their 10th one. These are things that the individual has to do for themselves. It is not your place to force someone to change. Once I learned this, it made things a lot easier.

Another important thing to understand is that everyone is on their own journey. All you can do is focus on yourself. You may see people doing things that drive you crazy because they are being self-destructive, but that is not your life. When you see it, you can be understanding and be there for them, but do not force your will onto someone else. When you see people doing these self-destructive habits, then you can also look and see what you do not want to be doing in your life. It can be a great reminder. By no means do I mean that you should not care about these people. In fact, you may want to say something, but one of the best things you can do is to be a good example.

So what can you do? Obviously, be an example. If people have questions, answer them. If you want to take being a good example further, then plan gatherings with these people and make it something that is a positive influence. For example, instead of going to a coffee shop, go on a hike. Instead of going to a restaurant full of junk food, go to a healthy restaurant or cook a healthy meal at your place. Being a good example makes more of a difference than you know.



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