How To Offer Support

giving supportI often talk about how I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support of my family and friends.  It is especially helpful to have a great support system when you decided to be healthier.  It’s good to have people around you who will keep you accountable, pick you up when you fall down, and offer encouragement when you want to quit.  I’m sure most of you can think of one person who is always there for you and ready to help no matter what.  Here is my question for the day, do you give support back?  As great as it is to receive support, it’s just as important to give support to others.  Here are some good ways to give support to others who want to be healthier, as well as a few things NOT to do.

Don’t force it

Giving support is great, but sometimes it’s unwanted.  Have you ever been working out at the gym and a stranger comes up to give you tips or tell you what you’re doing wrong?  I’m sure they think that they are helping, but most of the time it’s just annoying and you want them to leave ASAP.  Don’t be that person when being supportive.  You might think that you are helping, but if the person really doesn’t want your support you’re just being annoying.  Don’t force support onto anyone who clearly doesn’t want it.

Be gentle

You don’t need to be the crazy coach screaming in someones face trying to motivate them to be better.  Sometimes it’s better to be the calm and gentle anchor for someone.  When people decide to be healthier, many times their lives and routines are thrown into chaos.  Suddenly they are eating a different way, exercising perhaps for the first time ever, and things can seem crazy.  The last thing they need right at the beginning is a crazy friend yelling at them and telling them they are going to be unhealthy forever if they quit.  Lend a listening ear when they have their struggles, offer advice if you have it, and reassure them that they can do this.  These methods will work much better and actually help.

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Know your audience

On the flip side of this, some of us work better with the tough love approach.  We’re all different and different things work better to support us.  Find out the best way to offer your support.  I recently found out that my husband likes when I push him when we workout together, so make sure you know the best way to help.

Don’t make it just about you

This is one that I have to watch out for.  Because I have gone through my own journey to get healthier, it is so easy to turn everything around and say how I did things.  While it’s good to be able to give support and advice based on our own experiences, realize that this is about the other person not you.  They are going through their own unique experiences, and while it might be similar to yours respect their journeys.  If you find yourself starting every sentence with, “Well when I was doing…”, try to work on finding out how they’re going about things and offering advice when warranted.

Build them up

Probably the biggest thing you can do is to build others up.  Eating better and exercising more and improving your health is hard and can have a tendency to break people down.  There will be days that you just don’t want to do this anymore and those are the days that having a great support system really helps.  When someone comes to you ready to throw in the towel, help show them how far they have come and all that they have accomplished.  Tell them how proud you are that they have chosen to take better care of themselves.  Motivate them to keep going and do what you can to help them pick themselves back up.

I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without support from other people.  I want to be able to help others the way that I have been helped and offering support is a kind of a way to pay it forward.  Because I have gotten such great support I know how crucial it is to succeeding, so do what you can to help be that important influence in someone else’s life.

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Sorry for not having a post on Monday, but I spent the whole weekend in bed with a fever and just general miserableness.  I hope that you guys had better weekend and are staying warm with this early blast of winter.  I will see you guys on Friday!

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One thought on “How To Offer Support

  1. These are great tips, especially the one about not making it about you. I feel like that’s easy to do when you’re giving advice, so it’s good to keep in mind who you’re really giving advice to!

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