In Monday’s blog, I wrote about the importance of reaching out for support, and suggested tapping a friend or family member to be a Wellness Partner.
But what does it take to be a successful supporter? How do you know that your good intentions won’t accidentally submarine someone’s self-confidence?
This can be an issue when you see someone you love who is discouraged by their weight-loss results. You’re pointing out to them that they shouldn’t be reaching for that second cupcake really isn’t helpful—unless they ask for that kind of input.
I promise your loved one knows that the cupcake isn’t moving them towards their goal and already has enough internal struggle going on. Your pointing out their obvious behavior will probably make them feel criticized and tip the emotional scale to resentment.
Here are some tips for being an effective Wellness Partner.
Ask for accountability ideas. Instead of suggesting that you keep your loved one from eating that second cupcake, ask what you can do to help support them in meeting their weight-loss goals. Let them come up with how you can best hold them accountable, and then follow through with their ideas.
Be a cheerleader. Count and celebrate all the things they are doing right—even the really small things—and help them ease up on their self-criticism if they have stumbled. The emphasis should be on progress not perfection.
Ask for permission to brainstorm solutions. In your strong desire to help, you may mistake the need to vent for the need to problem-solve. Before you start firing off solutions, explore the problem and then ask how they could overcome any obstacles. Sometimes the solution is just getting them to see a situation from a different perspective.
Remind them of all the reasons Why they are working towards their goal. Stay focused on their ultimate payback and help them see that the feeling of discouragement is not only temporary, but is worth moving through.
Love them and focus on all the wonderful things about them. The absolute best thing you can do is help them see their value no matter what, and to maintain your confidence in them that they can reach their goals, even if they are stumbling. Your love and confidence serves as a beacon to them during their dark times of struggle.
Being a positive Wellness Partner will not only dramatically increase your loved ones chances of success, but can also strengthen your relationship and give you an energy boost, too.
As you enable another to grow, evolve, and be authentic, you are enabled to grow, evolve, and be authentic.
But study after study shows that having at least one person support you in meeting your wellness goals will dramatically increase your chances of success.
Having a wellness partner or joining a support group helps:
Normalize what you’re going through—You realize that everyone has cravings, gets frustrated by the numbers on the scale, and has moments of weakness. You are not a failure or a freak.
Cheer you on—Noticing and celebrating every sign of progress builds momentum towards successfully meeting your goals. Having someone to share these with helps keep you motivated.
Boost morale—Having someone to turn to when you are fighting a craving or to help you get back up if you do stumble is powerful. The only failure is not picking yourself back up and keep going.
Problem solve—When you are focused on the problem, it can be almost impossible to see even obvious solutions. Having someone on your side who can see the situation more objectively can help you brainstorm ways around any obstacles.
Make the journey more fun—going it alone makes it easier to get caught in the negative thought spiral going on in your head. Having a partner helps break the inner patterns so that achieving your wellness goals is more enjoyable.
But where can you find help?
Ask a friend or family member—Choose someone who is consistently positive, good at problem solving, and will be uplifting and inspiring.
Join a group—There are a number of on-line and in-person support groups. A few places to look include: transformation.com, beachbody.com, Weight Watchers, your local hospital, or a community group. Pick a group that does more than just air problems. Look for a focus on celebrating successes, problem solving, and offering encouragement.
Hire a coach—Consider working one-on-one with a certified professional health or wellness coach who is goal and success focused, and that will come up with an individualized plan to help you break through any thoughts, beliefs, or patterns that are literally weighing you down.
What can you do today to reach out for support? How will having at least one person helping to cheer you on, boost morale, and problem solve make it easier to meet your goals?