Behavior support is one of the cornerstones of the Habits of Health. We know, from years of expert medical research as well as our experience in the field, that people are far more likely to get healthy and stay healthy when they have help.
Sometimes that help is a coach who shows you how to navigate challenges. Sometimes that help is a nutritionist who helps you find healthy and filling foods. And sometimes that help is someone you respect simply providing encouragement and accountability.
When we surround ourselves with people who genuinely want us to succeed and who have similar values and goals themselves, choices are easier to make and habits are easier to build. When we foster this kind of bubble for ourselves, every aspect of our life moves us toward our goals, but when we don’t have this support network, every influence can pull us in dozens of conflicting directions.
Our loved ones are important pieces of our support system because they are often a big part of our desire to create health. We know that the healthier we are, the more memories we can make and the more time we can spend with the people we care about. Also, our families are around us most often, so when they are supportive of our goals we have a near-constant stream of positive influences.
I love to ski, but the fact that my daughters also love to ski means that I hit the slopes much more often. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and the fun that we have together makes a day on a mountain more rewarding. That momentum of my health bubble is there on normal days as well. Who can sit inside watching television when your two daughters and two dogs are outside in the yard enjoying a summer evening? Not me.
Your family can build a new health bubble for each other. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Cook together. Healthy recipes can be delicious, and an hour in the kitchen chopping vegetables and reading instructions can be a fun way to spend time together while also eating better.
- Share active hobbies. Simple walks, going golfing, or shooting a few hoops are accessible (you don’t need to be a star athlete) while also allowing for conversation that can strengthen your relationship.
- Put away the screens. Whether it’s for an hour at dinner or for a weekend camping trip, find opportunities to leave cell phones off or in the other room so that you can be present in the moment.
- Be kind. Don’t be afraid to let the people around you know that they are important to you. If you are thinking about someone, let them know. A brief but sincere text message could be the defining moment of their day.
- Integrate family into your routine. The chaos of our lives can mean that we go whole days without talking to our spouse or connecting with our children, even if they are in the same house. Schedule regular time to give your loved ones your focus, whether that’s a weekly date night or going to the gym together a few days a week.
How do you build Habits of Health with your family? What have you learned from that journey?