Happy Motivation Monday! Today’s topic is very near and dear to my heart, but there are messages for YOU to take away also. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, I received an email from my father-in-law that brought tears to my eyes (more on that at the end). Then, last week, my Dad told me that he had made the decision to clean up his diet, and asked for a list of healthy breakfast, snack, and lunch options. Yesterday, my Mom sent me this picture, of a green smoothie (from a Lyons’ Share bottle!) with Laura’s Zucchini Banana Protein Muffins that I made my parents, and this healthy dinner that my dad ate a few nights before.
Let me give you a brief background on how I’ve interacted with my family on their health. My Mom and my Mother-in-Law were my very first two clients back in 2011-2012 when I was finishing up my Health Coaching certification, and they were patient and wonderful to work with. They’ve both been on their healthy living journeys ever since, and are doing SO well. My sisters and sister-in-law have participated in my Spring Reset and Fall Reset, and do great with their health as well. Kevin has made SO many changes in his health since we’ve been together, but it’s taken almost the full 11 years for some of the changes to happen (NEVER pressure your family, especially your spouse!). (picture source)
But the two that have always been content with their own way of eating (or, rather, just didn’t want to deal with me telling them what they could do to be healthier 🙂) have been my Dad and my Father-in-Law. These two both mean the world to me (see my Father’s Day shout-out to them here), and of course I care about their health. 10 years ago, when I started my own healthy living journey, of course I wanted to scream “Gary, try to eat a half carton of ice cream every OTHER night instead of every night!” or “Dad, you really have GOT to eat a vegetable!” But that would not have been effective.
You see, sometimes family members are the very hardest people to inspire. Sometimes, it takes time for people to want to change, and that’s OK. I strongly believe that people have to be ready to change themselves before you can be helpful at all in providing them the information and motivation to change. In fact, I’ve turned away health coaching clients who wanted a “quick fix” or didn’t really want to make any changes, because I knew that my information would go in one ear and out the other. The same thing goes for family – as much as you care, you have to let your influence rub off on them slowly, and they WILL make positive changes when they are ready. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll even ask you for help or use some of your guidance on their own journeys.
Here are a few pieces from my Father-in-Law’s email:
As you know, I am a typical Irish Guy who spent his first 30 yrs in Boston eating potatoes and meat 6 of every 7 days. But I wanted to let you know that I found myself salivating like a hungry dog tonight as I sliced up my grilled chicken breast to add to my Caesar salad. Trust me when i tell you that is an involuntary response that even shocked me. Boston guys aren’t supposed to like and surely don’t salivate over a Caesar salad!
So my question is: Has the subtle but daily education that I have received from all your Facebook posts and blog entries somehow trained my subconscious mind over time to eat what is right and to salivate when it sees it? When I look back at how and what I used to eat, I am shocked that I have lived to this age of 63, but proud of how much my diet, due to education, has changed for the better. I am not so sure that it happened consciously! You and The Lyons’ Share have perhaps stumbled upon a devious but planned method to just slowly but consistently convince those that you care about (and I know that you care about every single human being in the world) to “clean up their act” and they may very well do so whether they consciously do so or it just mysteriously happens. You may just save the world yet!
So here’s the message for you … if your own healthy living journey is taking a while to get rolling, that’s OK. Be patient with yourself, but then when you’re ready to make a change, do anything you can to bottle up that momentum and keep it going. If you’re trying to inspire others (especially family), be patient with them, too. It will happen over time, when they are ready.
And when they do make those changes, they may have their ups and downs – that’s OK, too. Everyone does. I’m not expecting my Dad and Father-in-Law to just be 100% healthy for the rest of their lives (I’m certainly not 100% healthy every day of my life, and that’s OK!). But the fact that they have taken steps to improve their own health makes me just about the happiest person on the planet.
So tell me in the comments … Do you have others that you’re trying to inspire … over time? Do you have any additional advice for inspiring family members? Or, share something healthy that YOU did this weekend, so we can celebrate you!