Thursday night, while my daughter was brushing her teeth she said to me, “Mommy, I want to be like you when I grow up. I want to be physically active and strong like you.” I told her that she can do whatever she wants to do in life and she can start now.
Of course, this was a proud moment for me. Hearing my daughter profess that she wants to emulate positive health behaviors that I display makes me feel great.
What it teaches me is that my actions are speaking much louder than my words. My children are paying attention. I can talk to them about why they should be doing this or that, but if I am not willing to do the same I might as well say nothing at all.
Earlier in the semester one of my students asked me this question, “How do you motivate someone to change their eating habits?” I gave her a brief response telling her that you can’t make someone change their behavior, they have to want it for themselves. I then postponed further discussion until we cover that chapter which will be coming up in a couple of weeks.
What I am excited to share with the class as we discuss this further is that the best way to motivate others is to be a role model of the behavior that you would like others to adopt. Even if others do not initially jump on board with you, it is possible that over time they just might. If that occurs, they will benefit from your encouragement and support. One thing that is certain is that others will pay attention. And it is possible that one day, they may come back and thank you for inspiring them to change their life in a positive way. How awesome is that?