“I’m so frustrated,” my friend complained. “Sam (her husband) and I were supposed to lose weight together. After about a month, he just gave up. I keep reminding him we had a deal, but he won’t listen. I don’t know what to do! I’m worried about his health.”
Sound familiar? Substitute anyone you care about for husband, and anything that’s not being accomplished for weight loss, and, you get my point. We all know people who could use some motivation.
Over 25 years as a mom, 7 + years as a boss, and 5+ years as a weight loss group leader, I’ve learned a few things about motivation. First, if you want to motivate others, you should, yourself, be motivated. (see Top Five Ways to Boost Your Motivation). Here are a few more ideas:
5 Easy Ways to Motivate Others
Sometimes just the simple act of venting their frustrations may be enough to help a person regain their motivation. Other times, your person might want to brainstorm with you. Be available and try not to be judgemental.
Ask How You Can Help
Holding the person accountable for the type of help they need gives him or her ownership in the process. Offering the help you think they need takes the power out of their hands. And yes, everyone wants to feel like they have some control of their own destiny.
If you really feel you absolutely must offer specific help, why not offer a choice between two options? For example, in the case of my friend and her husband, she could say something like, “Why don’t we schedule a workout date this week? Would you rather go for a hike or take a long bike ride?” This way you are steering your person back on course, but reminding them that you know they are still in control.
Remember Past Successes
When Bud was a senior in high school, he was having difficulty with Algebra II. The concepts were difficult for him to grasp. He wanted to give up. I knew if he quit, he wouldn’t graduate, since Algebra II was a required course.
I sat down with Bud and reminded him of how good he was at setting goals and figuring out how to achieve them. How when he was ten, he had decided to lose weight, after seeing a photo of himself on a family trip. Bud and I had started run/walking every day and cut back on snacks and sweets. He was so proud of himself when we took family photos the next year and we could all see the difference!
I reminded Bud of how, when he started sixth grade in homeschool, he decided that the following fall he wanted to start public school with his friends, who would all be in the eighth grade. We set a schedule, and Bud managed to complete BOTH sixth and seventh grades in one year.
Bud appreciated the pep talk. He and I made a plan of attack, that would get him caught up on Algebra II by the end of the school year. I was proud for multiple reasons when Bud graduated on time in June of 2012.
Be an Example
During my years as a weight-loss group leader for Sparkpeople, I have found that being an example can be one of the most positive motivating factors for others. However, examples don’t all have to be about successes.
If we are honest with ourselves, the path to achieving our goals is very rarely a straight line forward. More often than not, it is more of a zig-zag, a two steps forward, one step back scenario.
Those who are at the beginning of the steps to achieve their goal, can be encouraged by finding out that those of us who have reached the other side had the same setbacks and stumbling blocks along the way. I like to share how I lost 20 pounds, then gained 50, lost 30, got stuck at a 4 1/2 year plateau, and finally lost another 10 pounds six months ago. Only 10 more pounds to go, but what a journey it has been! And while the destination will be awesome, the journey is where I learned and grew.
Patience is your biggest ally as a motivator. After all, we’re not all on the same journey, even though we may have similar goals. Everyone moves along their own path, at their own speed. You can not singlehandedly make a person move ahead any faster. All you can do is be available with the tools, resources and motivation, if needed.
How do you motivate others? Please share your tips in the comments.