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A group of two young women and two young men wearing athletic clothes and jogging through a park in late fall



The holidays bring friends and family together like no other time of the year, and it’s a great moment to give a boost to your loved ones along their fitness journey. If you’re wondering how you can best support the people around you while they work toward their goals, here are four ways to offer happy and helpful encouragement.

Be Sincere

Spending the holidays with the people we know best means we’re comfortable, and we have our guards down. Maybe we even fall into some old habits of thinking and speaking. We might kid around, make jokes, and throw around a few sarcastic comments. But when it comes to the topic of health and fitness, some of us are highly sensitive, and rightly so. Our fitness journeys are all personal and relate to our body image, so if any silly comments veer into how we’re eating or exercising, they can easily be read the wrong way. This year, commit to being sincere with your friends and family to avoid hurting feelings or setting someone back. Even if you’re not the sentimental type, the holidays offer a great excuse to get a little sappy and spread some encouragement all around.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

During the holidays we’re often getting together with friends and family we don’t see as much over the course of the year. While you’re catching up, make a point to ask open-ended questions about how everyone is doing on their fitness journeys. Of course, keep in mind that pointed questions – think “Have you lost that weight yet?” – can easily be read as criticisms and do more harm than good. Instead, consider asking inviting questions like: What activities are you excited about right now? How can I support you?

Jump In!

A sure sign of love is when we do something we wouldn’t do otherwise just to support someone we care about. If you’re looking to lift up a partner, a friend, or a family member on their fitness journey, why not put your money where your mouth is? When you’re getting together at the holidays, be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and participate in exercise and diet routines your loved ones are committed to doing. Not only does giving that form of support feel incredibly gratifying, but it also has tangible benefits, since we’re more likely to stick with a routine if we have someone doing it alongside us.

Follow Up

If you or someone you know is trying to establish a fitness routine, the holidays are a tough time of the year to keep it going. We move into different schedules, plan fun outings, and enjoy travel, so every day looks different. Taking time off from our routines around the holidays can be good for us too, but the question is whether we’ll pick up where we left off. This year, encourage healthy habits in the lives of your friends and family by following up with them consistently and making sure they have the support to keep going. Start a text thread where you offer updates on your progress, or schedule a weekly check-in video call where you can connect and support one another. Having a support network might be just what you both need to start 2022 off right.

Looking for more articles on healthy habits and fitness? Check out our SouthPark Morrison blog.