Motivation Articles

4 Steps to Healthier Surroundings

Spread the Spark to the World Around You

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If you're eager to be a positive force, there’s no shortage of people that could use some help. In 1994, 10-20% of every U.S. state’s population was considered obese. By 2001, the numbers in 30 states grew to 20% or more. According to the American Medical Association, more than 1 of every 4 adults in Alabama is obese.
Being overweight is an international problem, and it just keeps getting worse. This is bad news, but could be great for you because it gives you the chance to make a real difference. You can use what you’ve learned to make a dent in those trends. All while making an even bigger dent in your waistline.

Here are some simple strategies to follow when you’re looking to build healthy surroundings:
1. Find reasons to get people together

This is a leadership practice that can easily boost your consistency and drive. A simple idea might be to form a group of people around common goals, like a running club. Instead of putting all of your energy into your own program, try to bring others along. By holding them accountable and motivating them, you’ll get better at doing it for yourself. What groups are you a member of? What personal interest can you combine with social time?

2. Create opportunities to trade knowledge

You have a lot to teach others. You also have a lot to learn. Can you set something up where people are learning from each other on a regular basis? Maybe a weekly cooking class. Or a Workout Exchange, where people trade ideas for “Fitting in Fitness.” Or lead a discussion about why chocolate is not a food group. What are you already good at? What do you get compliments on? What do you like to talk about?

3. Focus on pushing others and you’ll end up challenging yourself

A strong example of this opened the eyes of our founder, Chris, before he started SparkPeople. While at his last job, Chris started an exercise streak. Every day on his door, he posted the number of days in a row he had done some exercise, no matter how small. He eventually posted ‘100’ then ‘200’ on his door. One day, a woman across the hall followed his example and posted a '1' on her door, starting her own streak. After seeing great changes in her appearance, she was inspired to organize fitness programs and activities for others. She made a big difference because Chris had unwittingly helped motivate her. In return, Chris was inspired and challenged to start SparkPeople.
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

    Great article! I know my family notices if I don't exercise, it does seem to encourage them to move more. As for obesity in Europe, it is on it's way. I've seen a big change in the last 6 years and it comes on the heels of more fast food and convenience foods being available. - 4/18/2013 7:25:12 AM
  • What a great article about leading by example!! I never thought about doing that before. I do cook my hambuger in water and drain the grease, rinse the starch off my spagetti and use a paper towel to drain the excess grease off of the little beef sausage links that are similiar to the pork sausage links. I also bake my frozen fries, tater tots and onion rings at home instead of frying them. - 3/22/2013 12:50:03 PM
  • excellent article! I am motivated to post my own streak at work and maybe motivate and inspire others as well as myself! - 1/2/2013 9:16:31 PM
    great the post story and the pitza grease dabs (great motivators!) Thanks - 11/21/2012 4:57:20 AM
  • People are doing anything they can to make the money and they do not care at what cost. What really make me laugh is this bill board that I see every day driving on my way to work. There is a photo of a regular potato and right next to it is a photo of a carton of french fries. Under the potato the word "Potato" under the fries "Perfected". What is sad is this bill board is within a block of a school. No wonder we have an obesity problem. - 8/9/2012 2:05:37 PM
  • leadng by example - 7/29/2012 12:49:49 PM
  • Thank you! Great article! - 4/8/2012 8:40:56 AM
  • I really appreciate this article. Many times, we don't realize that we are great motivators to others, even when it is not intended. I'm pretty sure, there have been a moment when you saw someone do something, then you act on either right then and there or another time. Of course, when you put action behind practice, you soon realize that it was easier than what you expected, SOMETIMES!! Starting small can bring big changes to your daily life. Thank you for this article, because it has brought new insights on what I can do to influence others around me. Also surround myself around others who are on the same road as I am. - 1/8/2012 1:25:13 PM
  • I love the positive tone of this article. There are so many small things you can do that make a big difference. Good to read about Chris and his starting Spark, too. - 9/10/2011 9:41:54 AM
  • "One can travel through most of Europe and NOT see obese people"

    When was the last time you were in the UK????

    I've lived in several countries, and travelled a lot, and there ARE obese people almost everywhere in the "western/civilise
    d" world! - 6/27/2011 8:58:36 PM
  • It is a sad realization that so many companies advertise unhealthy eating habits. Restaurants super-size meals that are filled with salt and fat. I like the idea of quietly sharing ideas that have helped us overcome the desire for unhealthy foods. Thanks for the article.

    - 4/25/2011 9:18:18 AM
  • I disagree with one thing the article said- Obesity is NOT an international problem. It's a problem that is plaguing highly industrialized nations, primarily our westernized continent. One can travel through most of Europe and NOT see obese people. Many of the obese people over there are actually tourists from Canada and the USA. (I'm Cdn.)

    Once we started just pushing buttons on machinery and remote controls, we stopped moving and burning calories. The extra leisure time we 'earned' with our modern conveniences was used to sit and become sedentary. Just look what that did for us.

    ;o( - 4/24/2011 4:56:34 PM
  • Love this article. Thank you! - 4/24/2011 6:21:21 AM
    62 percent of adults in my state are obese. Through SP I hope to make that rate lower! - 3/31/2011 10:51:31 AM
  • This is an awesome article. Recently, my daughter and two of my grandchildren came to live with me. As a result of seeing me on my healthy journey, they have started to exercise and eat healthier. My granddaughter has lost 10 lbs so far! I am so proud of her! - 1/15/2011 6:46:34 AM

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