4 Steps to Healthier Surroundings

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.

4. Use positive peer pressure

A simple way to do this is to just live as an example. This motivates others while keeping your own standards of conduct high. The other day, several of us went to the local pizza joint for lunch. After sitting down with our collection of personal pizzas, a curious thing happened. One woman in our group started dabbing the extra grease off the top of her pizza with a napkin. She did it without fanfair or announcement. It was just a habit of hers. But then the man to her left started doing it too. Then the guy across from him. And on down the line until the whole table was dabbing away. We saw her doing something smart and healthy, and instinctively knew that we should do the same. One by one, we imitated her without too much thought – and probably picked up a new habit in the process.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Member Comments

Great! I also learn by exama Report
This artical is 15 years old... Report
Good article Report
My "Ladies Group" meets once a momth at one of our homes. The hostess prepares/buys the meal and beverages for all when it is her turn. It's so nice to be treated to a lovely dinner with good friends. And only have to do it once a year, not bring a potluck item each time. I notice most of us now try tasty new and healthy recipes and desserts. Report
Be the leader you wish you had. Report
Nice article.
In the last couple of weeks, spark told me to pick a role model to emulate.
I really couldn't think of anyone. After several days I decided that was a problem.
I decided that I need to step up and be the role model that others need. This will take quite a number of adjustments to my life, but I'm up to the task.
I found it horrifying that I did not know anyone who led a healthy example of living. Those few that ARE working at their health, or often too extreme and it consumes their life.
My goal is to lead a healthful and balanced one. Because I am too heavy now, it will be noticeable when my hard work begins paying off. I am determined to make a difference. Report
MERRYMERRY6
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. Report
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. Report
excellent article! I am motivated to post my own streak at work and maybe motivate and inspire others as well as myself! Report
A_SPARKLING
great article.....love the post story and the pitza grease dabs (great motivators!) Thanks Report
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. Report
leadng by example Report
Thank you! Great article! Report
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. Report
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. Report


 

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.
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.