January may be over, but we’re sure you’re still seeing friends who are announcing their commitment to healthier lifestyles in order to achieve a body image that they are happier with – and good on them! Deciding to take that first step to modifying their lifestyles takes a whole lot of courage and discipline, so the least that you can do as a friend is to help them and not hamper them.

However, good intentions may not translate to beneficial actions. We may say something in the hopes of encouraging these friends, or which we think wouldn’t affect their progress, but in reality these may be the most detrimental of all.

Here, we hope to give you some inspiration on how to be the most supportive you can be for friends who are pushing themselves to become healthier. Check off this list and see how many you’ve done!

Do join them

If you already have a regular exercise routine, you could invite your friend to join you, or join them in the routines that they have devised for themselves. If your schedules don’t match up or either of you prefer to exercise alone, you could suggest starting on the same home-exercise plan with your friend and keeping each other updated about your respective progress.

If you don’t already have an exercise routine, then this might be a great time to start one. Your friend wouldn’t feel alone in his or her journey, and it’s likely that both of you will face the same struggles together, and be able to motivate each other to overcome those hurdles together.

Don’t police them

When a person is already struggling with the difficulties of changing their habits, it doesn’t help when they are constantly being nagged at or scolded by their friends at every little slip-up they make. It almost never motivates, and almost always discourages the person to the point of reverting back to their original lifestyle.

Furthermore, this sort of policing is detrimental to your friendship, as it could come across as condescending, or as if you are trying to show off. Your friend is a thinking adult with a mind of their own, and it is very likely that they already feel guilty at their slip-up without having to be reminded about and put down for it.

Do learn about their plan

If you spend a lot of time with said friend, it would be worthwhile to learn about the plans that they have made for themselves to change their lifestyles. This could help prevent ourselves from making mistakes that could set your friend back in their plans.

If your friend wants to stay away from carbohydrate-rich meals on certain days of the week, you could suggest carbohydrate-free meals or restaurants if you meet him or her on that day, and even join them in their choice of diet for that day. This could help a lot in keeping your friend on the path they have designed for themselves, rather than tempting them off it.

Don’t make it about yourself

You might be someone who has tried the same lifestyle modification plans as your friend – and perhaps you’ve done better, or have failed. Either way, don’t make this about yourself, or try to “compete” with your friend by showing that you can do better. We should understand that this is not a healthy mindset for both yourself and your friend.

You could share your past experiences if your friend asks about it, but always stay supportive instead of insisting or discouraging your friend from following the same path as you did. Everyone is different, so be open-minded no matter what methods he or she decides to employ.

You’re doing great! Click to the next page to see if you’re encouraging your friend the right way.