It’s hard to know how to support your partner throughout life’s ups and downs. Not only are daily challenges something you face together, but there are also big things that can disrupt your lives too. One of the most important of these is your partner’s health. 

Maybe you’re worried about your partner’s mental, physical, or emotional well-being. Perhaps your partner has come to you and told you he or she wants to focus on his or her health. Maybe your partner is already struggling with a difficult illness or health concern. Whatever the reason, supporting your partner’s health doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are three simple tips to help you and your partner begin a journey towards fitness.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start and Continue the Conversation

The first step to any change you or your partner want to make is an open and honest conversation. Be open to what your partner has to say, especially if you’re going into the conversation wanting to motivate your partner to change. You want to encourage your partner to make healthier choices, not make him or her feel isolated, so be sure to practice what you want to say. Focus on positive ways to express your worry and support without making your partner feel threatened, and offer to help. Also, don’t be worried if your partner isn’t immediately receptive to the idea. Continue to offer loving encouragement, and you will be sure to reach a healthy conclusion together. 

The hard work doesn’t stop after one conversation, either. Continue to check in with your partner on how he or she is feeling throughout the process and pay special attention to his or her needs. At the same time, don’t forget to check in on yourself too. You can’t help each other if you aren’t willing to share what you think and how you’re feeling.

Make Healthy Choices Together

One of the most motivating ways to stay on top of a healthy lifestyle change is to find a buddy. Find an activity both you and your partner enjoy and take on the hobby together. Take time out of your day to go on a walk around the neighborhood, go for a run, do some at-home yoga or exercises, or try something new. Not only will you and your partner add some physical activity into your lives, but you will also spend quality time together that will help you feel closer than you were before.

You can also support your partner’s health by eating a healthier diet together. Find new and hearty recipes online that you think you would both enjoy and cook together. You can try new flavors while having fun together, and you’ll introduce healthier foods into your diets, too. You can’t expect a huge lifestyle change from your partner if you’re unwilling to put in the effort.

Keep It Positive

The worst thing you can do while supporting your partner’s health is to guilt-trip or criticize him or her. While encouraging comments will do wonders for your partner’s motivation, negative or belittling remarks or questions are more likely to discourage your partner and leave him or her more unmotivated than before

Rather than criticizing your partner’s unhealthy choices—whether it’s skipping a workout or eating sugary foods—focus on providing support. For example, instead of belittling your partner for choosing not to work out on a particular day, ask what you can do to help fit physical activity into his or her schedule or offer to go for a walk. Your partner will feel more motivated and comfortable enough to share how he or she is feeling with you. 

Another great way to keep both of you motivated is to celebrate every small step towards success. Training for a 5K, introducing a new healthy meal into your weekly grocery haul, or beginning a new workout program are all steps that deserve some excitement. Don’t forget to have fun!

Supporting your partner’s health can start with easy and small steps that will leave both of you comfortable enough to share your emotions and work together. Hopefully, as you work together on these goals, you’ll even grow closer than you were before. With these three tips, your partner is sure to feel motivated in his or her health journey.

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