This is my absolute favourite behaviour change tool and can be THE MOST inspiring, exciting and motivational tool you can offer to your client.
To explain the Ripple Effect I would like to share a story with you about a father and his daughter…
Where The Journey Begins…
As father and daughter relationships go they were very close and he had inspired her to start jogging in her early 20’s. She began with a 10 min jog round the block and built it up gradually adding another block at a time.
He spoke passionately about the feeling of running, that elation as the endorphins release, the camaraderie and the feeling of freedom.
She began to understand what he meant and eventually entered her first half marathon.
The months of training, the planning and eating and timing and suddenly there she was, standing nervously at the start of her first race.
Oh boy was she excited!
The camaraderie really affected her the most as she ran the route with people around her cheering her up the hills, people watching from the streets cheering too and the motivation and excitement she felt as she saw that finish line!
Even as tired as she felt the roar of the crowds pushed her into a final sprint towards the finish line and she lifted her arms to cross the line with such a feeling of elation she wanted to hug everyone around her and so in fact she did!
THIS was ‘living’.
She Was Hooked!
Each year for 25yrs she and her dad trained for their local half marathon, they entered smaller races and she even travelled to enter bigger races in other cities.
What she also learned was not everyone understood what it felt like, but her dad did.
Over the years they would get excited about this race, her dad would ask “are you ready?”,”have you done the training?”, “ are you fit?”…hahaha “yes dad” she would reply and together they would warm up, discuss their planned times and set off aiming to find each other at the end of the race.
It was a highlight to their year and something they shared that bonded them tightly.
Their commitment spread and others joined them, old and young, occasionally or regularly. It was a big part of their relationship.
However over the years she got faster, he grew slower.
After completing the half marathon, she would now run back over the race track to find him and help him finish, concerned that he was ok. He started to limp over the finish line.
The Moment It Was All Over
He was aging and discovered he now needed a hip replacement and afterwards was told by his surgeon not to run again.
He was crushed.
She was frustrated.
They felt sad BUT they stayed positive and while the running stopped their bond did not.
There was a period of around 6 years neither of them ran. Life goes on even though the routine changes. Even though they didn’t really talk about it, they both missed their running.
He changed, became sedentary, sat for hours at his computer and was going into a mild depression.
The Silver Lining
Then they had the devastating news that he now had early onset dementia. You can imagine the effect this had on the entire family.
Yet he was lucky enough to be invited to take part in a research project. This project was collecting data on how effective physical exercise might be on those diagnosed with dementia.
She joined him on a 6 week course ‘living with dementia’ and he got physical therapy to understand how active he was and whether they could improve on it.
His physio asked him “what would you like to do to be more active?”.
“Well I would like to run, but I have been told I can’t” He replied
What this ANGEL did next had an effect that nobody could have predicted.
She got him running again!
Ok so 10 mins jog to start and gradually building up but HE WAS RUNNING AGAIN!
The change in him was instant!
The Park Run
His daughter felt inspired too and committed to helping to encourage him to run by joining him whenever she could on the 5k park run each Saturday morning. In fact, she too had not run for so long it felt so good to be back running AND next to her dad.
Then her mum would come with her walking sticks and do a half lap while they did their 5k.
Then her nephew decided to come along and jog ahead of them.
Then her friend decided to meet them there and jog with them.
She even began to film their story to social media.
What was happening here was what I call the Ripple Effect.
The Ripple Effect
The research project came to an end but the park runs didn’t. In fact, when they contacted him to see how he was doing some months later and he shared the news of this amazing Ripple Effect the researchers were ecstatic and asked to write about this in a medical article. They wanted to do a presentation about their research on the health benefits of exercise on dementia patients and this example allowed them to also show the wider reaching effects on the surrounding family. In fact, he became their star pupil and they continue to share his story to others.
How Many Times Can You Count The Ripple Effects Of This Special Bond?
Now go back through this story and count how many times the relationship between this father and daughter, and their love for movement/running, affected other people?
Your behaviour has a huge impact upon the people around you.
You cannot change someone else’s behavior but you CAN change yours.
When you change, others change around you.
You inspire others
It is suggested that you become more like the 5 people you spend the most time with.
So choose wisely
More importantly, THINK about your behaviour
How many people can you affect?
You know who it was in the story don’t you?
If you haven’t guessed it already… its me and my dad!
What’s Your Story?
How can YOU use this tool to motivate your client to change their behaviour?
Can you find a way to help them, help their loved ones or vice versa, to move more? Eat better?
Maybe ask them about their family’s habits so you can see how to use this concept to help them pull the whole family together towards a united goal.
The power of the Ripple Effect is real!
I hope you have enjoyed this series of videos and blogs about behaviour change – if so why not HIT REPLY and share your thoughts, questions and ideas so together WE can get the nation moving more freely!
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