Raise your hand if your friends and family think you’re a total weirdo 🙋♀️ This is something I’ve definitely struggled with over the years. Between buying organic food, raving about menstrual cups, using natural deodorant and clean beauty, to swapping out my plastic and cookware. There certainly have been many eye rolls, but overall, it’s not always easy getting people on board with a natural lifestyle! So today I’m going to offer you some tips to help motivate your loved ones to dabble with holistic living (and maybe a couple of psychological Jedi mind tricks!).
But first, some basic drivers of motivation 🥸
Before we begin, I want to let you know that I’ll be sprinkling in a few principles from the book How to Get People to Do Stuff in this post! It was written by one of my college professors, Susan M. Weinschenk Ph.D., and I highly recommend it. In general, the book can offer tons of insight for persuading and mobilizing people. Weinschenk describes Seven Drivers of Motivation in the book which are totally applicable to what we’re covering today:
- The Need to Belong (we’re naturally social creatures and want to feel like we’re a part of a group)
- Habits (we find comfort in habits and you can help people add to existing habits to change behavior over time)
- The Power of Stories (we all have self-personas and want them to be consistent; we feel uncomfortable when we don’t live accordingly to our stories)
- Carrots and Sticks (rewarding and reinforcing certain behaviors)
- Instincts (tapping into certain instincts, like fear of loss, can affect behavior)
- The Desire for Mastery (we are super motivated to gain new skills and knowledge)
- Tricks of the Mind (there are biases in how we think and our brains are wired to jump to conclusions)
Keep these drivers in mind as you’re reading the tips. Okay, now let’s dive in!
1) Don’t shame them or make them feel guilty.
Let’s face it, you’re never gonna motivate someone to change if it comes from a place of shame. And I don’t know about you, but when people force something upon me, I get super stubborn and turned off to the idea completely. Try to make it fun, positive, and non-judgmental!
Oftentimes, talking about using clean products and living a green lifestyle can come across as snobby or even have a sense of fear-mongering with it. I’ve really tried to be mindful over the years of terminology that I use and how I convey information to people when teaching about the topic. Even using terms like “clean beauty” instead of “non-toxic beauty” can make a difference.
I never try to push the lifestyle upon anyone or make them feel like what they are doing is wrong. Aim to be welcoming and educational when you’re explaining it!
Don’t Do This:
“The deodorant you’re using is SO bad for you! Stop using toxic crap like that!”
Say This Instead:
“You’re such a health-conscious person! Have you ever thought about switching to natural deodorant? It’s safer to use something without aluminum and wayyyyyy better for your pits. Let me know if you want some recommendations that work well!”
This also leans into the Power of Stories because if someone identifies as health-conscious, for example, they’re more likely to see natural deodorant as part of their lifestyle! Ya see?
P.S. I happen to have some great natural deodorant suggestions that work amazingly!
2) Explain why it’s important in the first place.
This is huge. Hearing the why behind an idea is always so compelling. When people truly understand the importance of lessening the burdens on their bodies, they are more likely to see the value and want to do it themselves. You can also use this as a chance to incorporate the Tricks of the Mind driver; introducing a problem and then providing an easy solution can be extremely influential!
Depending on what the situation is, try explaining points like:
- The difference between GMO and organic food (then give tips for making it easy to buy organic such as defining the Clean Fifteen/Dirty Dozen)
- Harmful ingredients that are allowed in conventional makeup, how there is no regulation, and the associated health effects (then share your go-to clean beauty brands and where to buy them)
- Why fast fashion is bad for the environment and not fairly traded (then share your favorite local thrift stores or slow fashion brands)
- Why it means a lot to you that they are healthy because you love and care for them!
To take it a step further, use the Power of Stories to share specific examples. This also might hit at the Need to Belong because people want to feel like they are connected to a group and a part of something. For instance, I might share something along the lines of:
- How switching to organic skincare and cleaning up my diet helped clear my acne
- How my period has become hassle-free since switching to a menstrual cup and washable period undies and that my friends swear by them too
- How I never get cavities anymore and my gum health has improved since incorporating a holistic dental routine
Don’t Do This:
“You should really stop buying that Febreeze spray for your house.”
Say This Instead:
“Did you know that the average American indoor environment is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outdoor air?! A big offender can be synthetic fragrances in cleaning supplies especially; there can be over 3,000+ undisclosed chemicals in fragrance alone. Do you want to borrow my Branch Basics natural cleaning products and see how they work for you? No more headaches from the strong, stinky sprays!”
3) Meet them where they are at and make it easy for them to learn.
It’s overwhelming when you start learning about organic living and swapping out your products, no doubt! You can offer to be a resource for someone to make it seem less daunting. Once you open the door and provide an easy solution, they’re way more likely to be intrigued and stick with it.
- Send them research articles to show legitimacy; it’s not all just woo woo!
- Point them to podcasts, books, blogs (I think I might have one in mind 😉), etc. so they don’t feel completely stranded on their own with nowhere to start. Find out how they typically prefer to consume information and direct them to similar resources (this is the Habits driver; make it easy for them to adapt!)
- Go to the store to help them pick out products and explain how to read an ingredient label (or send them my Ultimate Green Beauty Ingredient Glossary + Pocket Guide)
- Let them know that it will take time and they shouldn’t expect to become perfect overnight
Don’t Do This:
“Those products you’re using are horrible – throw them out ASAP!”
Say This Instead:
“It took me like 2+ years to fully switch to clean products and get to a comfortable place with my green living journey…you got this! I started swapping out products as they were empty instead of overhauling everything at once. One thing at a time! What do you need to replace next? I’ll give you a recommendation for a clean swap!”
4) Lead by example and encourage them to ask questions.
Monkey see monkey do, right? 🙈 But truly, just leading by example can be really impactful! You don’t have to have thousands of followers to be an influencer 😜 I can’t tell you how many times my friends have seen me doing something “weird” only to ask about it and later on do it themselves!
- Maybe your friends will notice how bomb your skin and makeup looks, then you can share what brands you used and what your skincare routine is!
- Use your own mug at the coffee shop instead of a disposable plastic one; maybe they’ll think “oh that’s a good idea, I should bring one next time too!”
- Explain how you’re stocking up on your favorite organic skincare brand during a big sale. This might give them some FOMO (tapping into the Instinct driver) and push them to try something too.
For me personally, following different wellness and clean beauty accounts on Instagram was immensely helpful when I was first starting to learn. You can see a fuller picture of how someone lives a certain lifestyle. Plus you feel a Need to Belong to that group too, especially if you see how living organically has impacted their lives for the better or if their experiences align with your self-persona! (Power of Stories)
5) Put yourself in their shoes.
We’re all on our own journeys, and you can’t fault someone for not being at the same place as you. I think back to where my mindset was when first starting out and how overwhelming it was. I was looking for guidance, felt like I had to be perfect, and got defeated when I learned that greenwashing got the best of me. Have some compassion and empathy for your loved ones when they’re beginning!
Don’t Do This:
“Oh, that brand actually isn’t natural even though they claim to be. They’re still toxic and bad for you.”
Say This Instead:
“I’m so proud that you’re reading labels and being conscious of the products you buy!! That brand is definitely an improvement compared to what you were using. When that’s empty, I have an even cleaner option for you to try that doesn’t use ___________ ingredient!”
6) Give them gifts to try!
Who doesn’t love free things?! If you’re wanting someone to try out natural products, for example, use holidays or birthdays as an opportunity to let them play around! This way, they don’t have to buy anything themselves or invest too much money 🎁 I always love picking out products for loved ones and sharing some of my favorite recommendations with them. It’s so fun when they end up loving what I love too!
This also acts as the Carrots and Sticks motivational driver; it’s a little reward for even being interested in using safer products. And maybe once they’re tried something and liked it, they’ll repurchase it themselves next time and then want to continue growing their collection.
Some gifting ideas:
- Invite your girlfriends over for a spa night and apply some organic face masks (while drinking natural wine, of course)
- Have a glam sesh and do each other’s makeup using all clean beauty
- Gift them a recurring clean beauty box subscription
- Put together a goodie bag of little sample sized products for them to use
Related post: “The Gift of Green: Holistic Holiday Gift Guide (70+ Ideas)”
7) Allow them to come to the realization on their own and let it click.
Ultimately, some people just need time to warm up to the idea of a more holistic lifestyle. If they aren’t open to it at first, don’t give up! It doesn’t make you a failure. You can slowly keep giving little nudges, but don’t push it. Once they come to the realization on their own and get excited about it is when the magic REALLY happens 🪄
Plus, have you heard of the Rule of 7? On average, people need to hear a message about seven times before they actually take action on it. It’s rare for people to see something once and immediately hop on it.
For example, my aunt had been following my blog for years, but only recently did she really understand the importance and got totally excited to do a complete overhaul of her products and makeup! It all came full circle.
Don’t Do This:
“So did you swap out all of your products yet?? What are you waiting for?”
Say This Instead:
“Have you given more thought to swapping out your products? It’s kind of a fun challenge once you begin! I’d be happy to take you on a little shopping spree to find some new goodies for your collection!”
(This hones in on the Desire for Mastery a bit because it’s posed as a new task to complete and learn!)
Have someone in mind that needs 1:1 help? Gift them a Custom Green Beauty Consultation!
I offer personalized consultations to help people switch to safer products. It’s the perfect solution for someone that needs assistance finding swaps but might not know where to start or want to take the time to research. They’ll get a custom list of 1-3 recommendations for each product they currently use. There are multiple package options available!
Do you struggle with feeling like you’re on an island with your lifestyle? I feel ya! If you have any other helpful tips or suggestions, drop them in the comments below! 💚
4 comments on “7 Simple Tips to Help Your Friends & Family Start a Natural, Organic Lifestyle”
This is AMAZING. Can’t wait to try these out 😉
Also- thank you for laying this out in such an organized, easy to use format!
Thanks, Alex!! 😁
Good tips! One of my personal favorite tactics is to turn things back on me and my past mistakes rather than accusing someone of doing something bad currently. If they open the door to the conversation (“I can’t believe you only use products like x—seems so complicated and expensive!”), I’ll relate how I used to do it differently and how it negatively affected me and how I made the change. A lot of times, the negative effects of my mistakes will resonate will someone’s current situation without me having to say it outright. 🙂
That’s so smart, I love that tactic! Thanks for sharing.