It's interesting that Roni posted about people who are "all talk, no action," because I had a discussion about this with a friend last night. Her sister has signed up for a marathon. The friend thinks her sister won't train for it, as she has signed up for and done other races without adequate training.
I have seen people do things like this myself, but it's their path, not mine. Either they find a way to be accountable to themselves, or they don't. No amount of pushing from the outside will make a difference. No amount of reasoning will either. Whatever is stopping them from doing the work is not a lack of information. Maybe signing up for the race was an impulsive decision that they regretted later. Maybe they really don't like running, but they feel like they should do it.
The most common question that I hear weight-loss gurus and other so-called experts getting is how to motivate friends and family to change. I don't think that motivation can come from outside. I think it has to come from within. I also think that sometimes the path is just a little longer than outsiders want it to be, and that's okay.
My friend's sister might find some spark and start training hard for this race. She might struggle through and finish and feel terrible. She might DNF, or even not start. In the grand scheme of things, the sister is going to have to find her own way, and that's okay. I think the best way to help is to trust others to do what is right for them, even if it takes a while.