Motivation to Change

This is an excerpt from a new book I am just finishing, “Sick and Tired, to Healthy and Inspired: 9 Steps to Prevent Lifestyle Related Disease”. We are fast approaching New Year’s resolution time so perhaps this will help to get a start on a wellness mindset.

STEP #1:  

DISCOVER WHAT WILL MOVE YOU FORWARD

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  Aristotle

A few steps forward, a few steps back. Such is the journey of life. It’s all about the learning. It’s all about the learning. It’s all about the learning. 

Chances are you have tried in the past to adopt a healthy habit. Perhaps the memory of this attempt to change, which may not have been successful, leaves you feeling like a failure and keeps you from trying.  Actually, your previous attempt not only shows you are smart enough to recognize the importance of adopting healthy habits, it also was a learning opportunity about new skills and new habits.  

When I’m having difficulties, I ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” When the answer comes to me, the difficulty or pain or challenge goes away more quickly. We can be our own biggest hinderance, but if we get out of our own way, we can also be our biggest chance of success. We all have what it takes to succeed if we can:

 Find our motivation

 Find our confidence

 Find our vision

KEY CONCEPT

Motivation comes from knowing why lifestyle change is important to you and to your purpose in life

Importance.  Why is having better health important to you? What goals do you have for the future, and how is your health linked to your goals? I always say I don’t want to attend my daughter’s wedding riding in a scooter chair and wearing an oxygen mask—I want to be able to dance. Everyone has a reason, and here are some that I hear frequently:

I want to enjoy myself when I retire.

I want to stay off medications.

I want to keep up with the grandchildren.

I want to feel good.

I want to look good.

I want to travel.

I don’t want to be a burden to my family.

I want to be a role model for my family.

List 3 more reasons why staying healthy is important to you: 

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Your purpose. What is that thing that you can’t keep yourself from doing? For me it’s bothering you poor folks with information about being healthy. If I see an article or a show about people’s health, I am immediately interested and can’t wait to read or listen. I donate to causes that feed the hungry. Wherever you give your time, money, or thoughts, that is your passion and your purpose. Poetry, pets, politics, or even pickles. I may not give any of those things time or attention, but I’m glad that someone cares enough to be a superhero in those arenas. 

How would being healthy play into your passion? For instance, if you want to help build water wells in Africa, might having a heart attack limit you? If you love showing dogs, how will you do that if your excess weight impacts your knees so that you can’t walk or run? Physical incapacity takes away what gives our lives meaning. 

KEY CONCEPT

Confidence for change comes from remembering our past and present successes

When talking with people, I frequently ask them if there was a time that they felt good about their lifestyle habits.  Maybe they were exercising regularly or their healthy eating was off the charts.  The next question I ask them is, “what strengths were you using that helped you be successful” ? Maybe your time of feeling your best self didn’t even have to do with your health, but perhaps was about your job, your hobby or a relationship.  Whatever strengths you noticed then can be the fuel to move you forward now.  

EXERCISE:  Your Strengths

List your strengths that have helped you in the past and can help you make a positive lifestyle change now.