A diagnosis or threat of disease motivates many to start a wellness program, but is often not enough to keep people going. For example, tobacco users are well aware of the long term consequences of tobacco use such as lung cancer and emphysema but it is not enough to motivate certain individuals to quit. So what does work? Connecting people with their values, strong motivators and purpose has a much more powerful impact.
A former client of mine who was a smoker lost a grandmother to lung cancer yet this was not a motivator for her to quit. Protecting her own health was not a motivator either. As we continued to explore reasons to quit smoking she said having a child of her own would motivate her to quit.
Another former client who was obese with various health risks tried diet after diet with no lasting success. When she connected her health to her faith and helping others in her community it was life changing. She now supports members of her church who want to lose weight by holding a weekly support group. By helping others she has been able to help herself.
The initial shock of a diagnosis of any disease is enough to shake us up into behavior change but what is going to keep you going? This will take a little digging, thinking and soul searching but it is worth it. Finding your purpose to be well is extremely powerful.
To start you can ask yourself what are your motivators? Why do you want to do this? No superficial answers like I want to look good and feel better. Don’t we all? What does it mean to be healthy? What will you be able to do if you are fit and full of energy? How will staying healthy help your family? What will you be able to do if you are in good health? Go on that trip to Thailand you have been thinking about? Plant a garden? Play with your grand-kids? Often you will find the fear of the disease is not as motivating as the joy of possibilities!