We all want to live healthy, but what motivates us to get there?
My career in corporate wellness has allowed me to see it all! One of my personal strengths is that I like to find patterns in human behavior. This allows me to better predict the needs of my clients to aid them on their wellness journey. For example: “I hear that every time your sister visits, you are upset that you miss your Saturday morning class…How do you think you can head that off before this visit? Is there another day that might work out better than Saturday?”
After working with hundreds of individuals, of every demographic, all over the country: I have realized there is not a one-size-fits-all motivator for health.
As you read through these four groups see what parts you identify with. Keep in mind, as you read these motives, one category may shout your name or you may be a blend of a few. This is because you are unique but you are also human. Your humanity is what makes you predictable your individuality is what gives you your spark!
The Forever 21's
So what if your last physical therapy appointment for your shoulder was 5 years ago, that doesn’t stop you from doing your program once a week. You’re just insuring you will be able to carry your grand kids someday; maybe even your great grand kids! You cleaned out your deli drawer when the CDC labeled deli meats carcinogenic and you invest in your organic produce when buying the dirty dozen. In the Trans theoretical model of change you have created a new phase “terminal maintenance stage” meaning your healthy lifestyle isn’t a change or a phase; it’s now part of you like a tattoo. You are motivated by a zest for today and the promise of tomorrow. You live by your code that you are in control; you have a choice, and every choice you weigh trying to make the right one. Acceptance and living in the moment may be difficulties you need to work through on your health voyage. Don’t get upset when you doctor doesn’t prescribe titanium joint replacements for your entire body. However, practicing meditation and living in the moment can help you celebrate your current growth while honoring your curiosity for tomorrow!
2. The Sweat Sisters
The whole Zumba class knows where your spot is on the floor. Some newbies even get redirected to curb the drama. You are part of a tribe. Whether you are the leader or a member, your motivation for sweating is that someone else is there waiting for you. Sweating solo is just not as fun as having a partner in crime. Who else is going to laugh with you when you tumble out of tree pose? The Japanese call this camaraderie a moai which in Japanese means “meeting for a common purpose”. In a Blue Zone study done on population longevity in Okinawa Japan, moais are credited with supplying the support needed for adding purpose and years to people’s lives. I would argue that meeting up for 6pm spin class every week is the same thing! While you like to talk, catch up on gossip and show off your new kicks; the team atmosphere is really so much more. The real carrot for your lifestyle is meeting your connectional needs for acceptance, belonging and inclusion. You strongly contribute to the community you have built and add to the space you have created. To balance this, be sure to find a practice or hobby to outline your independence and individuality. Try a creative dance class or do a solo trip for a conference. You will make fast friends and have a rewarding experience organically seeing what and who your energy attracts!
3. Creature of Habit...or Hobbit
Still take the same multi vitamin you started taking in your 20’s because you liked the bottle? Yup, you’re reading the right category. You’re a check the box kind of person. If it’s on the list you do it, even if there is not a definitive reason why. Oh wait there is: it’s how you have always done things! Most likely you are a morning exerciser. This way, you can insure the world is sleeping and wont mess with your plans. Like The Forever 21s, you are in terminal maintenance stage with your healthy lifestyle. Sure you still gripe about those few pounds (which you know down to the ounce because you weigh yourself daily), but you know what to expect every morning. Your strengths are security and stability. You are a rock; steady. However, your circle knows and trusts this about you which gives you a strong role in your ever changing community. This is great, however, don’t forget about growth. Next time you go out for that 2 mile loop you do every other day maybe shake things up by taking the dog, or sprinting to every other mail box for a fartlik. Change and growth aid in neuroplasticity of our brains which helps to keep us intellectually in shape. By staying strong and steady but giving your body just enough muscle confusion, you can challenge yourself just enough to grow. Baby steps my friend!
4. The Goal Digger (Think Eat Pray Love meets Indiana Jones)
If Mount Everest was closer and you had more time off work you would already have it off your bucket list. You love being outdoors and when you don’t know what is around the corner you feel alive! In the gym, you try all the new trends at least once. You’ve found ways to practice a diverse array of pushups and pull-ups all over the gym, house, and yard. While some drool over heels, you dig hiking boots and backpacks. You are great in a group; often times leading the way and finding a great high in the sense of community you obtain with friends. However, you value your alone time. For you, your healthy motivator is that you either get to make it somewhere first (you know you’re competitive!) or you get to see what others can’t (not everyone is going to make it the waterfall 6 miles out from the parking lot). This freedom and choice are what drive you through your sweat sessions. Through your adventures you meet your needs for discovery and purpose (not to mention get great calves!). However, if there isn’t a trip planned or a race you’ve signed up for you can sometimes feel lost. For balance, a little consistency might not hurt. Sign up to regularly volunteer with a cause you are passionate about, or add structure to your morning routine to add intention to your day. Keep your desires alive and your purpose on track, follow your heart and you can’t go wrong!
Did you find yourself in any of these motivators?!
I encourage you no matter what group you are in to explore and exploit your strengths! Live in them daily, and embrace them. Learn more by taking the VIA strength test today. Whatever your motivators, keep what serves you. Namaste Friend!