The Type of Motivation Needed For Healthy Changes That Last

We’ve come to the final part of my 5-part series based on my reaction and response to the Time magazine article “The Weight Loss Trap”.

The article first led me to create a new term Modern Health Enthusiast:

A Modern Health Enthusiast is modern because she’s not swayed by the hottest new diet, supplement, product, or fad.

A Modern Health Enthusiast is invested wholeheartedly in her health.

A Modern Health Enthusiast is just that – an enthusiast – she’s unequivocally devoted to becoming her healthiest and best self.

Based on my new term, I began writing this 5-part series on what I believe it takes to become a Modern Health Enthusiast.

If you’ve been with me for all 5 parts, thank you for coming along!

If you missed any, you can find the first four parts here:

Today, I wrap up this 5-part series by talking about motivation because it is the glue that keeps the four other parts going strong.

It’s important to understand, though, that there are two different types of motivation.

The first type only gets you so far.

It may help you get started on your healthy journey, but it usually fades at some point and you may find yourself going back to your old habits.

The second type of motivation is what I help my clients continue to strengthen, because it’s the kind that will help you get in shape and stay in shape for the rest of your life so that you can do the things you love to do in a body you love living in.

I truly believe that if you want to become a Modern Health Enthusiast, you have to change your perspective on what you might traditionally believe.

I hope I’ve challenged you to do so over the past four weeks.

Without further ado, today I bring you Part 5.

If you want to be healthy for the rest of your life, you MUST be motivated by this.

One of the things I love most about being a health and self-care coach for women in midlife is that my clients’ motivation for getting healthy isn’t because they’re trying to look sexy at the beach in a bikini.

Now, would you mind looking sexy at the beach in a bikini?

You probably wouldn’t mind having this option, but you might realize at this point of your life that there are so many more important reasons to get healthy.

If that’s how you feel, then you’re already on your way to the type of motivation it takes to create and sustain healthy changes.

Let me explain.

The clients of mine who make the most progress during our time together are those who are getting healthy for the internal, rather than external reasons.

Some external reasons could be doing it for how they will look on the outside (like looking sexy at the beach), doing it for someone else, or doing it for attention or praise, for example.

On the other hand, the internal reasons for change are what I’m referring to today, AKA intrinsic motivation.

For example, I have clients who want to travel more, but because traveling is harder when you’re overweight, they just don’t go anywhere.

They feel like they’re missing out on life, fun, and adventure.

Others want to not only live long enough to watch their grand kids grow up, but they also want to be able to run around and play with them.

Some of my other clients are motivated by the simple fact that they just want to wake up pain-free, have bountiful energy, and just feel good in their bodies.

They want to move around with ease and enjoy the second half of life in a body that can do everything they ask it to, from going on a hike or bike ride, to just having more stamina and energy to get through their day without feeling so exhausted.

The “icing on the cake,” so to speak, is weight loss, looking better in their clothes, and as a result, others take notice.

But again, this is a merely a result of being intrinsically motivated, not the initial driver.

If you want to make healthy changes that last this time, you must be intrinsically motivated, that is, be motivated by how weight loss or strength gain or greater mobility and flexibility will enhance your life and simply make you feel better.

So where do you begin?

I believe you begin by asking yourself this question:

What kind of body do I need to live the life I want to live?

If you want to retire and sit in bed binge-watching Netflix all day, you don’t need strength, mobility, or even weight loss.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s your life, your body, and you can do whatever you want with it. I’ll be the last to judge how you want to spend your time.

But if you want to travel, play with your grand kids, garden, hike, bike, and more, you’ll need a strong, fit, capable body to do so.

A big mistake people make is starting with the HOW before they have strengthened their WHY.

Your WHY is your foundation that your HOW will be built upon.

If you’re struggling with the WHY, it’s okay. Understand that there are different stages of change and you might not be ready just yet.

If you’re not ready, then don’t begin. It will only lead to disappointment, because the foundation is too shaky to build anything on top of it – AKA it gets too hard and you quit.

I believe the best way to develop and strengthen your WHY is by creating a “Look Back Story.”

I have written 5 Tips to Create Your Look Back Story that you can check out.

Read your “Look Back Story” out loud to yourself every day until you can’t go another day without making it a reality.

Then, make sure you take small, manageable, realistic steps toward that “story.”

If you try to make changes too big, too soon, you might get overwhelmed or burnt out.

Remember that a Modern Health Enthusiast is a marathoner, not a sprinter, so to speak.

In this case, slow and steady determination always wins the race when it comes to creating and sustaining healthy change in your life.

There’s a book I read many years ago called “Start With Why.” He was right.

Start with WHY, and when you’re ready for the HOW, seek out the support you need to stay on course.



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  • How Refocusing on Your Needs Leads to Abundant Health Rewards
  • The Most Important Change You Must Make in Order to Lose Weight After 50
  • A Proven Formula for Ongoing Health Success That Will Keep You Motivated and Inspired

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