In last month's post, I shared my main motivation for pursuing health: love for my grandchildren. What keeps me on track and making healthy choices is the desire to be in their lives for a long time. Not only do I want to be around, but I also want to be able to keep up with them and actively participate in all the important events that will define their lives over the years to come.
In the motivation post, I detailed a long list of excuses which, from time to time, we are all guilty of making where our health and fitness are concerned. Life is stressful, busy, and tiring. Work, friends, family, and our other commitments play tug-of-war with our time and energy. Sometimes the only thing that helps us achieve success is an incentive...some sort of carrot we can chase on our way to better health (better carrots than cake!).
So I asked our members, "What motivates you?" Or said a different way, "What is your driving force?" When excuses threaten your success, what is it that helps you power through? I invited members to contact me and share their personal "driving forces". I was challenged by the responses I received. The members who wrote to me had obviously given this some thought beyond just practical tips for diet and fitness. This is a way of life for many of our members, and it's inspiring to learn about.
To continue on this theme of motivation, I want to use this post to share some of your fellow members' answers with you. Maybe something you read will resonate with your values and give you the jumpstart you need to start (or keep on) pursuing better health.
Mary wrote, focusing specifically on the effect her diet has had on her motivation. After changing her eating habits to include more fruits and vegetables and other supplements, her tastes have also changed. This has led to increased health because, as she said, "you crave what you eat and [that has] helped me stay on track!"
Many of the responses we received centered on the role faith plays in our members' lives. For instance, a member named Sue shared, "My motivation to eat healthy, exercise and take care of myself and my family is simple. I am God's creation." She explained that to abuse or mistreat his creation was an insult to God. She stressed that worship is all-encompassing and "cannot be put into some specific time slot or some specific activity."
Lisa identified with my own responses about being a grandmother or "Ama", as she is known to her family. Her incentive is actually quite simple: she wants "to be able to play with them and enjoy time with them without being (too) worn out." She continued, "As you said, love is a great motivator! (John 14:15)" Echoing her fellow member Sue's conviction that laziness or lack of discipline is a spiritual issue, Lisa stressed, "My body really belongs to [God]. (I Cor 6:19, 20)"
Barry shared that he uses a list of words beginning with "f" to order his priorities and keep himself motivated. First comes faith, then fitness, and then in no particular order, family, focus/purpose, friends, fun, finances, and future. He noted that complete wellness "all starts with faith, but it is severely limited when our own health and well-being is not in good shape...[f]aith and fitness are the fuel that allows me to be actively involved with family and friends while pursuing my own focus...and having fun doing [it]." Acknowledging that excuses can present a real hurdle when pursuing fitness, in particular, Barry offered, "the key is not allowing the temptation to override the exercise."
These members' responses have made it clear that you don't need to have some sort of lofty reason to make positive changes in your health. Being able to complete a triathlon or climb Mt. Everest are great and impressive goals, but realistically, they are not for everyone or even half of everyone.
Think about the things that really matter to you; the practical, daily realities that depend on your health. Your answers may mirror what members shared above, but keep in mind that the things that motivate you will be unique to you depending on your current health, your age, your life stage, and even other factors like your geographical location. Here are a few examples of the type of realistic, practical incentive I'm suggesting:
Being able to get off the bench and actually play on the playground with my son or grandson.
Completing a 5k run to support my favorite charity.
Getting through the afternoon without needing sugar or caffeine to wake me up.
Ditching the golf cart and walking an 18 hole golf course with my wife.
Enjoying sleep that isn't hampered by sleep apnea, heartburn, or pain.
Having the mental clarity and energy to finally formulate a business plan for the small business I've dreamed of starting.
Giving my daughter a piggy-back ride when she asks me to.
Holding my newborn great-grandson.
So do you have your objective(s) in mind? Great. Now it's time to formulate a plan for getting there. There are many ways you can go about this, but if you are looking for a place to start, there's a method I recommend. You may or may not have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. One of the best ways to think through your objectives and make a plan for achieving them is to write them down and then list the specific ways in which they fit into the S.M.A.R.T. framework. Post your notes somewhere and devise a way to keep track of your progress, and you should start to see results.
We say it all the time, but the community aspect of Liberty HealthShare membership is truly unique. I hope the words of fellow members are an encouragement and challenge to you as you keep working to increase your health. If you've never used your ShareBox to write a note of encouragement to someone who has received your monthly share, I'd recommend taking a few minutes to do that today.
If you want to interact with other Liberty members via social media, you can also visit and like our Facebook page. You can share your motivations, ask questions, and encourage others there. Accountability is key to staying on track and other Liberty members could be a great addition to your community in that respect.
I want to thank those of you who took the time to respond to me with your motivations for health. Best wishes for continued success as you determine your goals and work to achieve them!
Health & Wellness Director