What’s your motivation for being healthy?

Often people want to be healthy but do nothing about it. Usually excuses and lack of motivation get in the way of taking the steps to live a healthy lifestyle. Having proper motivation is a significant force to helping a person start on the path to better health.

Some forms of motivation include:

  • Not needing to be cared for when older and maintain independence.
  • Be there for children, grandchildren and/or spouse. Even pets that depend upon them. 
  • Inspired by other people’s positive health decisions.
  • Making one accountable to oneself with things such as goals or social media posts.
  • Not wanting to be like that unhealthy person in their life who was constantly struggling.
  • Wanting to just enjoy life without having to struggle due to limits on one’s health.
  • Reaching fitness goals on one’s fitness watch.

I can tell you from personal experience it has been a combination of several of those for me. Over the years, I’ve gone through different phases when I focused on my health and made changes to improve my health. Along the way I dealt with injuries, negativity, and other various setbacks that affected the things that I was doing for my health. Eventually, I kept working on my health because of how good I felt from putting in the time and effort.

When I was a teenager, I reevaluated my health when I was heavier than I should be and found myself heating up something to eat that didn’t taste all that good when I wasn’t hungry. I started rollerblading every day after school and started eating an appropriate amount of calories as part of a balanced diet. I would even do different workout videos. I lost weight, had more energy, was less stressed, and felt happy. The thing that stopped me was a back injury from picking up my backpack with my back. I was in great shape and was injured due to improper body mechanics. 

When I was in college, a few of my friends were losing weight due to lifestyle changes they made.  I was inspired by them and wanted to try a gluten free diet. It was an opportunity to change my diet and incorporate exercise into my routine. I didn’t buy the processed gluten free products but made gluten free bread with almond flour. I cut out processed foods and mostly ate vegetables with small portions of meat and minimal carbohydrates. My head felt less cloudy. In addition, I started walking longer distances with my dog daily. I set the challenge for myself as 28 days to form a habit. It was a habit by day 14 for me. I started at about a mile and worked my way up to over 3 miles a day. I lost weight and had more energy. When it got too hot to walk my dog, I started going to the gym. I mostly exercised on the elliptical followed by the stationary bike. I would study while exercising. It would really help me focus. When I would walk to the gym, I would cross path with some of my neighbors, who I knew from walking their dogs would ask me where I was going. I mentioned that I was headed to the gym. People, who were getting exercise walking their dogs, would complain about how I could never get them to go to the gym and how much they hated it. I never asked them to join me nor did I let their opinion deter me from exercising. I was doing my own thing to exercise. I doubled my workout during midterms but wasn’t stretching. I tore my left calf muscle, leaving me dependent on crutches. I couldn’t work out for a few months. The first day after I got off crutches I got into a car accident, where a pickup truck rear ended by civic. I spent several months recovering from back injuries that I sustained. Thank goodness for acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. They really helped in my recovery, especially the acupuncture. 

After I healed from my injuries, I kept finding myself tripping and falling. I realized that it was due to my injuries. I was motivated to strengthen my body to stop falling and get back into an exercise routine.  I started my own physical therapy by doing yoga for 20 minutes a day with a DVD I had. I added a plank challenge and squat challenge, that were 30 days, into my exercise routine. Since it takes 28 days to form a habit, my initial goal of yoga was 28 days. I successfully completed my challenges each day and posted my progress on Facebook daily. It kept me accountable, while inspiring some others. It was nice knowing others were motivated to exercise too as that provided further motivation. I didn’t expect that I would inspire others in the process as I was doing it for my own health and trying to keep myself accountable. There were a few jerks that mocked my posts in person. That was their problem. I didn’t care. When I asked about their exercise, they weren’t doing anything so had no response as they weren’t caring for their health. I continued with yoga and the initial challenges then proceeded to add new challenges each month. The thing that stopped me was a chronic cough after a trip across the country. It made it difficult to breathe. 

Afterwards I ended up moving, it made it difficult to just reimplement my previous routines. I did exercise when I could by walking my dog. Eventually, I joined a yoga studio & attended classes regularly. This was due to my ultimate motivation to be healthy. It comes from seeing different people at the same age but different levels of health. Among those was my mother, who I loved dearly. My mom rarely took care of her health but would constantly express how she wanted to lose weight. From seeing her struggle with diabetes at one point to even just having trouble with simple tasks, I knew that I wanted to not have the same struggles as she did. 

My ultimate motivation is to be healthy so I can remain independent as I age & not depend upon others to care for me. I don’t want to struggle with simple tasks or have trouble getting up off the floor without help. When I’m healthier, I feel happier, have more energy, & enjoy life more. Acupuncture has been a huge influence on my health as well. From receiving treatments that have positively affected my health better than conventional medicine to gaining a greater understanding about body through my studies while earning my masters and doctorate degrees, I understand the importance of health. Good health is priceless.

At this point to maintain my health, I incorporate cardio through using an elliptical & walking my dog, practice yoga for strengthening, stretching, & mindfulness, eat a balanced diet, enjoy time with my pets & loved ones, get plenty of sleep, take herbal formulas, & use acupuncture. While these have all become habits, I am motivated to be healthy so I can live my best life, care for my animals, & care for my patients. Additional motivation comes from wanting to maintain my health so as I age I can remain independent and enjoy my life without my health negatively affecting my life. Hopefully, my patients and others continue to find motivation to live a healthy lifestyle as well. 

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