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Understanding individual motivation

Getting motivated to make healthy living changes can be a challenge at times. What you need is:

  • A selection of different sized goals

  • A clear idea of how all your goals contribute to the bigger picture of your life’s mission

  • Knowledge of the daily contributions required to achieve each of your goals

  • Acknowledgement of regular progress and success

Here are a few things to think about.

  • Are you more motivated by thinking about the short term or the long-term? Do you prefer so think and plan daily or monthly or annually? For example, are you excited by the idea of completing 2 workouts a week or would you prefer to think in terms of steadily working your way up to 100 exercise sessions in a year?

  • Do you prefer the thought of 31 days alcohol free for Dry January, or a regular routine of 1 or 2 or even more days off the booze each week?

  • Four coffees a day might not sound like the worst thing in the world but how about the idea of 120 a month? Or 1440 per year?

  • Maybe the number of coffees per day, month or year doesn’t mean that much to you. How about the financial benefits of specific lifestyle changes? For example, if you pay £2 for a coffee and you buy a couple a day, you’re in for a total of £1460 a year. Cutting back to one a day instantly puts £730 in your pocket

  • 10,000 steps a day is a great target but doesn’t inspire everyone. If you prefer to think bigger, 10,000 steps a day, every day for a year, is the same as walking 63 marathons.

  • 15 minutes of extra sleep each night might not sound like a lot but could add up to almost 6 months of extra sleep over the course of your working life.

Think about this for every area of healthy living:

  1. Big picture: what are the greatest benefits of making changes?

  2. Smaller details: what are the simplest daily habits I can form to achieve these benefits?

Very quickly you’ll develop new ways of thinking and acting.

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