When we find ourselves in a different situation than where we want to be, it creates a drive inside us to do something about it. This is our motivation.
The stronger that motivation, the more likely we are to change our situation. We can do that by changing how we see our current situation ("maybe this is not so bad after all") or we can make changes to move towards that better place ("I'm tired of this, let's fix it").
Imagine that you have recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. That is not a situation you want to be in, therefore in theory you would make changes to get you as far away from actual diabetes as you can. But in many cases, even when we know things should be done, we continue to do things exactly as we have always done. WHY?!
Many factors influence our motivation and, when it relates to health, Irwin Rosenstock developed a neat model to determine how likely we are to do something about it, or not.
1. seeing it as a personal threat.
Do you really believe that your pre-diabetes could develop into diabetes, or is this something that only happen to other people?
2. understanding how serious it is and the consequences of it.
Diabetes doesn't hurt, until it does. Apart from taking more medication and dealing with the side effects of that, what else do you think happens to your body? Reduced fertility, nerve damage, amputations, heart disease, weight gain...
3. Believing that changing a particular behaviour will reduce the threat.
Because of the genetic component of diabetes, many people think they are bound to be diagnosed sooner or later, no matter what they do. This learned helplessness paralyses any attempts of improvement.
"Why will I watch my food choices?
I will get diabetes anyway, it's in the family."
It also is a way of transferring the responsibility and justifying your habits.
"My food choices and lifestyle had absolutely nothing to do with it, it just happened. I will continue doing things just as I've always done, and hope this diabetes things just goes away."
Well, I'm writing all this here to remind you that:
Hey! What you do, matter!
Not everything in life is under our direct control, but it's not also completely out of hands. Each day you are making decisions that will have an impact on your wellbeing: what you eat, how much you exercise, how you choose to deal with a stressful situation... we may not be the absolute masters of our fate, but we certainly have a lot of say in it.
And if you don't exactly know what it is that needs to be done, you're in luck! I'm here to help. Let's sit down, analyse the situation, pick our battles, and tackle one thing at a time. You don't have to do it alone.
4. the costs of changing are lower than the benefits expected from that change.
You may still believe that this freaking diabetes is definitely not a cool thing, it could happen to you and you know you have the capacity to make changes, but even so... maybe they are all too hard. Maybe your priorities are others that make it ok to live with diabetes. But maybe, just maybe, you might not have really thought about it seriously enough.
It's uncomfortable - It's scary - It sucks!
To take thoughts off your head and put it in perspective, how about writing it down? Make a list that compares:
- the benefits of not changing a single thing (it's easy!)
- the costs of not changing a single thing (It will get worse.)
- the benefits of making changes (I can take control over this sh#t now!)
- the costs of making changes (I will need to focus.)
I find this more elaborated pros & cons list helps to visualise what you are dealing with and might even give you a hint as to where to start.
You can apply this to any situation. Let me know how you go, I will love to hear from you.
By the way, Nailing Nutrition - my signature 6 weeks online program - kicks off on the 9th of April. To learn more and decide if this is for you, click HERE.