January's Enthusiasm

Yesterday was the first Monday of the year. Yesterday, the treadmills at the gym were in use. All of them.

We pride ourselves in our small branch with its cozy, friendly ambience. Everybody knows everybody. No crowds, no wait for equipment. Then comes January.

My co-workers just smiled. "It'll be like this 'til beginning of February, maybe the middle," one said. "Then they'll drop like flies."

Part of my new job as a wellness coach is to help identify what keeps people motivated. Find something they like, and maybe they'll come in more often. They'll stay healthy. Good deal all around. This time of year, new year's resolutions kick in, and only time will tell which you put a ring on and which just want to be friends.

I made a call to a 79-year-old new member the other day. "I'm in the pool Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays," she said. "Oh, so you like to swim," I offered.

"Not really," she said, "but I know it's good for me."

Sometimes we grudgingly do what's good for us. Sometimes we know what's good for us but don't do it.

My father was a smoker all his life. While he was in the hospital three years ago, a friend brought in some personal belongings; my dad, in the sterile environment, immediately smelled the old cigarette smoke. "I smell like that?" he wondered to himself, and never smoked again.

Now, my dad had always known that smoking was bad for him. He knew it caused lung cancer, and he knew he'd be in the hospital again for his heart if he didn't quit. But it took this trigger to cure him.

Ideally, you find something you enjoy that will put or keep you on the path to wellness. Along these lines, I'm making some resolutions myself. But first, you: what motivates you to pursue health? Or haven't you found the key yet? Do tell.


  1. So true about the gym after Christmas. The only time I was motivated to visit a gym was before I got married, and I needed to lose about 10. Luckily, since then, frequent nursing babies have kept me in my target weight.
    Interesting point about your dad too...

  2. I think it's the knowledge that so much happens outside of my control that motivates me. Whatever goes down, I want to be able to react well - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Like, if I get a flu, I want my body to fight it. If someone tried to hurt me, I want to be able to fight back or run away. If family drama bubbles-up, I want to be rested so I can face it and make good decisions, and so on. That may not be positive motivation, but it kind-of works.

  3. Motivator 1) watching parents age and develop diet-preventable disease, 2) having a cancer scare myself before turning 40, 3) knowing that 1 in 3 of my generation's children will develop type 2 diabetes, a preventable disease, 4) and pure vanity. Though my motivators have been successful for me in the area of diet, I've never found an effective exercise motivator. I'm stumped...

  4. Kim: All those things sound like exercise motivators to me! But you haven't found something you like to do, I take it. Don't I recall you running?

    Erin: I agree, and think of it sort of along those lines, as well. What I love about my job is knowing that what I say will absolutely, no doubt, change a person's health for the better. Maybe in small increments, and maybe they'll get some small injury along the way, but I can say with absolute certainty that if you do this, good will result. It's absolutely in our control, but you have to put the work in.

    Roselady: I was always skinny, too, so I never even thought about exercise until my 30s, when the weight stayed on. I never thought about the fact that exercise is about more than weight loss; now, I'm pushing my kids so they don't end up like me!


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