Health and Wellness: Motivation for Living a Healthier Lifestyle

I went to the pool a few days ago and found some of the varsity swimmers, doing a workout with what seemed like no effort at all. A runner myself, I felt out of my element, and I could not help but notice the weight of the possibility that I may be judged for my novice skill set. Sounds a lot like working out for the first time.

All too often, individuals find themselves afraid to go to the gym, or afraid to even begin working out for fear of failure. Living any kind of healthy lifestyle should be a positive aspect of life.  Why does the thought of a healthy behavior seem to render the opposite effect? Maybe it has to do with why one even considers working out. The idea of beginning healthy habits holds a negative connotation, implying that one may not have a positive view of oneself and therefore projects outwards onto how they believe others might perceive them. Or maybe an entire athletic team is using all of the equipment, edging you out of options for where to begin.

The most challenging aspect of making any major lifestyle change often resides in the amount of gumption one possesses to overcome fear of failure. Some individuals find solace in taking classes such as spinning or zumba, where 20 other people all suffer for an hour in unison.  Others are intrinsically motivated and can decide that on Monday they will start running five laps around campus each morning before sunrise. Some people choose to begin by eliminating artificial products from their diets, replacing those three cans of pop with approximately three liters of water per day. Taking the stairs, parking farther away on purpose, going to sleep at a decent hour—no matter the change, making the change itself allows gumption to manifest into habits, which transform into strengths because individuals finally overcome the challenges they once believed they could not.

Nobody must be perfect to begin, just as beginning does not mean achieving perfection. We are all afraid to fail. Rather, altering one’s own life for the sake of a healthier you means one cares about oneself enough to be introspective, respecting the journey of healthiness, not the destination. We build our confidence by motivating ourselves and those around us to be better, to do better.

Jumping into a pool with six other division three swimmers may not bode well for confidence in that moment, but the mere ability to take a chance, attempting something completely out of one’s element, allows one to constructively—be it physical, mental, and/or emotional—improve for a stronger you.