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Ask Arlene: Motivation for Health



Hi Arlene,

I loved reading this article. I want to want a healthier lifestyle and I feel I owe it to my kids to be a better role model in health. I feel like I’ve just plain lost my motivation. I’m a stay at home mom to four school-aged children, so time isn’t the issue, my motivation and “want-to” is. I feel like my life revolves around either feeding them or picking up after them and the last thing I feel like doing after dropping them off at school is another thing I “have to do”. Do you have any suggestions on finding my motivation to be a better, healthier me?


Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your honesty. That is the first step towards finding your motivation! You already know that time is not an issue so that’s a huge plus.

I would suggest going to two places in search of your motivation:

The first place is the dark side of the moon. The worst case scenario. Right now, if you are not proactive about your health, you may gain a pound or two. Your family might eat more fast food than they should. But isn’t everyone?

But let’s go the dark side. Ten years from now, you’re 15 pounds heavier. You don’t have enough energy to run around with your teens or stand up to them when they challenge you verbally. Your doctor’s visit didn’t go so hot. Your kids have some really bad eating habits, living on French fries and soda.

Chances are you don’t want that.

Now let’s go to the sunny side of the street. You decide to make small incremental steps towards better health. You have dessert on three nights of the week instead of five nights. You serve rotisserie chicken instead of fried. You pop in a 30 minute exercise DVD once a week and you actually do it when the kids are in school.

Ten years from now, you live a more active, healthy lifestyle and your kids have caught hold of that. Instead of being like their peers who have terrible mood swings because they eat so much sugar, your kids are level headed and happy.

Which scenario would you choose?

Bingo. There’s the motivation. Now is the time to start those healthy habits of eating real food and exercising regularly. Forget waiting to “feel like it.” You never feel like waking up to go to gym or to exercise or eat right when no one is watching. Decide why you need to make the change and then take that first small step towards being healthier. Make it specific and measurable. Don’t say “I’ll eat healthier this week.” Say “I will cut my Starbucks consumption in half this week” or whatever would be meaningful to you.

You can do it Lisa! Your family will thank you for it in the future!


In her monthly column, “Ask Arlene,” author and speaker Arlene Pellicane answers readers’ questions. If you have a question you’d like her to consider for this column, submit a question here.

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Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children. To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit

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Ask Arlene: Motivation for Health

by Arlene Pellicane time to read: 3 min