Motivation, Action Plans, Small Steps Key to Positive Change

Most of those great New Year’s resolutions to become healthier fade away within a few months despite the best of intentions. Why? Motivation is a major reason. Now researchers are exploring whether motivation is baked into our genetic makeup.

To examine whether motivation to exercise has genetic determinants, researchers  at the University of Missouri bred more active and less active rats for 10 generations. Those bred from the active strain spontaneously exercised 10 times more than their less active counterparts. Comparing DNA samples from an area of the brain responsible for motivation to engage in enjoyable pursuits, the researchers found differences in dozens of genes between the active and less active animals. However, as the lead researcher Frank Booth, PhD, notes, even if the animal findings are applicable to humans, everyone has personal choice.

This brings us to the other major factor essential for creating positive change. As neuroscience expert Joe Dispenza, author of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One, says, you need to make plans for actions that will help you meet your goals. And to prevent being overwhelmed, the actions need to be in small steps. Jim Strohecker, CEO of wellpeople.com has created an online wellness program that incorporates both elements: motivation and small step-action plans. Once a personal choice is made to improve health, tools are readily available to assist in the effort.