Be more selfish for a healthier lifestyle

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Have you ever felt criticised by lifestyle advice?

Behaviour change resistance

Bernard the Labrador's owner is convinced that a visit to the the vet will do him good.

Bernard is not fully onboard with his owner's well intended advice.

Burying head in the sand rarely achieves success

Negative reasons to change

I might have a heart attack if I don't

I am worried about cancer

Family want me to

Doctor told me to



Positivity and self esteem help positive behaviour change

Positive reasons to change

I can do it and I want to do it

I deserve to feel better

I will have more energy/be happier/run faster/jump higher!

I will enjoy feeling healthier

Successful change

There are lots of reasons to change our lifestyle and yet we often use the wrong motivation to do so. Many people start thinking really hard about making a big lifestyle change after a shock - like being told they have pre-diabetes, high blood pressure or after a doctor has a 'stern word'. Other people use self-less motivation ( 'I want to set my children a good example'}.

While these can be useful turning points, you are much more likely to succeed long term if you also have more selfish, positive motivation.

Many of us wobble

Take weight.

There is much more to health than someone's weight but obesity is a risk factor for ill health. Many of us wobble. Many of us wobble a lot! . At the simplest level, our weight is related to the food we eat, but our relationship with food is far from simple.

Not everyone wants to lose weight and no-one should feel obliged to do so. For someone who would like help to reach a healthier BMI, positive motivators are more likely to undo downward spirals. Guilt and shame are really unlikely to help.

Doctor advice

Lifestyle advice is often limited by time constraints

In a 10 minute GP consultation, time is very limited. A doctor may feel obliged to tell a patient that they would benefit from losing weight. Beyond that they may be able to give some brief advice about the best way to lose weight or offer a referral to the practice nurse or a self help club like Slimmer's World. Time constraints make it

very difficult to offer more support than that.

Well intended advice can often be perceived as criticism

Perceived criticism

A patient with chronic health problems may hear the same advice trotted out each time they attend. Although there is evidence that patients do respond to brief advice from doctors about lifestyle, there is also a risk that the more the information is offered, however well-intended, it becomes perceived purely as criticism.

This guy knows he's got what it takes


Increasing self esteem rather than knocking it back is crucial for maintained success.

At LifestyleDoc, we always ensure you have the right foundation of motivation to maximise your chance of success. We are able to invest time to listen and understand in order to offer workable, personalised lifestyle solutions that have the best chance of maintained success whatever your starting point. Ultimately it will be you that needs to make the lifestyle change so it's important that we ensure that you have the tools to achieve.


Success is more likely to be achieved and maintained if you make a change not just for others but also for yourself.

By valuing yourself you are more likely to invest in yourself.

By investing in yourself you allow your self esteem to increase.

Self investment and self esteem together with the support of others is a powerful combination that prepares success.

Success breeds confidence.

Go for it!

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