The man I prefer to be has 90 reasons to take care of his health

By Greg Marano

And sometimes, the hardest part of a lifestyle change is keeping up the motivation to stick with it, day after day. That’s been my achilles heel every time I’ve resolved to spend more time in the gym and less time in line at Dunkin’ Donuts, or eat more carrot sticks and fewer sticks of butter.

One thing that’s helped me was writing down a new motivation every day. Not only would I have a fresh reason in my mind for why I wanted to adopt healthier habits, but going back to the list to add to it was a daily opportunity to review what had come before.

With a few lapses, I’ve managed to keep that list growing continuously, adding to it even on days when the healthiest thing I did was stare blankly at my running shoes as if they were an invitation for a party on the other side of town that I had RSVP’d “yes” to but now I really just… just didn’t want to go.

Presented here, with the occasional embellishment, correction of inadvertent redundancies, and self-censorship that etiquette and good sense insist upon, are the first 90 such motivations, some of which keep me on track, some of which don’t, but any of which may be helpful for you:

  1. I want to be a good role model for my son.

  2. I want to look good for my wife.

  3. No need to buy newer, bigger clothes.

  4. Fit, healthy people command more respect.

  5. It would be nice to be less tired during the day.

  6. Underboob: sexy. Undergut: not so much.

  7. Speaking of boobs: Don’t want boobs.

  8. A better body leads to a more focused, effective mind.

  9. Improve sleep apnea and snoring.

  10. Keep college kids from looking at me with pity.

  11. I won’t have to be self-conscious in shirtless situations.

  12. Keep options open for an epic adventure trip ten years from now.

  13. Diabetes does not look like fun.

  14. Today is always the easiest time to get started. Tomorrow will be harder.

  15. Those cupcakes which I hath foregone must not have been foregone in vain.

  16. I have more self-respect when I’m in shape.

  17. Better health = less time at doctor’s appointments.

  18. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is bad.

  19. My wife says she's proud of me for showing self-control. I want to keep that up.

  20. My son would feel rejected if I don’t have energy to play.

  21. My dogs would feel rejected if I don’t have energy to play.

  22. Better to get energy from health and metabolism than from caffeine.

  23. I never want to be the one who has to stay on the bus with the driver while the rest of the tour group hikes into the jungle for a chance to see the rare Costa Rican spotted waterfall monkey.

  24. I feel noticeably more energetic when not carrying extra weight.

  25. I can be one of those older men who doesn’t look like an older man.

  26. One less thing for my son to be embarrassed about when he’s a teenager.

  27. When I’m healthier, I’m happier.

  28. Eating less junk food means saving money.

  29. More energy makes me better at my job.

  30. Which do I love more:
    A. Being alive to take care of my family and watch my son grow up?
    B. Buffalo wings?

  31. I can push 40 instead of letting 40 push me.

  32. Be ready to impress at any short-notice reunion.

  33. I can’t assume I can always get healthy later. You never know what happens tomorrow.

  34. The Hershey Company has an estimated $5.5 billion in assets. I have… less. Let’s correct that imbalance.

  35. I am stronger in spirit than any McNugget, and I will prove it.

  36. You build more energy by getting up earlier to run than by using that time to sleep in.

  37. No one has ever regretted exercising, but I regret when I don’t.

  38. When I look at the list of people I respect the most, they all take care of their health.

  39. Posture, probably.

  40. The smaller your gut, the bigger airline seats feel.

  41. Make people say, “You know who looks good for his age? Greg.”

  42. Who wants to get winded by stairs?

  43. Literally everything is easier when you’re healthier.

  44. I’ll have an easier time fleeing to Canada on foot if things get crazy.

  45. Prevent people from saying “You know who’s gained weight since high school? Greg.”

  46. It’s respectful to doctors, masseuses, and anyone contractually obligated to touch me.

  47. Fight muscle degeneration that will pick up at 40.

  48. Regulate body heat better.

  49. It’s fun to feel your own muscles. Admit it.

  50. I will have, at most, one chance to wrestle the detonator away from a terrorist in my life on the edge of a cliff. I can’t blow it.

  51. Be someone else’s inspiration.

  52. True renaissance men don’t have beer guts.

  53. At my son’s graduation, he shouldn’t have to explain to his friends that I’m not his grandfather.

  54. Help strangers lift things in parking lots. Heavy things. Then disappear like a knight in a shiny Honda.

  55. I'm already a bad dancer; I should at least be able to leave the dance floor without wheezing.

  56. Pictures taken candidly will be more flattering.

  57. Eating well is probably better for the environment, right? Fewer chemicals and fast food wrappers?

  58. If generally healthy, the inevitable backslides will be easier to handle.

  59. Make enemies jealous.

  60. At my last physical, the doctor wasn't mad. Just disappointed. And that hurt more.

  61. You wanna look cool, don’t you?

  62. Preventable health problems are embarrassing.

  63. Be more alert for long drives with fewer stops.

  64. Being in good shape is good for the soul.

  65. Because if you don’t take care of your body, what else matters?

  66. Prove I have the discipline to beat the temptations of laziness and sugar.

  67. Avoid that shameful feeling of checking off too many “yes” boxes on patient intake forms.

  68. You can’t win against mortality, but you can at least beat the spread.

  69. Eating healthy and exercising are on the Forbes list of 8 patterns of successful people.

  70. Because you never know when you'll run into an ex whose face you want to rub in your excellent physique (metaphorically).

  71. If I ever have an author photo taken, it must look sophisticated.

  72. Getting up early to run sets the whole day up for success.

  73. My body is the only thing 100% guaranteed to be with me until the bitter end. Must treat it well.

  74. When you’re healthy, you can enjoy the occasional bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel without guilt, and gleefully use the bagel to sop up any bacon grease that is pooling on the wrapper.

  75. It feels nice when jeans are loose.

  76. Free up New Year’s resolutions for less cliche goals.

  77. No one remembers the jars you can open for them; but you can bet they’ll remember the ones you can’t.

  78. Truly embrace holiday merriment without guilt.

  79. Teenage me never pictured middle-aged me to be low-energy and flabby. I don’t want to annoy teenage me, because teenage me is kind of a jerk.

  80. Sugar causes cancer! Or so I’ve been told. I’m going with it.

  81. It’s nice not having to experiment with clothes in the morning to see what fits well.

  82. Watching even the most brainless TV while running on the treadmill doesn’t count as wasted time.

  83. The man I prefer to be is in good shape.

  84. Gaining weight back is just demoralizing.

  85. Next time there’s a weight loss challenge at work, it would be nice to think, “No, I don’t need that.”

  86. If my wife ever leaves me for a sexy Brazilian helicopter pilot, I’ll be ready to woo his sexy sister. And then who will be sorry?

  87. Better yet: Remove any motivation for her to leave me for a sexy Brazilian helicopter pilot in the first place.

  88. I like making wise investments. Exercise clothes, gym memberships, and treadmills you don’t use are poor investments. The ones you use are good investments. The end.

  89. Who needs a list? At this point, isn't good health a motivation unto itself?

  90. Don’t want boobs. Did I say that one already?

… So what should be #91?

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