Wannabes talk about improving their health & well-being and are willing to learn about healthy living, but they never seem to act on it or do so half-heartedly. This is because they tend to have thoughts such as:
- "I may be able to do what's required to improve my health, but I'd rather not deal with it right now."
- "I'm not sure what to do."
- "I'm just not ready."
Wannabes, in other words, tend to cope with their doubts and fears through avoidance. What they do, for example, is:
- Try to feel better by doing enjoyable or interesting things rather than focusing on the problem.
- Act as if nothing has happened or try not to think about their problems.
- Express negative emotions by yelling or crying, taking it out on others, or avoiding certain people rather than doing something constructive.
- Hope a miracle will make things better or that one's wishes or prayers will be answered, rather than gaining knowledge and developing a plan of action.
- Resign themselves that nothing can be done to improve the situation, even though they lack adequate understanding and fail to exert adequate effort.
On the positive side, since Wannabes think and talk about improving their health & well-being, they will likely want to participate (to some degree) in health promotion programs that:
- Evaluate their health status, especially if they have concerns about their physical and/or emotional states.
- Help them learn about their problems or risk factors, including understanding the pros & cons of different treatment and prevention options.
- Using their knowledge to make decisions about dealing with (treating) acute physical or mental health problems
- Acting on wellness plans designed to self-manage chronic conditions and avoid complications
- Making positive lifestyle changes to prevent risk factors from becoming health problems.
If they have family and other demands that consume their time and thus make lifestyle change difficult, they will likely use it as an excuse for non-action. And if they have physical handicaps or cognitive impairments, they will likely use these limitations as excuses for inaction.
All this means they will need wellness counseling focused on modifying their self-defeating cognitive and emotional blocks (including self-doubt, fear, and shame) and changing their avoidance-based coping strategies. The goal is to help them become more like Activists. Only then will they be willing to take responsible action that improves their health and well-being.
In my next post, I'll examine the third personality type: the "Inactive."
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