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What Makes Mama Happy?

What Makes Mama Happy?

Helping anybody to achieve greater wellness is an important duty, and one I take to heart. But I am especially concerned with helping women – no offense to you, gentlemen.

Still today, women are the ones that tend to plan the majority of meals for their families. They often make decisions on bedtime and how to spend family time. As the adage goes, when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! So women have the biggest influence on the sleep, food, mood, and exercise equation in most households, and not just in America.

As a wellness professional, I bet that the majority of your self-elected clients, those who choose to work with you as opposed to those who were sent to you via their corporate wellness programs, are also women. Since I started Smarts and Stamina in 2007, roughly 70% of my readers, followers, and non-corporate clients have been women as well.

three generation family

This observation begs the question: how do we help women find greater motivation for wellness? The answer is individualized, of course, but there are generational trends that can help us get started.

According to a recent survey of roughly 2000 women, here is what motivates each generation to greater wellness.

Millenials are at the beginning of their adult lives. They aspire to a great future, and want to look and feel good. For them, wellness is part of the be happy and have it all together equation, something to help them be their best.

Members of Generation X are in the busiest stage of their lives, often reconciling a full speed career, kids, and other life roles. They feel the pressure of all the expectations put upon them. So for these busy women, wellness is about strength and productivity. It’s about finding calm and self-acceptance. Maybe even more importantly, it’s about setting the right example for their children.

Baby Boomers are entering retirement and want to have enough energy to make the most of it. They want to be free of aches and pains and stay active to help their children and enjoy their grandchildren. Some want to travel to exotic locations. Others are picking up hobbies they had set aside for career and child-rearing. These drives make them the most motivated and most engaged group of women.

One factor seems to rally all 3 generations: making myself proud.

Now you know the language most likely to best resonate with your various women clients. Hope it serves you well!

  • Margaret H. Greenberg

    Thanks for a great piece! As a Mama of 2 Millennials & a Baby Boomer myself, I so relate to the different motivators. While I have no plans of retiring or any grandchildren yet, more energy, an active lifestyle, and the desire to just feel good are indeed my motivators. I wonder if the researchers also considered “negative” motivators like reducing one’s chances of being diagnosed with horrible diseases like Alzheimer’s, especially when you have a family history.

    • You? A Baby Boomer? Don’t tell anyone – you totally look like a Gen X-er! 😉
      But to answer your question, yes, that was part of the study. Statements like “staying out of the hospital” or “avoiding disease” were very common sources of motivation for Boomers. But research tells us that approaching a positive state is generally more motivating than trying to move away from a negative state, so I didn’t want to overemphasize that part. Trying to make sure I don’t influence wellness professionals to focus on it with people for whom that wouldn’t be so exciting. Hope that makes sense!

MJ Shaar – in 20 seconds

MJ is one of the most sought-after experts blending positive psychology and health promotion. She spent over 15 years coaching, teaching, speaking, researching and testing smart health habits. Marie-Josée Shaar received her undergrad at McGill University in Organizational Behavior, followed by a Master of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania. She's certified as a Wellness Culture Coach, a Personal Trainer, and a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.

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