A developmental task for adults is to determine what their own personal development has been and where it stands currently. Some people have a clear sense of where they are now, while others' sense of self-development is less obvious. Yet even with clear self-development there may be an underlying need to change, develop or improve certain aspects of your life. This is where the motivation to make changes comes from.
There are several components that can help us determine where we are today. The first component is our own answers to the questions we ask ourselves such as "Where do I stand emotionally?" or "How does my physical function appear to me?" Answers to these questions can be viewed in different ways and lead to varying degrees of motivation.
The second component is our responses to situations that occur around us. The environment we live in, our social skills, our health promotion objectives, the way we perceive events in our environment and even our expectations about how we should respond to other people can all contribute to our responses. In this way we are using some of our brain's developmental tools to decide how we will respond to particular situations. The results of our decisions are always immediate and can sometimes be measured immediately, such as following the best dietary advice given by our doctors.
Our responses to situations are a developmental task for adults. We decide how we will respond based on the information we receive and based on our understanding of how our body works. When we establish independence and as adults we have the option to change the way we feel about a situation. We can decide to follow our social skills and become more assertive, or we can choose to ignore the social cues that we are receiving and avoid making certain decisions.
Another dimension that impacts your life is intimacy. This is where you find your personal core beliefs and the reason why you do what you do in your daily life. Developing and mastering your intimate relationships is a developmental task for young adults. As you get older and enter into deeper intimate relationships with your core beliefs about who you are and what you want out of life can begin to change.
In this dimension we find our physical function. Our physical function is a huge part of who we are on a physical level and this is why we can start to develop new attitudes and new behaviors for managing our physical health. We learn how to eat better, get more exercise, take care of ourselves physically and emotionally. This dimension is a dynamic one and it can shift as our early developmental experiences change and as we grow as people.
The third dimension, we will discuss in this chapter is to risk factors. Risk factors are environmental circumstances that increase the likelihood of someone suffering from an illness or disability. The causes of disability and illness vary by individual and in most cases preventive medicine can address many of these circumstances that increase the chance for developing a disability or illness. Risk factors can include genetic factors, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic status, life experiences, medical history and other environmental factors.
The fourth dimension is lifestyle. This is the ability to create a plan and stick with that plan. This aspect of preventive medicine focuses on the changes we need to make in our lives to enable us to live healthier lives and stay healthy. Lifestyle management is about creating systems that support healthy living and implementing those systems. This chapter answers the question: What do I need to do to develop the desire to change?