Data were collected from 29 individuals who were attempting to initiate and sustain programs of cardiac risk factor modification. Data were analyzed through the technique of constant comparative analysis. Empowering potential, the basic social process identified from the data, explained individual motivation to initiate and sustain cardiovascular health behavior. Empowering potential was a continuous process of individual growth and development which facilitated the emergence of new and positive health patterns. Within the process of empowering potential, individuals use a variety of strategies which guide the initiation and maintenance of health-related change. The process of empowering potential consists of three stages: appraising readiness, changing, and integrating change. Two categories occurred throughout the process of empowering potential: imaging and social support systems. These findings provide a better understanding of how motivated action is initiated and reinitiated over time.