When setting up your health and fitness goals, it is essential that you figure out your “why.” We are not talking here about superficial “why” like for example “I want to lose weight.”
We are talking about the deep emotional reason behind your health and fitness goals. Why do you exactly want to lose weight, gain muscle, run a specific race or get stronger?
Skipping this step and not getting to the bottom of it, might mean a difference between significant, long-lasting results and no results at all.
Having a strong enough “why” and an emotional reason behind your goals will give you a clear vision, determination, and energy needed to do the work that is necessary to achieve your goals.
You will be willing to sacrifice your short-term gratifications in favor of long-term success. It is the driving force that allows you to keep pushing forward even when you are tired, had a bad day or lack willpower.
It is relatively easy to do the right things when you are motivated, have time, and lead a low-stress life. However, when life gets busy and things don’t go according to plan, that is when you need your “why” the most.
FINDING YOUR WHY
To find your personal “Why,” you need to dig deep and be completely honest with yourself.
Let’s say you want to lose weight. You need to ask yourself why you want to lose weight. To help you with that, try using the 5 Whys technique.
1. Why do you want to lose weight?
Because I want to look good.
2. Why do you want to look good?
Because looking good makes me feel energized and confident.
3. Why is that important?
Because feeling energized and confident allows me to achieve my personal and professionals goals.
4. Why is that important?
Reaching personal and professional goals will allow me to live a fulfilling life.
Because… because that’s why!
It is clear that by the 5th “Why” we managed to figure out the real reason why this individual wants to reach his weight loss goal.
In this case, losing weight means much more than just losing weight and looking better. It means feeling good about yourself which will allow you to be more productive, take on more life challenges and lead a fulfilling life.
When using this 5 Whys exercise, make sure to write down your goals on a piece of paper. No answer is correct, as long as you are honest with yourself as you explore your deep emotions, past experiences, insecurities, and real desires.
STRONGEST MOTIVATOR IS PAIN AVOIDANCE
We like to think of ourselves as logical beings. Yes, we all know that we need to exercise and eat healthy, but why do most people struggle with this?
The truth is we make decisions emotionally and use logic to justify our actions. If there is a strong emotion attached to why we need to exercise and eat healthy, then we are more likely to follow through with our long-term plan as opposed to giving up just after a few weeks or months.
These emotions can either be pain avoidance, pleasure-seeking or can include the elements of both. However, the strongest emotional driver is pain avoidance.
Here are some examples:
“I want to lose weight which will help me lower blood pressure and improve my lipid profile. Getting these fixed will improve my heart health. I have a history of heart disease in my family, and I am terrified of the thought that my kids might grow up without a mother.”
“I want to lose weight so I can be healthy and pain-free, which will allow me to see the world.”
Knowing your whys will provide you with what its called intrinsic motivation. This means you are motivated to exercise and eat healthy as a result of your own internal drivers and positive feelings.
This is contrary to extrinsic motivation, which refers to a behavior driven by external rewards like money, praise, and fame. You can still use external motivators to achieve your goals, but realize that these tactics are usually short-lived and not as effective as intrinsic motivators.
Once you have written down your Whys and figured out your exact emotional reasons behind your goals, make sure to remind yourself of them frequently.
You can put this in your phone with scheduled reminders, create a note that you can put into your wallet or stick it on your fridge. Be creative with this and figure out what will work best for you. It is a good idea to put it somewhere at a visible place so that you won’t forget about it and be reminded of it frequently.
Now that we’ve explained why it’s so important to figure out your "why", we want you to find a quiet place, sit down and write down your whys.
Try to eliminate all distractions and take your time. Start first with 5 Whys exercise. Keep asking yourself why you want to achieve a specific goal until you come up with a strong emotional reason behind it.
Think about what would scare you if you don’t take action now. What would happen if you stay where you are now for the next 1, 5, or 10 years. What would your life be and how would you feel? Will you be missing out on something?
If you are more a pleasure-seeking person, do the same exercise but think about all the benefits of achieving your goal. When you accomplish this specific goal how will you feel and what will your life look like?
Hopefully, by now you figured out your "why". Next step is to figure out how you are going to achieve this goal and set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals. Check out our blog post on this topic.
In case you need professional help and guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We also offer personal training in Toronto and online personal training wherever you are in the world.
Whether you are looking to lose weight, tone, gain muscle or improve how you look and move, we can help you set proper goals and provide you with the support and accountability that you need to achieve your goals.
We will design a completely individualized exercise program for your goals and teach you how to change your eating habits to give your body what it needs to ensure quick and long lasting results.
We provide personal training, kinesiology, and nutrition coaching services in Toronto, Canada and online wherever you are in the world. We are Registered Kinesiologists and certified personal trainers with years of experience successfully helping people reach their health and fitness goals.