Do you prefer to listen? In each podcast episode, I expand on the article and offer additional thoughts and insight. You can check it out on Soundcloud or iTunes! This week on the podcast, we talked about how the fitness industry is failing, but how you can succeed and reach the goals you have set in 2018. One of the ways to set yourself apart is to find your why.
We have goals. We have concrete numbers. We want to lose 10 pounds. We want to hit a 300 pound squat. But why? Often, the 10 pound weight loss isn’t about the 10 pounds at all; it’s about being able to look better for a class reunion. It’s about being able to play with your kids or grandkids without feeling exhausted after a few minutes. But before we talk about my favorite way to go about finding your why, let’s talk about the importance.
Knowing your why allows you to eliminate distractions.
Once you know why you do what you do, it allows you to easily eliminate distractions that don’t align with your higher purpose and goals. Let’s use a fitness goal as an example, weight loss specifically. Why do you want to lose weight? As I said before, the 10 pounds is almost never just about the 10 pounds. Once you’re able to define the deeper reason, it’s easier to say no to the cookies in the break room and the unexpected invite for drinks after work.
Although the action of saying no won’t be easy, the decision to do so will be. You know, in your heart, the extra cookies in the break room are not going to bring you closer to your larger goals. Your why provides this clarity and purpose behind your actions.
Knowing your why focuses your attention.
Similar to how it allows you to identify distractions, when you have a why you are better able to define a plan and know what step is next. This allows you to do arguably the most important thing: take action toward your goal. Without action, many goals are left to the wayside as life happens.
My podcast, The Missing Piece, is a good example. One of my goals for 2018 is to grow it as a platform for me to provide valuable, science-based information in the fitness, lifestyle, and nutrition. This allows me to achieve my higher goal, or “why”, of positively impacting the lives of as many people as possible. With this in mind, I plan out each week; this includes writing, recording, editing, making graphics, or brainstorming ideas for future podcasts.
Knowing your why motivates you in your actions.
Motivation can be generally classified in two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. Simply put, external motivation exists outside of ourselves; it can take the form of seeing weight on the scale drop, noticing your muscles when you flex, or clothes fitting better. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation exists within ourselves. It’s working out solely for the goal of feeling better. It’s lifting heavy for the feeling of being strong.
Your deeper why provides a source of intrinsic, or internal, motivation. Using the podcast as an example, my deeper why is to help and positively impact as many people as possible. This is in my career and in life. I love the feeling of knowing that I played a crucial role in someone bettering their own life. I truly love what I do on a daily basis; this why is my internal motivation. On the other hand, if my goal were to make as much money as possible, this likely would not be my chosen career field, if we’re being honest. *insert shrug emoji here*)
How do you find your why?
Defining your why is a process of self-reflection and introspection. Some may find it easiest to write thoughts down, as if you’re journaling. Some find it easiest to process thoughts through a mental process such as meditation.
Personally, I love the process of “The Five Why’s”. First, start with your end goal in mind. Let’s go back to our example of someone who wants to lose 10 pounds. Once we have an end goal, begin asking “Why?”
Why do you want to lose weight? So, I can fit in a smaller size jeans
Why do you want to fit in a smaller size jeans? Because when I’m wearing smaller jeans, I think I’ll look better
Why do you want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.
Why do you want to feel more assertive and confident? Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.
In only five questions, we’ve gained a lot of insight regarding a deeper reason as opposed to looking better in a smaller pair of jeans. I encourage each of you to choose a goal, whether it’s fitness or nutrition related, and go through “The Five Why’s” with yourself. Be honest. When you uncover the deeper why, you’ll find the most powerful motivator for getting out of bed at the early alarm or doing whatever it takes to reach your goals.
Do you need help finding your why? For a limited time, as I’m testing out some new programs, I’m offering online coaching for free! Apply here, if you’re interested in working with me toward your health and fitness goals.