I was watching the morning news recently and they featured a man who had lost more than 100 pounds. When asked what helped him lose that much weight, he said the two things that helped most were getting rid of the diet mentality and finding his ‘why.’
We’ve talked about getting off the diet rollercoaster, and we’ve talked a little about connecting our healthy behaviors to our ‘why’ for doing them, but have you ever truly looked at your ‘why’? Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just improve your health, finding your ‘why’ can help you get started and keep going.
What do I mean by your ‘why’? I’m talking about the real reason you want to make whatever change you’re contemplating. It may be as simple as wanting to look better, but more often than not, we have deeper reasons for wanting to change.
Why Is It Important to Ask Why?
Knowing our real reasons for wanting to change – connecting them to what’s important to us – can be a game changer.
Think about it for a minute. How often have you just jumped into a new diet, workout program, etc. without really thinking about it? What happened when life got busy, you didn’t enjoy it, or it just felt too hard to be consistent with it? If you’re like most people, that diet or workout just ended up going by the wayside.
Making lasting changes is tough. It requires hard work, perseverance, and sometimes, even sweat and tears. If we don’t have a good reason for making the change, it’s easy to just give up.
Our ‘why’ has to be powerful enough to keep us moving toward our goals even when we don’t feel like it.
How Do I Find My ‘Why’?
When we think about finding our why, it can be helpful to think about the things that are most important to us. What are our core values? Who are the people in our lives that matter to us? What drives us? There’s a Bible verse, Matthew 6:21, that says:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
What we treasure is what holds our hearts. If you can connect your ‘why’ to that treasure, it can not only motivate you to get started; it can be a major incentive to continue long after motivation has waned.
A really simple way to find that deeper why is to start asking yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” and then continue to ask why, each answer building on the previous one, until you get to the answer that reflects your core values, priorities, and motivators.
For example, suppose you want to lose weight, like the gentleman we talked about above. The first question might be something like,
“Why do I want to lose weight?” Answer: “Because I want to be healthier. I know losing weight can help me with my heart health numbers.”
“But why do I want to be healthier?” Answer: “I want to live longer, feel better, and look better.”
“Why are those things important to me?” Answer: “I want to be here for my children, my grandchildren, and my parents.”
“Why is it important for me to be here for them?” Answer: “Because I want to be able to help them…..”
Of course, I used a simplified example here, but you get the idea…. Depending on what you want to change, it might take a few more questions to get to the real reason you want to make the change, but it’s worth going through this little exercise to see what’s really driving you. It can make all the difference in whether you stick with your changes or let them fall by the wayside.
Using Your ‘Why’ to Help You Keep Going
Now that you know your ‘why,’ how do you use it to keep you going? The most important thing we can do is to keep that ‘why’ front of mind.
What helps you most with that? Is it putting it on a notecard and taping it to your mirror? Verbally reminding yourself each week or each day? Maybe it’s reviewing your goal worksheet once a week/month to remind yourself why you’re really making these changes.
If you find the ‘why’ you’ve come up with just isn’t powerful enough to help you stick with your healthy behaviors, it may be time to reassess and make sure you’re really getting to the bottom of why you want to make the changes.
Do you know your ‘why’ for wanting to make wellness changes or keep up with your healthy behaviors? Have you found it helpful for sticking with them? Please share!