Find Your “Why”!
Whatever you do, do not skip this part of your health journey. Too often we jump into the latest and greatest fitness or nutrition craze and the most important aspect of living a healthful lifestyle is completelyneglected. As a result, negative consequences such as apathy, laziness – or even worse, giving up all together, occur. Without a purpose for doing something; without a raison d’être, so to speak, our motivation for doing something new (and beneficial) is often lost in our daily tasks that my be less important, if important at all. I’m guilty of it. We are all guilty of it, to some degree.
But if it is so important, then why do so many people forget this step before diving into a new nutrition or fitness plan? Well, if the answer was that simple, then I believe we would see many more fit, healthy individuals in this country. On the contrary, more than two-thirds of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese! And now, type 2 diabetes is showing up at astronomical rates in children! These types of health concerns were unheard of 50 years ago. In a day and age when convenience is king and we are continually bombarded by advertisements for foods laden in highly processed forms of fat, sugar and unrecognizable ingredients, it is no wonder we struggle so much as a nation to control our waistlines. And don’t think for a moment that the food industry and the FDA, the organizations we look to for guidance on what is safe to eat, are more interested in the rising rate of heart disease and diabetes, than in making a profit.
So why do you need to know your why before you start this or any new beneficial lifestyle change? Because motivation is key. Motivation is the key to creating and maintaining any successful and beneficial changes in your lifestyle. Think about a professional football team. Do you think that the players would train hours a day, months on end, and play their hardest at every game, if they played for free? Or, what if there were no playoffs and no Super Bowl? Would they play differently? What if their individual statistics were never tracked or kept on record? Would they work harder? Or would they want to give up after their first major injury? You see for a football player motivation may be the money; the fame; the love of their team; the encouragement of their coach; the desire to go to the Super Bowl, etc. Motivation comes in many different forms; but, without motivation, there is no real reason to keep working toward a goal. For another example, how about a model? What motivates the model to stay in shape? Most likely he or she would lose their job if they gained weight or inches in the wrong places. Keeping their job may be motivation to eat right and to work out. Knowing that they may have to have their picture taken in scantily clad clothing on a moments notice, may be enough motivation to not overeat or drink at an event.
But, chances are you are not reading this because you are a professional football player or supermodel. Chances are, you are trying to find and identify what will motivate you to keep up the healthy lifestyle changes that you are adopting and creating for yourself. So where do you start? Start by grabbing a piece of paper or your journal and brainstorm all of the possible reasons you may have for wanting to be healthier, fitter and in better shape. I recommend shying away from temporary motivators such as: “I want to look good at my sister’s wedding.” or “ I want to look good for my trip to Mexico.” While there is nothing wrong with these goals, the motivation is not enough to keep you going after the wedding or after you return from your trip to Mexico.
Find motivators that are long lasting and relevant to you. For example, do you have energetic children that you want to be able to keep up with and play outside with, but currently you are too tired or too out of shape to do so? Do you have high cholesterol or blood pressure and you want to avoid all of the complications of heart disease or an early death? Do you want to have clearer thought processes because you are often unfocused and distracted? Do you want to sleep better because you often wake feeling tired and unrested? Do you want to try new sports but feel too out of shape? Do you want to be able to wear the size that will make you beam with pride when you put on those special pants? Do you want to reverse a disease process that has limited your optimism? Do you want more flexibility and functional strength for daily tasks for as long as you are on this earth? Do you want to be able to travel, hike, bike and enjoy new places without feeling out of breath? Do you want to feel more confident in a bathing suit or naked?
Only you know what will motivate you as your why so that when you get frustrated or you feel like getting off track, you have something to come back to; a focus point. So, before starting a new nutrition or fitness program, write these things down, now! Keep them somewhere in your home where you can review them regularly – on your nightstand, the refrigerator, in a page of your journal, in your phone, etc. But, please, do NOT jump into any new health habit without first knowing why it is important to you.
Supercharge your health. Satisfy your soul. Simplify your lifestyle.
All of the best to you,
Let me know what motivational “whys” you came up with. I’d love to hear from you!