fitness coach demonstrating

What is your WHY?

If you have done any amount of searching for the right program or diet for you, I am sure you have been asked this question: “Why do you want to do this program?”. If you haven’t been asked that question before starting a program, that should be a red flag. When starting something that will require commitment and change, we should always ask ourselves, “what is my reason?”

Usually, when I ask the question, what is your “why”, the most common answers I hear are: “I just want to feel better”, “I want to have a six-pack”, “I want to be toned” – you get the idea. These are not bad answers, they are not wrong – there is no right or wrong answer, really. But the problem is, these kinds of answers aren’t personal enough. When things become difficult or challenging (which they will because that is reality), these kinds of reasons won’t keep you focused, and they won’t cause you to pause before you fall back into old habits.

When a client knows their “why”, it is easier to predict the direction their journey will take. When a client answers “what is your why” with passion, or even pain, or sometimes excitement, I can tell they are ready to do the work. Though they may have roadblocks and challenges, they will fight through them, because their WHY is bigger than their excuse.

For example, here are some pretty strong reasons that evoke a lot of emotion and determination.

  • “I never want to buy another pair of pants from the plus size ever again.”
  • “I don’t want to be the only member in my family that can’t do things because I am too heavy, or too unfit.”
  • “I never want to be asked if I am pregnant again.”
  • “I don’t want to have to wait for my wife to come home so she can lift or move something for me because I can’t do it.”
  • “I want to run a 5km without walking, because my sister has asked me for years but I always back out because I never train enough and when the race comes close, I back out. I want to finish what I start.”

These are real feelings we all have had. Maybe yours are not the same as those listed, but we all have had something personal that we never want to experience again. Or, perhaps a feeling we want to feel again. Like the feeling of hiking a difficult hike, or completing a race you never thought you could complete. That feeling is your ‘why’.

These are real, deep emotional reasons that keep people pressing forward when things get tough. Getting to this point and admitting this out loud, perhaps is one of the most difficult aspects of transforming our health and body composition. When we avoid this process, we spin our wheels, we make a little progress, only to fall back into old habits.

Then we push forward, only to fall back again. Each time we fall back, it gets harder and harder to push forward again. However, when you know your ‘why’, you may fall back occasionally, but you don’t stay there long, and you don’t fall far. Your ‘why’ is your anchor – it keeps you from drifting too far.

What is Your ‘Why’?

I like to use the 5 “why” method. When you complete it and strip back the layers, you will discover what is at the root of your ‘why’.

For example:

Why do you want to start this program? “I want to lose weight.”

Why do you want this? “I want to lose weight because I will fit in my clothes better.”

Why do you want this? “I want to fit in my clothes better because I hate how the button feels on my stomach.”

Why do you want this? “I want to be able to put on my pants and feel confident and comfortable, and sit down without sucking my stomach in.”

Why do you want this? “If I can feel more confident in my own skin, I will begin to feel more confident in other aspects of my life.”

Once you break your ‘why’ down to the core reason you want to start a new journey, the more successful you will be at sticking with it. You will do the work required to get the result you really want.

Try the 5 ‘why’ technique and see what you come up with. Share it with someone you trust. Once you say it out loud, it gives power to your choice to move forward and go after what you really want.