Understanding Your "Why"

values why Nov 07, 2022

Why does “why” even matter?

Has wanting or simply setting a goal to lose weight and/or get healthy EVER been ENOUGH? Well, obviously no, because if that were all it took, we’d ALL be lean and healthy.

It’s not until we’re crystal clear on WHY certain behaviors or habits actually do matter to us that they become easier to do. And it’s not until then that you’re going to be able to be consistent with the actions that will help you make progress.

Doing Things Backwards

A lot of us have spent too much time doing things the wrong way.

Here’s the way it usually plays out: We invest our time searching for a diet and/or an exercise plan that we think will help us get to a place where we’re happy with our bodies.

We choose something, white-knuckle through it, using a way too simplistic “because I want to lose weight” reason for doing it, and find ourselves unable to maintain it. (Does this sound familiar?)

The reason this doesn’t work long-term is twofold: the reason for wanting to lose weight isn’t significant/personal/compelling enough AND the manner of doing it (dieting) isn’t at all something that one can maintain.

Alignment with your Values

The best types of “whys” reflect our current values and goals. They are personal and meaningful. They answer the question: What is important to ME?

When you are truly aligned with your why, the necessary actions to take become easier, especially if they are challenging in the moment.

It’s helpful to have a number of reasons at any given time (and it’s perfectly ok to have vanity reasons, like wanting to feel amazing in a two-piece)! Some reasons may be more compelling in certain situations. Wanting to model healthy eating behaviors for your kids may not be enough in the middle of a late-night snack attack.

Breakfast plate, eggs, bluebrries, and avocado

What is your why? Image: Pexels - Jenna Hamra

You need answers that are going to allow you to actually create a pause when you’re about to make a decision that isn’t ultimately supportive of your values and goals. They need to remind us to think before we act. To not say “screw it” in the moment. They don’t all need to be noble or deep.

Victor Frankel has a beautiful quote about the pause:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Many Reasons (YOUR Compelling WHYs)

Now, let’s explore your own reasons for wanting to transform your health. NO judgment! These should be personal, meaningful, and in alignment with your values. As you come up with your own reasons, keep these tips in mind:

Don’t censor yourself. Write what comes up for you.

Think about how you will feel when you achieve your goal. Those feelings are reasons.

Think about what might change about your life when you achieve your goal. Those are also reasons.

What gets you excited about weight loss/healthy eating?

What can help you stay on track when you feel like saying, “screw it”?

Keep asking “why” until you run out of answers. Then go back and review.

Some typical “why” answers for health, fitness, and/or wellness goals could be:

  • To not constantly focus on my weight
  • To not feel charged around food
  • To stop feeling so negatively about my body
  • To be at peace with my body and food
  • To finally feel like myself
  • To feel more confident in my bathing suit or wear that two-piece!
  • To have more energy
  • To be automatically more mindful of my food choices
  • To know what I should be eating for my body
  • To have fewer joint issues
  • To sleep better
  • To have less anxiety
  • So I don’t have to shop in the plus size section anymore
  • So I will feel like being intimate with my husband again
  • To be a good role model for my daughter
  • To just have a better all-around mood
  • To be able to do more activities with my family
  • So that my doctor can quit bugging me about losing weight
  • So that I can prove to myself and others that I can do it

Knowing why you’re taking action toward something helps you stay curious, and helps you know when it’s time to pivot, adjust, or know when things are no longer working. It can help you create the pause you need in order to make the choices you want to take and be the guide you need to achieve the goals you want.

I would recommend doing a bit of a brainstorming session with this, and remember to revisit your reasons from time to time, as they may change!

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