Have you ever felt like you were kind of aimlessly wandering through life, just going through the motions to get through each day?  We’ve probably all been there at one time or another.

Or maybe you set goals for yourself but find yourself struggling to achieve them and can’t figure out why.

Often, the reason for either of these scenarios relates to the question “Why?”.  Without defining your why – your reasons, your motivation, your true deep-seated reasons – even the most specific, laser-focused goals may not happen.

I see this often in working with people on their fitness and nutrition.  They want to lose weight and get in shape but usually their reasons are pretty generic.  I work with these people to define their “why” that will help them reach their goals.  While it’s easy to say your motivation to lose weight is to be healthy, that’s a pretty surface-level reason.  And you probably already know HOW to lose weight – that’s creating a calorie deficit through food and exercise.  Your WHY is what will motivate you and push you toward achieving your goal.  Reaching deep inside and discovering your why can be challenging and sometimes even painful, but that’s what lights the fire to relentlessly pursue your dreams and goals.

Since weight loss is the number one goal for so many people, especially when the new year rolls around, let’s use that as an example.  If your goal isn’t to lose weight, you can still apply these questions to your specific goal.

Let’s look at some questions to discover your why and to set you up for success:

  •  Why do you want to lose weight?  Is it for your family, to feel better, to fit into that pair of jeans?  Your reason should be personally meaningful to you – otherwise it won’t be enough to get you motivated and keep you focused.
  • Now dig a little deeper into that why.  Go beyond the surface level answer.  If your why is for your family, ask yourself why that is so important.  Is it because you want to be healthier and more active to be able to play with your children?  Do you want to establish healthy eating habits for your children?
  • Next, look at why you are in the place you are currently.  Why did you gain this amount of weight?  Why have you had trouble losing it?  Why have you failed in the past?  This may be a bit tougher but can help you overcome the obstacles that have held you back in the past.  For some people that may mean counseling to get to the deeper issues and for some it may be trying a different approach.  Failure can teach us so much but we have to look closely and change something to keep from repeating the same actions.

After you have thoroughly examined your why (and, of course, written it down), then you are ready to move on to the how and make a plan.  Make sure that your plan directly addresses your why and keeps you moving toward your ultimate goal.  Enlist the support of those close to you to keep you accountable and motivated.  A friend with similar goals, a personal trainer or even an online coach can help keep you on track and focused on your why.

What is your biggest struggle with weight loss?  Do you have any tips that have helped you reach your goals?

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