As a coach, I talk a lot about our reasons why.That’s because I believe there are multiple ways that knowing those reasons can serve us.
Whether it’s about my client’s stories or my own, I will ask that question ad nauseam because the answers consistently lead to eye opening moments.
I believe this simple question is one of the most significant things we can ask ourselves.
A powerful motivator.
I regard Drive as one of the most essential books on motivation. Daniel Pink discusses how it’s not enough to just know we should do something.
‘Because I said so’, ‘because it’s good for you’ and ‘because I have to’ don’t get the job done anymore.
We need way more to stay motivated.
We need to know why we should do it in order to fully be on board.
Even though we all know it’s good for us to stay healthy and get to our natural weight, we need more information to stay consistently motivated.
Why is what we want to do so important?
How does it fit into the bigger picture?
Having a deeper knowledge of how everything works together makes us continuously reinvest in what we’re doing.
It also gives us a good defense against arguments of why we don’t need to keep going (of which our minds give us plenty).
In another important book on motivation, Start With Why, Simon Sinek looks at the tenacity behind hugely successful companies. He identifies their most dynamic force as internal motivation.
Our internal motivator is the deeply personal reason why we do something.
Having a strong belief in why something means so much has literally launched ships.
Knowing why you want to do something is as vital as knowing how you do it.
When we’re on the weight loss path, it is much like running a business. We assess, tweak, question, and measure various statistics. We then re-assess and go forward with a slightly new plan.
Having a meaningful reason why we do this keeps us motivated beyond just basic measurements of losing weight or dropping sizes (and also in spite of basic measurements when they’re different than expected).
Knowing your individual reason why you are doing something is like having a personal mission statement for the task ahead.
One that keeps our fires burning, even during a storm.
How things work.
For me, the ability to understand how things work is the most valuable reason to ask ourselves ‘Why’ on a regular basis. Especially when it comes to weight loss.
We don’t just need to know the “right” actions to take. We need to know why we take them (and why we don’t).
Pretend you’re in a motorboat crossing to the other side of a lake.
If all you know is that you turn the key and the motor starts, that’s just fine.
Until the motor stops working.
If your motor is out of order, you can’t fix it because you don’t know why it stopped.
Your only options are to:
1. Keep turning the key hoping it will start up again.
2. Hang out in the middle of the lake and wait for someone to rescue you.
3. Paddle (and hope you don’t get tired and quit before you make it).
However, if you learn how that motor works, it doesn’t matter if it goes out on you. You know why it stopped working, you can fix it on the spot and keep going.
No waiting for someone to rescue you.
Minimal time lost.
When you understand why the motor stopped, you can save yourself as many times as you need in order to get to the other side of that lake.
When we understand why we overate at one meal, and why we didn’t overeat at another, we start to understand how our individual motor works.
When we know how it works, we see that the problem may be worries about others, fear or suppression of emotions, feeling lonely, rejected, ostracized, manipulated etc. There are a number of reasons we overeat.
‘Why?’ is the question that helps us understand them.
When you start to understand how you work, you find that you’re never left in the middle of the lake.
You have a toolbox in that boat with you, and you can immediately start to fix that motor.
And you never have to wait to be rescued again.
For me, ‘Why’ is the golden question. Try it out for yourself and see how it works for you.
The next time you feel like you overate at a meal or chose not to workout, ask yourself why that happened. Then listen to the answer. If you get into the habit of asking, the real answers start to emerge (I’ll give you a head start – ‘because it tastes good’ isn’t the real answer).
Try it for the next week. Get in the habit of truly wondering why you do what you do.
You will see your personal instructions for weight loss emerge.
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