I’ve written extensively (excessively, even?) on the benefits of finding your why to help you to stay motivated (or is it discipline?) and follow through with the activities that you’ve set out to do.
“not everyone has a strong why that propels them forward at hard times when life throws deceptive roundhouse kicks to the pancreas.”
And with my line of work those activities are most often related to showing up and doing your training or sticking to the healthier eating and lifestyle habits.
However, while I still believe that knowing your why is essential in making things stick, there are couple of other questions that are worth asking. Especially if your why doesn’t get you all jazzed up about training, life and stuff.
Besides, let’s face it, not everyone has a strong why that propels them forward at hard times when life throws deceptive roundhouse kicks to the pancreas.
So, instead of just asking why, explore these three for better clarity.
This question can answer your why too. What is the driver behind this change? What are you looking to get out of it? What’s the end goal and how is this going to make your life better once you are successfully practicing this habit?
This will make the change or the new habit concrete. When will you start it? When will you be doing it? On what days is this habit done? Everyday? Only on holy holidays? Are you striving to achieve a given goal in a certain timeframe?
This question will give you clarity as to what is expected with the change or the new habit.
This could be the most powerful out of these three questions. Are you trying to change or add a new healthy habit because of what it will do to your health and wellbeing? Because of how it will improve your life. Or are you doing it because of someone else?
There’s no right or wrong here. But know where you stand.
Powerful reasons for doing it for someone else could be to stay (or become) more active with the kids or being a better role model for them for the future. It could be to become healthier to inspire the change in your morbidly obese parents. All of those are valid reasons, and there’s plenty more.
“the anger will fade. And with the anger so will the motivation. You are not playing the long game.”
But are you doing it for someone else because you hope that it will change the way they treat you or look at you? Or to look better because of what you think others think of you? In these cases the initial inspiration might be strong as you rely on anger to push through. That good ol’ “I’ll show them mofos which nut to squeeze!”
For the first few weeks you have the anger to push through, exercise excessively and go on a strict diet (not that any of this is good). But once the results are not what you thought they would be, which is often the case, the anger will fade. And with the anger so will the motivation. You are not playing the long game.
To change something in order to please other people is tough. I have no science on this, it’s just an opinion based on what I’ve seen. Deal with it.
Instead of just choosing a habit because it’s what you think is right, ask yourself the above three questions and reassess. Where do you stand?
Maybe the answers you’ve given are not strong and powerful enough to drive your change. And that cool. Now you know. So you can move on to the next option to see whether that will bring more clarity.
Keep on exploring.
Thanks to Omar Ganai from Habitry for pointing these out in a recent forum discussion.