If you discover your personal why, even when things get tough, motivation will not be an issue. In fact when you know your why - it will drive you harder and further especially when times get tough. But what does this mean?
As a personal trainer I have met many people that have been introduced to me as someone that wanted to get back into their fitness routine and lose 10 or so pounds. But then after we sit down and have a conversation, 10lbs isn't the topic of our conversation. They may tell me they want to feel better. Specifically move without pain. So they can feel more independent. Often they bring up something like, the ability to play with their kids (or) grand-kids without feeling limited. That's a much cooler goal than any scale reconciliation.
Back to the beginning. Why the communication gap between what I was initially told vs. what they ultimately told me? Sometimes I think a standard line like, "I want to get back into my fitness routine and lose 10 or so pounds" is the gym/fitness version of, "No, I'm just looking." Or it could be a goal someone else gave you. I have been told, and even witnessed family, friends, spouse, or even kids telling someone what their fitness goals ought to be. We'll assume that the intent is well and meaningful; the delivery can feel rather rough. What's really awkward is when someone says, "Hey Rob, this is Ms Such N. Such, she wanted to talk with you about setting up a program to loose 10-15lbs." And before I can response Ms Such N. Such interrupts with, "Actually I wanted help getting ready for my powerlifting meet." AWKWARD! That has actually happened, more than a few times.
Let us address these in reverse order from how they played out above.
Mistakenly assigning goals to others.
We are human, we are going to make mistakes. Hopefully the person that misspoke learns not to blurt out their knee jerk judgement in the future.
Other people assigning goals for/to you.
I am going to assume that this is handled tactfully and comes from a good supportive place. But in my experience no matter how accurate this advice can be - it usually lacks the buy-in of the recipient. If you don't have buy-in, you don't have any forward progress. If you think I should loose weight. But my awareness is lacking (or) if I am aware but not committed to action - nothing is going to change. I am a big student of habit development and behavior change. In my opinion, readiness to change is critical. If someone is in the Pre-contemplation Stage and you are preaching tips on what to do or how to do (whatever goal you have assigned to them) you are going to be spinning your wheel. You would be more helpful inspiring their thought process of why the thing is important. The "Table A: Steps of Behavior Change" is a valuable resource, I encourage you to use it (The graphic is at the end, in a larger readable font).
I have a simply stated goal, that I came up with.
Why is your goal important to you?
I have read that it takes 5 Why's to get to the root. It could look like this:
Ok you want to lose 20lbs, but why?
Because I gained 20lbs over the last 10 years.
Why is it important for you to lose this 20lbs you gained over 10 years?
The doctor said the extra weight can be a health risk especially for diseases.
Good point, but why is that important to you?
I want to be healthier, & I have noticed a don't feel/move as well as I use to.
Why is that important?
I want to be able to run around outside with my kids, without my knee or back hurting.
Great, anything else?
I want to set a good healthy example for my kids, and live long enough to watch them grow up.
Bingo. That's the root "Why". If you run at an arbitrary number it is easy to be lackadaisical and maybe not have your head all the way into the commitment of your program. With any good goal derailments along the way will happen. But if you think about your root why when you have a hard time time, it will be much easier to get back on track.
Why does any of this matter? Because if you don't know your why, your "goal" will not come to fruition. Think about whatever your superficial goal is. I say superficial not to devalue it, but more of it is the surface goal - dig deeper - *imagine you achieve this, what is the significance?* And why is that important to you (if you need to ask yourself, "Why?" 4 more times)? Take that answer and use that for your motivation.
Enjoy the process!
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