Saturday, May 19, 2012

Knowing your why

Most people fail at their attempts to lose weight or keep it off. Statistics vary by source, but something like 75-95% of people that attempt to lose weight either don't lose it or fail to maintain the loss. I've never seen approximations of how many people fail at their financial goals, but I would guess it to be quite high as well.


I think most of us don't really define our WHY. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to keep it off? Why do you want to get out of debt? Why do you want your family to eat healthier? Why do you want your family to be more active?

I know I've often given myself a mom's answer: "Because I said so." Or "Because I should."

I said so's and shoulds don't get you through the tough days. A should is not more powerful than a brownie. I said so does not generally get people out of bed to exercise.

A strong "why" does. When you know why, really know WHY, you really want to do something, it makes the how of getting there much more bearable.

Think of weight loss. Most of us can come up with some good "whys" for losing. But we really have to define and believe those whys. If you say you want to lose weight for your health, you really have to believe down in your gut that losing weight will have positive health benefits. If it's just a vague idea, you probably won't stay very motivated. If you've had a health scare, the why is looking you right in the face. If you know that excess weight can increase your risk for breast cancer and have a close family member that was just diagnosed with breast cancer, you'd have strong motivation to make changes in your won life.

So let's say you lose the weight (or pay off the debt or eliminate processed foods from your diet). You have to readdress the "why." I think that's an important step that's often neglected. I'm at that step in a few different areas of my life. And I need to ask myself, down in my gut, WHY I want to maintain my weight loss and WHY it is important for us to stay out of debt. I'm also wanting to improve the eating habits of our household...but I need to know WHY before I define a plan. If I don't have a good WHY, the extra time and effort of changing our eating habits won't feel worth it after about 2 days.

I'm thinking of making some more changes to our dinner table. I plan on giving myself a challenge in June, but first I need to define my why. Then define the challenge. Then share it with you to hold myself accountable.

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