When I started my wellness journey my “why” was simple. Stop gaining weight. I had moved to Las Vegas and within the first few months I gained four pounds. This is significant since I had lost about eight pounds over an eight month period while living in Chicago.
Losing the eight pounds just happened. I was not on a diet. I did not watch what I ate. The only thing I could attribute the eight pound loss to was my commute. I walked .6 miles each way to the el station every morning.
I knew that I had to get moving, so I joined a gym. During the signup process the sales person offered a special deal; five thirty-minute sessions with a personal trainer. I figured “why not?” At the very least it would help me get acquainted with the gym and the equipment. After the initial sessions with the trainer I committed to two one-hour sessions per week. I’ve been working out with a personal trainer since May of 2007.
One of the first questions a personal trainer asks is “what are your goals?” Hmm, I had no idea. I wanted to get moving, lose weight, and improve my health. In the same timeframe I had some blood work done and learned that my cholesterol levels were unhealthy and exercise was one way to improve my numbers.
Do you know why you want wellness?
Today’s tip is to figure out why and write all of your whys down.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Hence my second “why”; improve my cholesterol health.
With only two “whys” I was starting my journey with a weak foundation. My list of whys grew over time. I realized quickly upon starting my workout routine that I felt immensely better after my workouts; why #3 was to feel better and minimize stress. I had an extremely stressful job, don’t we all, and my other coping mechanisms were not healthy. Cocktails anyone?
I believe that our ability to stick to a commitment hinges on the motivation behind the action. Over time I ended up with a long list of whys. My whys are what kept me going when I hit a wall or was in a funk. I was 45 years old when I joined the gym. My whys have evolved over time. Turning 50 changes your perspective on things, and life.
It is vital that your whys for being on your wellness journey are more powerful than all of the excuses you can muster for why not. Everyone’s whys are different. My whys may not motivate you. That’s okay. Your whys are what matter.
What does a list of whys look like? Most people ease into it, starting with some superficial and obvious reasons for improving their wellness. I want more energy. I want to fit into my skinny jeans. I have a wedding or special event to attend and I want to look hot (or buff). Oh crap, I’m turning ?? – ouch! My doc told me to lose 20 pounds. These are all great reasons why, but they will not sustain you over the long haul.
Do you have an image in your mind of yourself at your wellness goal? If your goal is primarily tied to your weight, do you have a picture of yourself at that weight? I didn’t. If you don’t have a picture, don’t fret. Find a picture of a person who is at a size you want to emulate. NO models! A real and healthy person at a weight that you can achieve and sustain.
Now that you have an image of what you will look like at your wellness goal close your eyes, yes now, and imagine yourself at your goal. Take a mental note of where you are, what you are doing, and what you are wearing.
“Your health is a state of mind.” ~ Author Unknown
Are you a parent or grandparent? Will achieving your goal enable you to do more activities with your children or grandchildren? Put it on the list. Is there an activity that you have not been able to participate in due to your weight or health? Put it on the list. Are you single? Will achieving your goal give you the confidence to find a mate? Put it on the list. Where do you shop? Specialty stores that offer plus-sizes? How about adding something like this to your list; “I want to fit into regular sizes.” Has your doctor told you if you do not lose weight you will die? Put it on the list. Do you have an obesity or weight related illness that requires medication? How amazing would it be if your doctor told you that you can stop taking the medication? Put it on the list.
When you read your list of whys you want to feel emotion, a lump in your throat or a tear welling up in the corner of your eye. Yes men too! The emotional response you experience while reviewing your list will provide you with strength and determination. On days when your resolve is weak a solid list of whys can get you through to the other side. Your whys must be more powerful than the comfort you get when turning to habits that do not serve you and your goal.
Now get to work and add more whys to your list. Later… Kathi