To me, Find Your Why is one of the most interesting concepts when it comes to… well, anything. Let me explain the vague ‘anything’. It goes beyond just fitness and nutrition but can apply to all aspects of life. Your “Why” is what’s inside of you that only you and yourself truly understand is the driving factor behind anything you set your mind on doing. It is the reason you do something, the reason you want to go above and beyond to achieve your goals. The reason you stay dedicated to whatever you are currently dedicated to.
This could include many things completely varying from individual to individual. Someone’s “why” for punching the clock 9 to 5 at a job that they cannot stand may be the thought of supporting their children or spouse. Someone’s “why” for the hours upon hours of research and practice might be the thought of one day becoming the top professional in their industry. Someone’s “why” for being a teacher might be the impact they can have on children. Someone’s why can even include religious or cultural beliefs. Whatever the case, identifying your why is a crucial step in achieving success. To make an analogy, if you can clearly identify your destination, you can begin to formulate the map which leads there.
What many people do not realize however is that your why is powerful! The mind is hands-down the most powerful muscle in the human body. I’m sure there will be many blog posts to come on some of the other capabilities your mind and mental state can have on your physical state but for right now, let’s elaborate on this concept.
In relating this to fitness and nutrition, most of the general population cannot achieve their goals because 1) their why isn’t clearly defined 2) Their why isn’t actually their why 3) Their why is for the completely wrong reason(s) and may not be sustainable. What incredible natural phenomenon happens every single year on January 1st at gyms all over the world? Millions of people show up with a New Year’s Resolution of health and fitness only to revert back to their old ways within weeks, days, and sometimes even hours. Is this comment a jab at those people who flood the gym, notoriously getting in the way of people who have been consistent for years? Partially… …sorry. But more-or-less, these people are the types of people that haven’t dug deep down to find their why. When you are doing something for a higher purpose or calling other than just yourself, there are no excuses. There isn’t the “I’ll start working out Monday”. If you are nodding your head along with the last few sentences, finding your why or your purpose is step-one on your new journey to a more successful you.
Some tips to help developing this include strategically placing your “why” in places where you are going to see it every single day. This might be a post-it note on your bathroom mirror or your phone’s wallpaper. Have something that constantly reminds you why you are doing what you’re doing. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness explain this in their book titled Peak Performance1(which I highly recommend): “Even if you only glance at your purpose [your why] for a split second, perhaps not even fully processing it, simply having it within your visual field can help. Studies show that non-conscious cues (i.e., those that we don’t fully process) can alter the perception of effort, making something that is objectively hard feel easier”. In other words, being reminded of your why on a daily basis can begin to eliminate your self-proclaimed negative qualities of laziness or procrastination which have been getting in the way of your goals for as long as you can remember.
MY PERSONAL WHY
Speaking personally about my “Why” in relation to training and nutrition, I mentioned in an earlier article that “I like to think the underlying root of it [my training discipline] is that I needed something physical to channel my energy and work-ethic into once my [baseball] playing career ended, but who knows.” When taking a deeper look inside, another reason for “my why” is that growing up and throughout high school and parts of college, I was always more of a chubbier kid (Doesn’t help when you grow up half-Italian… sorry Mom). I always wanted a better body and looking back now, I still use that as a driving factor when showing up to the gym at 5am every day or spending my Sundays meal-prepping and calculating macros for the week (and not making Sunday dinner… sorry again Mom… Ok I’m done). From some deeper self-searching, this isn’t because I wanted to impress others but more-so because I want to impress myself! I would want that younger version of me to be happy with not only the physical shape that his future self is in, but also his overall health and wellness.
Always remember, you are in control of your life and your situation. Those who can acknowledge that are the ones who can keep going when things get ugly. Taking responsibility and holding yourself accountable for your actions combined with the power of identifying and utilizing “your why” will lead to a lifetime of STRENGTH and continued success both inside and outside the gym.
1. Stuhlberg, B., & Magness, S. (2017). Peak Performance. New York, NY: Rodale.
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