Making Changes Won’t Work Unless You Do This
If you have ever spent a decent amount of time with a small child, you might have noticed that they ask “Why” about all kinds of scenarios- most of which usually leave you stumped. “Why do trees have leaves?” “Why is the sky blue?” “Why can’t I eat my food out of the dog’s bowl?”
Even if you have managed to answer the first inquiry, they usually really leave you stuck on the follow up… “But why?” And the questions become endless.
As adults, our experience and cynicism begins to kick in, and we ask less “why” questions, and just accept the gut wrenchingly lame answer, “because, that’s the way it is.” I’m going to talk about the importance of asking “why” as an adult, specifically when it comes to improving your health. If you are wanting to start on the path to a healthier life, or you have trouble sticking to your guns when it comes to better choices, I am going to show you the most important step to take before you begin- figuring out your “Why”. Or as I also like to call it, your “Major Motivator”. Keep reading to learn how to choose your Major Motivator and why it is the most crucial part of your wellness expedition.
The reason behind ditching bad habits and attempting to adopt new ones is probably different for everyone, but the most critical component is that whatever the reason is, it has to light a fire under your own ass. If you have high blood pressure, and you try to lower it because your doctor said you should, that attempt will probably be short lived. You must delve deeper and ask “why is it important to me?” In this case, you want to think selfishly! If you have high blood pressure, you are aware that your chances of suffering a stroke increase dramatically. Your thought process to figure out your Major Motivator could go something like this: “If I have a stroke, I could lose most of my motor function and ability to care for myself. I could be in diapers, pooping my pants, my wife could get sick of taking care of me, dump me off in a nursing home, and run away with George Clooney.” Cue detailed visions of your wife sucking face with George on his diamond studded yacht off the coast of Italy.
While the last part might be highly unlikely, the real possibility of ending up paralyzed and incapable of self-care (pooping your pants!) might scare you enough to actually try hard to get that blood pressure under control.
If you have the desire to lose weight, you might not stick with it if you do it for the generic reason- “to feel better about myself”. However, if you take that statement further by asking “why?”, you might figure out you want to lose weight because you yearn for the ability to run around the playground with your kids without getting winded or your thighs chafing together, plus you want to feel desirable to your husband like you did when you were first dating. This Major Motivator has enough substance to get you through killer chocolate cake cravings.
The essential component in both of these examples is that you want to use your imagination to such an extent that you are experiencing the emotions of your Major Motivator- whether it is the fear of paralysis from a stroke or the sheer joy from playing tag with your children. Imagine what it would be like if your wife really left with George Clooney (womp, womp) or how awesome it would feel if you were in a new, exciting relationship with your husband (bring on the back seat make out sessions!) Hold onto these emotions for dear life.
Now that you know how to ask “why?” to pinpoint your Major Motivator, here is the reasoning behind having a major motivator in the first place.
The first reason is pretty obvious- your Major Motivator is there to keep you motivated. Duh. There will be many challenges along the way if you are changing major life habits. We humans sometimes slack a bit when we are left to our own devices and have to self regulate actions we feel are “non-mandatory”. Remember that one time you vowed to have a six pack by summer but then you realized Doritos tasted really good and the newest season of The Bachelor was on? I bet your tune would have changed if you knew that that summer you were going to see your ex with their hot new significant other. It adds a little more fuel to the motivation fire. Or have you ever had a wedding or reunion coming up where you were going to see a bunch of people from your past and you wanted to look really good? The Major Motivator is there to be your beacon of light in the storm. It’s kind of like a sheep dog biting at your heels and keeping you on track.
The second reason is that the Major Motivator transforms your journey from something you might have been reluctantly forcing yourself to do, and puts a positive spin on it. You are doing it to reach an important goal that will transform your body and spirit, instead of another chore on a long, unpleasurable list of things to do. This mindset will help you view your health as a priority. It will help you schedule it into your calendar as a non-negotiable action, kind of like brushing your teeth and taking a shower.
Remember, the essential components of figuring out your health Major Motivator is to take a clue from the kiddos and keep asking “why”? Go deeper than the first answer that might pop into your head. Be sure that it is an answer that holds special meaning and encouragement for yourself, because in the end, you are ultimately making the change for you. When you do discover your Major Motivator, attach strong emotions to it, so you can reference those emotions when you’re ready to throw in the towel and smash a box of donuts in your face. Use your imagination to place yourself at the end goal feeling like a success. Your Major Motivator is necessary as a tough love, yet encouraging guide who keeps your priorities in check and your spirits lifted.
And lastly, keep an eye on that George Clooney guy.