Do You Need Motivation? Then Find Your Why!

Why?
A powerful question. If you want to achieve something, knowing “how” is important, knowing “what” is important, but knowing “why” is the make-or-break question.
If you currently are working, why are you working? The most likely answer is that someone pays you to do some form of work. If suddenly, the manager of your workplace informed you that beginning tomorrow, no one would get compensated in an way. Everyone would become a volunteer worker. Would you keep working at your current job?
Are you a marathoner? Why? What drives you to run 26.2 miles? Is it because you find enjoyment and fulfill a sense of purpose when you run? Why do you feel fulfilled when you run?
Why do you drive the car you drive? If it is a new car, why are you driving a new car? A ten year old car will get you where you need to go. You drive your specific car because it fills a need, whether it is social need or has capabilities that other cars lack.
If you own a home, why? There are certainly apartments that you could rent or condos to own, but you own a home because it offers something that other buildings don’t
If you are losing weight–or want to lose weight–why?
When you know WHY you need to do something, you will also have your motivation. Webster says that “motive” is “an emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action.” A motive incites action. It isn’t something that you are assigned. It isn’t a societal standard. It isn’t a wish, or hope, or dream, or prayer. All those are passive. A motive must lead to an action, otherwise is a merely a thought.
I read often on LoseIt, “I need to lose X pounds. Please motivate me!” We can’t motivate you. We can inspire you with our personal success. We can suggest courses of action. We can provide encouragement when journey gets rough (and it will get rough.) But we can’t tell you WHY you want/need to lose. If you don’t know why, you have just placed a large obstacle in your path.
Do you need to lose weight for health reasons, like me? Then your motivation is to regain your health. Do you want to lose weight so you can fit into your favorite outfit? Then that dress/suit/whatever is your motivator. Do you want to go on a flight and not need to ask for a seat belt extender again? (That happened to me in 2005. It was bad, but not enough for me to take action.)
Everyone has a WHY. You need to look inside and honestly ask the question “Why am I doing this?” When you have your answer, you have your motivation. 
However, the next question is “Is my reason important enough to make permanent changes?” That special outfit might not be enough of a reason to take action. That too-short seatbelt was an embarrassment, but it didn’t make me change my actions. After all, you can buy a larger suit. You can ask for a seatbelt extender. (I didn’t…but I could have.)
But you can’t take back that stroke. Or heart attack. Or the loss of a toe to diabetes.  You can’t ask for a do-over after the fact because you were too big to play football with your children, or too embarrassed to go on the beach with your family while on a once in a lifetime vacation.

When you know your WHY and when you know your why is so important that nothing else can stand in your way of success, you will achieve success. Until then, you are just dreaming.
I told you my “WHY”. What is your “Why?” Tell us below.
Posted in Motivation
10 comments on “Do You Need Motivation? Then Find Your Why!
  1. Lynne says:

    Losing touch with one’s motiviation for losing weight is one of the principal reasons we give in to self-sabotage. At least it is for me, and I have done it more times than I care to admit.

    Funny you should focus on defining your “Why?” I am currently working with a cognitive approach to weight loss. One of the tasks assigned is to list the reasons you want to lose weight. Not just once, but every day, and to review them frequently.

    I find that over time my reasons have changed.moving from what goal weight I want to achieve (for the usual health, looks, self-esteem issues) to more how I want to feel and experience life.

    • Excellent comment, Lynne! You are right. Our reasons will–and shoud–change as we change. If you stop thinking about why you are doing something, it is easier to get distracted. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Chuck says:

    My WHY was to get off all of my medications, I have done that now, so my WHY has become to stay off all my medications. At this time in am almost feeling sorry for myself, I am off my medications and I have won in a way but my body has also won. You see I am back to my weight that I was for most of my adult life, which is about 10 – 20 pounds heavier than what I have told myself I want to be at. But I have to rethink and relearn what is best for me. I have very healthy and this weight, blood pressure is great, all lab work is great, and I feel better now than I did 10 pounds lighter.

    • Chuck, thanks for the response. You–like all of us–are on a lifelong and ever changing journey. It’s exciting. It’s frustrating. Be we can help each other.

  3. Scott Wilson says:

    Losing weight, why? That’s not too hard. I reached the end of my apathy. I could not longer be satisfied with my lack of fitness. I could not longer ignore a growing gut. I could not longer justfy buying larger clothes. I simply could no longer tolerate the body that I was creating. So I said, “Enough!” and finally took responsibility for my health and started doing something about it. That’s my watershed moment. I am never going back to size 40 pants and panting up one flight of stairs. Now my why is more positively focused towards reaching a level of fitness and a clothes size that will allow me to do what I want and live he way that I want. It may take longer than I hope fore but I will make it there, There is no turning back!

  4. Linda L says:

    I had plenty of what should have been “whys” when I weighed more, but none of them really hit me deeply enough, even though they involved health issues and longevity. Finally, after too many breathless walks on short distances, I said ENOUGH, and found my “why”. It was as simple as wanting to be able to move freely, not getting out of breath within seconds. The effect of having lost weight now addressed all those other “whys”, even though they were not the motivating force.

  5. This post is so good. Parts even gave me chills, just thinking about why.

    Why?

    I am doing this so that I can be present in my life. For so long, I just existed. It didn’t matter what I did, what I ate. I want to care. I want to live and live fully. I don’t want anything to hold me back from running a marathon, climbing a mountain or even living long enough to see my grandchildren graduate from university.

    Why? To be present. To be alive.

    Thank you for reminding me why, Trev.

    • Christine, thanks for your comment! I am very glad that my words spoke to you deeply.

      Sometimes the most important thing we can do is to stop, and ask “Why?”

      The next most important question is “Why not?”

      Thanks for reading. I will strive to live up to your expectations!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, my “WHY”. Well where do I start? When I was young I knew I was a chubby kid. I got hit by a car when I was 6 years old and ever since that time of being in traction for 8 weeks I have never gotten ahead. My twin has always been smaller than me. That was one thing. As I grew up I played baseball and football in high school. Still never shook off the gut. Got married at 20 & adopted my wife’s little girl. Slowly started adding weight as the years went by. 6 years past my boy is born. I was so afraid to go very many places because he was small and I wanted to keep him and my girl safe. More weight creeped on. I always coached my kids in sports because I wanted to be there always. I started noticing with the weight a bad nervous feeling I was getting while around a lot of people. Found out I had an anxiety disorder. Meds did help but man I ballooned. My next wake up was high blood pressure. DANG, what next? More meds. My last straw was last year. Type 2 diabetes. I had hit my highest weight “343 pounds” I knew I had to change. I was only 36! Since the scares I did join WW and am down to 289 pounds. That’s great yes, I am off my meds except for the anxiety disorder meds. I’m stuck there. Hey I can function. I’ve hit a major plateau now. Stranded at my new weight. That’s when I started reading Trevor’s posts. I need to be bluntly honest with myself about what I’m putting in my body. All this hard work and exercise won’t get me anywhere if my diet ain’t right. Trevor thank you for the wake up call in one of your posts. Your words will help me smash this over do plateau. Tab

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