Motivation. Oh, how we love it when we have it. You can probably reflect on some past event in your life where you were keenly set on your goal. Nothing would get in your way. Motivation was at your fingertips, and it greatly propelled you toward your goal. However, as we all know too well, motivation comes and goes. When you have it, nothing can stop you. It is a fantastic feeling. On the other hand, when you aren’t feeling motivated, you start looking for ways to motivate yourself. Let me guess that you have said this before: “I just need to find some motivation”.
Well, I want to share something with you today. You don’t necessarily have to be motivated to reach your goals. Let’s face it, motivation is great when you have it. But it isn’t always there. And that’s okay, don’t fall victim to thinking you need motivation in order to progress forward.
Here is my tip for you: Don’t look to motivation to push you along, instead, tap into “your big why”.
Why do you want to make a lifestyle change? Why do you wish to break a certain habit? Why do you wish to establish a new pattern in your life? Why do you want to lose “x” number of pounds? These are some of the questions to ask yourself.
Having a clear sense of not only “what” you want to change, but “why” you want to make this change will help you during the tough times – or those times when you just don’t feel motivated.
Having a sense of why you are changing will help you when you encounter obstacles, challenges, or resistance in your life. These obstacles and challenges can come from the outside (external), or even from within yourself (internal).
External obstacles or challenges can include:
- being at the grocery store and wanting to buy things you know you shouldn’t – chips, ice cream, you name it.
- being out to dinner and ordering what looks good instead of what is good for you.
- being in social situations where there is abundant junk food.
- social pressure from well-meaning family or friends, etc.
Internal challenge or resistance comes from within you, and sometimes is harder to maneuver or resist than outside obstacles. This is often the little voice that says: “You can have just one chip” (when you know you can’t just have one) or even a negative voice that says: “You can’t do this”, or “I don’t care anymore”, or “I’ll never reach my goal, so I might as well indulge”.
In these situations, tapping into “your big why” is essential. It is connecting with this greater feeling that will help you overcome external and internal obstacles, challenges, and resistance.
Use these questions to help you clarify “your big why”:
- If I make this lifestyle change, break this habit, or establish this new pattern, what do I have to give up? What do I stand to lose?
- If I make this lifestyle change, break this habit, or establish this new pattern, what do I stand to gain?
- If I don’t make this lifestyle change, or break this habit, or establish this new pattern, what do I get to keep or hold onto?
- If I don’t make this lifestyle change, or break this habit, or establish this new pattern, what do I stand to lose?
I encourage you to take some quite time to reflect on these questions, and write down your answers. Writing it out makes it more concrete, and powerful. Use the answers to these questions to help you through the challenging times when emotions are high. Emotions can cloud your vision. But being clear and focused on “your big why” will help when emotions are high and you encounter obstacles or challenges in the outside world, or even when you get pushback from yourself.
So, what’s “your big why”?