Happy Wednesday everyone, and welcome to the final Wellness Wednesday of 2018! My son is coming home for Christmas, so I’ll be taking a little break for the last week of the year.
Thanks so much to everyone who gave me input last week about our upcoming Wellness Wednesday posts. You all gave me some great information and inspiration, and I look forward to addressing the topics that will be most helpful to you.
As we’re quickly approaching the New Year, and it’s historically the time for making, and often breaking, resolutions (for tips to help turn resolutions into reality, check out this post), I wanted to talk about discovering why we want to make those changes to begin with.
Why is why important? Having a solid reason for making changes helps us keep going when things get hard, because let’s face it — it will get hard. Making lasting changes is tough. It requires hard work, perseverance, and sometimes sweat and tears. If we don’t have a good reason for making the change, it’s easy to just give up.
At one fitness club where I worked, we offered a fantastic class for new members that combined classroom teaching about nutrition, exercise, goal setting, etc. with one day per week of working out as a group. Often, when people talked about why they were there, they’d say something like, “My doctor said I need to exercise more” or “I want to feel (or look) better.”
These are perfectly good reasons to start lifestyle changes, but they’re not enough to sustain them. This goes for any type of wellness changes we’re talking about. Remember, wellness encompasses more than just physical wellness. It also consists of environmental, occupational, spiritual, emotional, financial, social, and intellectual dimensions. For us to make sustainable changes in any of these dimensions, knowing why we want to make them in the first place can be key to our success.
Discovering the why for your desired change doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does need to be something compelling enough to keep you going when the newness has worn off, the work of making the change has become an uphill slog, or you’re feeling discouraged because you aren’t making progress quickly enough.
…and wasn’t giving up until he reached his goal!
Questions We Can Ask To Help Us Discover Our Why:
WHY? Sometimes it’s just that simple. We ask why until we get to the foundational reason we want to make that change. The internal conversation may go something like this:
I want to stop eating junk food. Why? Because it’s not good for me, and I want to feel better and live longer. Why? Because I want to be here to see my children grow up, and I want to feel as well as possible so I can participate fully in their lives. I also want to set a good example for them, because I know habits formed now can be with them throughout their lives.
This is a really simplistic example, but for most parents, their children are great motivation to do even unpleasant things, because they want what’s best for them.
How does this wellness change support my core values? Our core values are what drive us, so being able to tie our desired change to our values can compel us to keep going when difficulties arise.
What value will this add to my life? Knowing how the change will help us in the long run can help us stay focused on the big picture. When we’re only looking at what’s happening now, if we’re not progressing as quickly as we like, it’s easy to give up, but if we can take a long-range view, that will enable us to keep pressing on in spite of feelings of discouragement.
How does this support what I’m passionate about? Just as we talked about earlier with the kids, when there’s something we’re passionate about, we’re often willing to persevere through discomfort or discouragement in order to reach our goals.
Is this important to me? This is vital to recognize, because if the wellness change or goal in question is not important to you personally, it’s hard to determine a why. That’s because there isn’t one. Sometimes we set certain wellness goals because we feel it’s something we should do rather than from an actual feeling it’s something we need to do. If there’s no compelling, personal reason for us to make the change, we might be better served by addressing something more personal or important to us.
Discovering our why can be a vital part of our success when it comes to making wellness changes. Knowing why those changes are important, how they support our core values and passions, and what they can add to our lives can provide motivation to make wellness changes and keep us going when we’re tempted to give up.
Do you start with why when making wellness changes or setting new wellness goals? If so, what has been your experience with it?