“What’s your motivation? No, your real motivation…”
Jonny was a man on a mission. He wanted to lose a few pounds around his middle. So he joined a gym and started going 3 times a week.
He ran on the treadmill, used the rowing machine occasionally and lifted a few weights. Life was going good, but his belly wasn’t going anywhere.
The awkward conversations…
One day he got chatting to a trainer.
“what’s your motivation for being here?” The trainer asked inquisitively.
“I want to lose a few pounds” Jonny said, while patting his belly like it was a big drum
“That’s great, so what’s your motivation to lose those few pounds?” the trainer asked
“I want to get in better shape” Jonny said as if it was obvious.
“It’s really good that you are trying to get in shape. I’m curious why you want to lose a few pounds though?” the trainer said in a friendly tone.
Jonny hesitated for a minute. He wasn’t actually sure.
Why did he want to lose a few pounds? Was it because he felt embarrassed about his body shape, because he had a holiday coming up and wanted to look good on the beach. Was he worried that his girlfriend was not as attracted to him any more as she used to be?
“Because….because I just do..” he eventually replied.
He couldn’t possibly tell the trainer these deep feelings, he thought to himself. He wasn’t even sure which of them were true.
Digging down deep
Pin-pointing exactly why you are doing what you are doing is a very important step. Think of it another way. Imagine you get assigned a task at work. You’re asked to do the same thing but by two different people. This is how they ask you:
Person 1: “Can you please type this letter up? It needs to be done today.”
Person 2: “We have a really important document which needs typing up. It’s important because it will allow a young couple to buy a house. We need it done today for the solicitor.”
Which would motivate you the most to complete the job quickly and properly, person 1 or person 2?
Finding our Why…
This same approach can be used with our health and fitness goals.
First, we need to have a why. Why are we wanting to do this?
Action Point: What is your why? Start off with your general goal, such as “I want to lose a few pounds”. Then ask why until you get to a deep answer…Example:
“I want to lose a few pounds”
“Because I’m a little out of shape and have let things slip”
Why does it matter?
“I’m worried that my health is getting worse and I don’t want to look fat”
Why is your look important to you?
“Because I think my partner is not as attracted to me as they were before and I feel bad about myself”
That’s just an example. Everyone’s motivation is different, but hopefully you get the idea.
What’s your why? It might not come out at first, as we often even hide our real reasons from ourselves, but keep asking or think about it for a while to really get down deep into it.
Making SMARTer Goals
You don’t have to know your why to set SMART goals, but it helps with motivation when things get tough. And they will…
Let’s get back to Jonny…
When Jonny was in the gym, he didn’t really have a plan. He loitered around, lifted a few weights, used some cardio equipment and then went home.
Without knowing where you’re going, it’s not possible to get to where you want to go…
Imagine you set off in your car. You know where you want to go and have a route to get there. Sometimes there might be roadworks, you have to take a diversion or there are delays, but you still know where you are going.
If you didn’t have a destination in mind which was specific, you would just drive around aimlessly.
The same is true for any health and fitness goal. We need to know where we are going, which is what SMART goals are useful for.
SMART goal: “I want to lose 3kg of fat by my holiday in 8 weeks time”
Not SMART goal: “I want to get in shape and tone up for my holiday”
Now we have a clear goal to work towards. 3kg of fat would be achievable for a lot of people in 8 weeks.