In my previous post I encouraged you to decide to move towards achieving your goal rather than leave it as a preference, which is what a statement like, 'I'd like to lose weight,' is, a preference. So having made the decision (I have decided to lose weight...), it is time to reflect on exactly why you have chosen to do it.
Typically, a smoker might say, I want to quit smoking. But the reality is, most smokers enjoy smoking. For the past couple of years, I have sought to drink less (alcohol) but the reality is, I actually want to drink more, every day if possible, I adore the stuff. We square the circle by noting that the smoker (possibly) doesn't want to stop smoking (because they enjoy the act of smoking a cigarette), rather, what they do want is the benefits of not smoking. In other words, the smoker might want some or all of the following:
- not to die of lung cancer,
- to save money,
- to be able to play with his/her children in the park without getting out of breath,
- to live long enough to see his/her grandchildren get married.
There are likely to be other motivations also. And this is what I mean by 'connect with your why.' The statement then changes from 'I want to quit smoking' to 'I don't want to die of lung cancer.' Then, as you go through the process of quitting smoking and find it difficult, or are tempted to go back to smoking, connect with your why to keep you on track.
I personally have lost weight and got fit after more than a decade of over-eating while living a sedentary lifestyle, yet I enjoy eating and was a fairly happy fat-man. But I seriously don't want diabetes. Diabetes is my WHY. When, during winter, the Beast from the East struck and I was sitting in my nicely heated home, and when it was minus two degrees outside and when I decided I really didn't want to go for a 5k run, I simply asked myself one question: would you prefer diabetes? If I was willing to endure diabetes, and all its consequences, then by all means I'd say to myself, stay on the couch, have a chocolate bar and don't go for that run. But if diabetes isn't my preference, then my inner voice told me to get my ass off the couch and go for that run, no excuses. I did.
If I had simply understood my behaviour in terms of, 'I want to get fit,' how easy it is to waver, or defer what needs to be done, because it is too cold, too hot or raining. When put in terms of not wanting to get diabetes, my 'why', you realise that diabetes doesn't care about what the weather was, and as we used to announce as 10 year olds playing hide and seek, 'coming, ready or not.' Every good behaviour is a small victory in my fight.
Connect with your why. If you can stack 'whys,' that's even better. So it maybe that your principal reason for quitting smoking is that you don't want to get lung cancer, but knowing too that you will save money, plus you can run for the bus, and maybe your palette improves so you enjoy food more, these can all be valid, secondary 'whys'. Achieving any goal is hard, so what you are trying to do is tilt the odds in your favour. To do so, you need one rock solid 'why' to really start you on the path to change, but the more secondary 'whys' you have, the better, as this will increase the perceived reward for changing your behaviour.
I think these really could be the four most important words in achieving your goal: connect with your why.