“Before setting a goal for comfortably wearing your ideal size, figure out WHY you want to be that size. Discovering the deep motivation for each goal energizes successful planning. Otherwise you’ll become easily distracted.”*
Normally people who begin a weight loss program will set a goal for themselves. They decide what they want to achieve and set a time limit. Some reach that goal, but many do not. ZWL says we all miss a step if we set goals before we know WHY we want to even bother changing. Your WHY is the motivation driven by basic needs we have as human beings.
Basic Human Needs
- Security. We need to feel comfortable and safe. Have our physiological needs met: food, clothing, shelter.
- Love. Being connected with other people is crucial for humans.
- Importance. This need is an extension of the one above because it encompasses our deep desire to be needed and wanted.
- Growth. We value knowledge. We like knowing how things work, why life is the way it is and how to accomplish tasks we have never tried before. Our Brains like to learn. It brings satisfaction.
- Bigger purpose. We would like to leave the world better than how we found it. At the very least we want to improve our neighborhood or hometown.
Human needs were first brought to our attention in 1943 by Abraham Maslow in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. We each value one or two of these needs more than the others. To succeed it’s imperative to know what you want to get out of it — why bother? A nice body or smaller size of jeans won’t meet any of the needs listed above. If you believe they do then its time to do a little soul-searching. Try this exercise and see if you can find your motivation for success. Sitting quietly with a pad of paper or spiral notebook, begin to write a mission statement. Nothing complicated, nor flowery. This is deeply personal and something I encourage you to hold close and not share.
“I want to lose weight so I can wear a size 10 to my class reunion”
Once you’ve identified your first motivational comment you should sit and imagine how that would feel. Ask yourself WHY that even matters? With each comment you make continue to ask WHY….but, WHY? You may find the flow brings you to your humanity. Look at an example of how your mind can get to underlying motivation.
“I want to lose weight so I can wear a size 10 to my class reunion…because I was always a size 16 or 18 and my friends were tiny and slim…nobody noticed me in high school — this would make them see me…because they always thought I wasn’t good enough to be included in their fun…they excluded me from things and now today it keeps happening…my co-workers never ask me to come to lunch with them…I am lonely…I am afraid to reach out and let people see who I am…WHY??????. . . . Because I feel I will value myself more if my body image is more in line with what I believe other people like.“
The primary need to feel Love and Importance are driving this person. Holding this as a WHY for your weight loss program will help you stay the course. Each time you consider throwing in the towel, or skipping an exercise class remember this final statement and you will stay the course.
Now, as you grow with improving your self-image and your fitness level an amazing thing happens. Your evaluation of your WHY will morph into something else. That is a natural progression meeting the need for Growth and Change! See how fitness can heal more than your physical body? Find your WHY today and Make Fitness Stick!
*The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness. 2013. Karen Fili Sullivan. Jeri Levesque, Ed.D.