Finding your "WHY"
How do we begin to live Happily Whole? The first step is to ask yourself, “why?”
“Why?”, it seems like a simple enough question, but that small, 3-letter word can pack quite a punch and hold a lot of weight. Its origin, meaning for what reason, cause or purpose is the essential question to everything in our day to day lives. Why do we do this or that? What is our purpose; our reason for getting up every day to do what we do? What drives us and keeps us motivated? What is our “why”?
It is the most common question asked by most curious toddlers as they are learning about the world around them and almost always the follow up to any question with an obvious answer or command. Yet, as we mature the need to ask it somehow falls by the way side. Instead we become more preoccupied with the what, how, when and who. We focus more on the plans and strategies of attaining a certain goal, rather than the goal itself. As adults, we often fall subject to this. We skip over the “why” because we assume we already know its answer. I have fallen into this trap for most of my life; always preoccupied with the functionality of things, the way to achieve something rather than reason or goal. Whether it was in school, dance, my career and especially in the onset of my fitness journey, I always went straight for “How am I going to get this done?” rather than “WHY am I doing this?”
In the past, when I crashed dieted or started a new weight loss program, I always focused on the what, when and the how of it all. What type of works outs I’d be doing and on what day; how much weight I wanted to lose; what nutrition plan I needed follow, etc. I was more concerned with the plan, procedures and tactics. Always missing the goal and the “why”. Quite honestly, I never thought to ask myself why I was doing any of these things, it just felt like what I SHOULD be doing. So, I did and for this reason, those programs never took. I often buoyed right back to where I was before I began them; weight gain, bad habits, poor nutrition and all. It wasn’t until I rediscovered the Tone It Up fitness community, a little over a year ago, that I even thought to ask myself “why?”
One day in early April of 2017, I had a moment; I call it my “aha moment”, you know, like the ones in the cartoons when you see the little light bulb ding overhead. Out of nowhere it hit me: I couldn’t keep living my life this way. I was unhappy, depressed, overweight, unbelievably self-conscious, and exhausted from it all. I cringed every time I looked at myself in the mirror and I no longer recognized the girl staring back at me. Simply put, I hated myself. I was tired of the diets and programs that didn’t stick, the constant fluctuation of the scale, and the deep-rooted self-hate. I needed to change.
I had been following the Tone It Up girls, Karena & Katrina, on social media since their Bravo TV days and from day one, fell in love with their overall vibe. A fitness program for women designed by women that preached self-love, women empowerment and body positivity. It was everything I wanted and needed in a fitness program, to help get myself out of the rut I was in and turn my life around. And it was, Tone It Up did just that but not because of the vibe, sense of community, comradery, nutrition or the workouts. It was because of what it required me to do before any of that. Find my “why”, my reason for doing this: getting up every day for 7 a.m. workouts, trying new foods, changing my eating habits and stepping completely out of my comfort zone. What were my intentions, my goals, my “why”?
Asking “why” is inspirational and creates a successful clear-cut path to your goals. But finding its answer can be hard since it requires you to look past the functionality of any given situation, dig beyond the surface and look for purpose. As adults, we are rarely asked to do this but putting it into practice in our daily lives in so important because 1.) it helps to eliminate any preconceived assumptions you may have about a given situation 2.) gives your actions and hard work meaning and 3.) puts you in a position to succeed by aligning your goals with your actions. For the first time, in maybe my entire life, I was being asked to do all of this.
The great thing about setting goals, intentions and “whys” is that they are limitless. You can make them how ever big, small, few or many you want. When I started out my overall “why” was to lose weight in order to feel confident in my own skin again. Early on I realized that having such a large goal at the onset of my fitness journey was too overwhelming. Because I wasn’t directly seeing the results of my work I was left feeling defeated at the end of the day and not the least bit confident. I felt like I was failing. Ultimately, I still wanted to achieve those goals and have them be my greater “why”, but I knew they couldn’t be my primary focus. So, instead of focusing on the bigger picture, I chose to focus on the small day to day goals. Every morning, before starting my day, I got up and asked myself “why”. What was my goal for today? What did I want to accomplish? What was my intention? That is another amazing aspect of habitually asking ourselves “why”. Like us, it is forever evolving, changing and growing. As we change so does our “why”, our purpose and our goals. We can start out asking the smaller “why” and eventually work our selves up to the greater. That’s exactly what I did.
Over time my “why”, purpose and thing that drives me every day has evolved. It is no longer just about weight loss, feeling comfortable in my skin or being healthy. Yes, I still focus on those goals, but my “why” and thing that keeps me motivated every day is all of you. It’s about sharing my journey, spreading whatever knowledge I have learned over the past year and hopefully inspiring others, like you, to live their happiest, healthiest and whole lives. That’s what drives me every day to get up, do what I do, and be better than I was the day before.
Babe, finding your “why” is not always an easy task, trust me I know, but trying to find its answer will benefit you in ways you could never imagine. Start small, ask the daily “whys” and before long you’ll find a greater purpose. Since my motivation is all of you, I want to hear what your “why” is, big or small. So, let me know in the comments below!