Are you aware of what truly motivates you in life? Have you considered what is your why? Understanding your “why” is one of the most important parts of leading a fulfilling life. In this article, I’ll share how to figure out your why, and why it matters.
Knowing your ‘why’ can make a massive difference. It’s the driving force that motivates you to pursue your passions and drives you towards your goals. Your “why” is essentially your mission statement, the core values that guide your everyday actions.
It can also provide clarity and new perspectives, especially during setbacks. It’s the resilience that helps you bounce back from short-term difficulties. It’s the integrity that sets the boundary for what you will and won’t do to achieve your goals.
Most people who know me now, just understand that running and fitness are part of my life. It’s become so intertwined with my joy and my personality that you can’t tell where one ends and another begins… maybe that’s because I’m always in workout gear, either way.
It made me realize it’s been a very long time since someone asked me, “why?”
Why do you work out?
Why do you eat so many veggies?
But the thing is, sometimes we all need to reflect on the WHY of what we do to ensure that we are truly on the right path or to reignite our enthusiasm.
In this article, I’ll share the seven steps to learn what your why is, and I’ll also share mine for running to help you figure out your own.
Why Is It Important to Find Your Why?
Understanding your ‘why’ is a driving force that can lead to a fulfilling life. It’s your motivation, the core values that underpin your passions and drives.
When you know your ‘why’, you have a clear mission statement for your life, a deep sense of purpose that gives clarity and direction to your everyday actions.
Finding your ‘why’ can be a powerful tool in overcoming setbacks and building resilience. In the short term, it can help you navigate through challenges and maintain your integrity even when things get tough.
Over time, it can lead to a strong sense of fulfillment and a lifestyle that truly reflects who you are.
Plus, knowing your ‘why’ can also be a useful boundary to set, helping you decide what opportunities to pursue and which ones to pass by.
7 Steps to Find Your Why
Finding your “why” is essentially about understanding what drives you, what your passions are, and what gives you a deep sense of purpose. Here are seven steps to help you find your “why”.
Step 1: Reflect on Your Passions
To find your driving force, it’s important to first reflect on your passions. Ask yourself, what is it that you love to do?
This could be anything from a hobby you enjoy in your free time to a cause you feel strongly about. Understanding your passions can give you new perspectives and clarity about what truly drives you.
For some, their passion might be something they do every day, like cooking or painting. For others, it could be something they aspire to do, like running a marathon or learning a new language.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. The key is to identify what brings you fulfillment and makes your life meaningful.
Step 2: Identify Your Core Values
Figuring out the source of your motivation often starts with understanding your core values.
Your core values are the principles that guide your everyday decisions, the passions that fuel your actions, and the driving force behind your short term and long term goals.
So, how do you identify your core values? It’s simpler than you might think. Start by asking yourself what is most important to you. Is it health? Family? Success? Adventure? Whatever it is, write it down. This list is your starting point.
Next, reflect on why these things are important to you. What do they bring to your life? How do they make you feel? Understanding the ‘why’ behind your values can help you stay committed to them, even when the going gets tough.
Step 3: Keep a Journal
Some of these might not come to you easily, but journalling can help you note them down when they do.
Keeping a journal is a powerful tool that can bring clarity and new perspectives to your life. It can be a driving force to help you understand your core values, passions, and what truly drives you.
Plus, it’s a great way to track your progress, stay motivated, and keep your “why” in focus. It’s a space where you can record your running times, the workouts you’ve done, the food you’ve eaten, and how you’re feeling overall.
Also, a journal is a tangible reminder of your “why”. On days when motivation is low, you can look back at your entries and remember why you started this journey. It can be the push you need to lace up your running shoes and hit the road.
Step 4: Consider Your Setbacks
Setbacks are a part of life, and they can be particularly common with fitness and nutrition. But remember, they’re not the end of your journey. In fact, your setbacks can be a powerful tool in finding your “why.”
They can help you identify what you’re truly passionate about. If you find yourself eager to get back to running after an injury, for example, it’s a clear sign that running is something you love and value.
Similarly, if you’re itching to get back to your healthy eating habits after a period of indulgence, it shows that nutrition is important to you. These are the things that make you want to push through, to overcome obstacles, and to keep going even when things get tough.
So don’t view your setbacks as failures. Instead, see them as opportunities to reaffirm your commitment to your goals and to understand your “why” on a deeper level.
Step 5: Address Your Fears
Fear is a powerful driving force that can either hold you back or propel you forward.
It’s necessary to understand that fear is a natural part of life, and it’s something we all face. It’s a short-term reaction to a perceived threat, and it can lead to anxiety and even depression if not addressed.
Address your fears head-on to gain new perspectives on your life and your passions. Recognize your fears, write them down in a journal, and reflect on them.
Running can seem intimidating, especially if you’re new to the sport. It’s normal to have fears and anxieties about starting a new fitness routine. But, don’t let these fears stop you from achieving your goals.
Identify what scares you about running. Is it the fear of injury? Or, perhaps, the fear of not being good enough? Once you’ve identified your fears, you can start to address them.
For example, if you’re afraid of getting injured, learn about proper running form and techniques. Invest in good quality running shoes and start slow. Remember, it’s not about how fast you can run, but about gradually building your endurance and strength.
If you’re worried about not being good enough, remind yourself that everyone starts somewhere. Even the most experienced runners had to start from scratch. Focus on your progress, not on perfection.
Step 6: Visualize Your Ideal Future
Visualizing your ideal future is an effective way to gain clarity and a strong sense of purpose in your life. It’s like setting a mission statement for your future. This exercise can be a driving force to keep you motivated even during setbacks.
It’s all about painting a mental picture of what you want to achieve. This could be anything from crossing the finish line of a marathon, losing weight, or simply feeling healthier and more energetic.
Start by closing your eyes and imagining where you want to be in a year, or maybe five years, from now. How do you look? How do you feel? What kind of races have you completed? How has your lifestyle changed?
This exercise is more than just daydream. It’s a powerful tool that can motivate you to stick to your running routine and nutrition plan. It makes your goals more tangible and real.
Step 7: Live Your Why Every Day
Living your ‘why’ every day is about aligning a person’s actions with their goals and values. It’s about being true to yourself, staying focused on your goals, and making choices that bring you closer to achieving them.
As a running coach, I often see people who start their fitness journey with a clear ‘why’, but lose sight of it over time. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget why you started in the first place.
To live your ‘why’ every day, you need to remind yourself of it constantly. Keep your ‘why’ at the forefront of your mind. Use it as a motivator when times get tough, and celebrate it when you achieve your goals.
And always remember, your ‘why’ is unique to you, and it’s what sets you apart from everyone else.
Write It Down and Make it Visible
t’s one thing to have a goal in your mind, but it’s another to see it in black and white. When you write down your fitness and nutrition goals, you make them real and tangible. You give them life.
But don’t just write them down and tuck them away. Make them visible! Post your goals where you can see them every day. Put them on your fridge, your mirror, or your desktop. Seeing your goals daily will serve as a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.
This is not just about reminding yourself of your goals, but also about accountability. When you make your goals visible, you’re making a commitment to yourself. You’re saying, “I’m serious about this, and I’m not backing down.”
Here’s My ‘Why’ For Running (As a Running Coach)
Running has always been more than just a sport or a hobby for me. It’s a lifestyle, a passion, and a way to connect with myself and the world around me.
My ‘why’ for running is simple yet profound. It’s about personal growth, health, and community. And, most importantly, my why taps into a deep-seated emotional need to feel good about myself.
Here are some of my ‘whys’ for running:
Running Clears the Cobwebs
Do you ever feel like you just need a moment to think? This is my favorite part about taking a long run, I can disconnect from the Internet, the phone and all of my to do lists. I can spend some time thinking through what really matters and I come home feeling more centered.
Running Sparks Creativity
If I had a dollar for every runner who has told me they’ve come up with game-changing ideas while running, well I’d invest in them and be a millionaire.
In fact, when I return home I often find myself dripping sweat all over my keyboard as I try to capture ideas before they dissolve into the business of the day.
Running Gives You a Community
New runners, long time runners, speedsters and self-proclaimed turtles are all embraced in running circles. We don’t care what your goals are as long as you show up, runners support each other.
This is evident in the charities that are supported through races each weekend, but often less recognized in the daily high fives that come from group runs and even virtual friends.
Running Makes You Strong
There are moments in life that are hard, uncomfortable and downright miserable. Running reminds you that you can face them all by just taking one step at a time and focusing only on the current moment.
I can’t run the next mile until I’ve finished this one and I can’t get to the finish line without embracing a little discomfort.
Why Find Your Why?
This is actually something that I respect Jillian Michaels for talking about frequently. She reminds people that getting slim for a wedding might be nice, but you’ll put it all back on later if you don’t have a bigger WHY.
“Outline it, define it; it could be your kids, it could be a beach vacation…write it down, visualize it, and emotionally connect to it.”
“There should be a specific, meaningful motivation behind your workouts—and “because I’m supposed to” is not an acceptable answer. Once you know your “why,” constantly remind yourself of it, whether that’s by doodling it on your hand, making it your cell phone background, or getting it printed on a tank.” –Women’s Health
Great so now what…a few tips to find your lasting why:
- Get emotional – how do you want to feel?
- Get honest – are you doing this for you?
- Reflect – what moments in life did you feel the happiest and proudest?
- Analyze – what do those moments have in common?
- Measure – how can you measure ongoing success?
For me my internal why always comes back to feeling proud of myself and that’s what gets me to push through the extra miles or lately to show up for Pilates even though I know it’s going to HURT! I’m starting to tap in to this why to also eliminate the sugar.
In case you’ve missed any previous back to basics posts:
What does basic mean? (Bodyweight workout)
7 habits of highly fit people
Body weight workout
Kitchen essentials (plus slow cooker recipe)
Benefits of a home gym
What is your fitness why?
Do you have something that reminds you of it?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.