Why? Such a simple question that can uncover so much.
In sales, we're taught to ask why 5 times to uncover the real reason behind something. As a trainer, I find why to also be an important question to ask when my clients state a goal they'd like to achieve. Why that goal? Why is that number/event important? Why that exercise program? Why that number of calories? Why? Why? Why?
Why ask Why 5 times? Often times we first give the answer we think we're expected to give. Then we give the answer we want to give. After a few more whys we give the real answer. The unvarnished answer. The truth of what that goal, that number, that event, etc, really means to us.
Its not that we mean to lie, but sometimes we just haven't examined ourselves enough to really know why we chose a specific goal or number. We often feel ashamed to vocalize our goals. Vocalizing them makes them real. Makes them open to scrutiny. Makes them open to ridicule. Someone else would know if we were failing or succeeding. It ups the risk of that goal. There's now more to gain and more to lose by someone else being involved. Will they be supportive? Will they still "like" me once they know the "truth"? Will they think my real reason for wanting to achieve my goal foolish, silly, unachievable?
Asking the 5 whys breaks down those defenses. You get at the real reason you're doing something. Reasons you may not even be aware of at the start of stating a goal.
Try it! You don't need another person (although having other people know of your goals and assisting you in the process has been shown to help people achieve their goals faster and in the case of weight loss, to keep that weight off longer). Write down your goal. Then ask why? Why again? And so on till you've asked why 5 times. Don't sensor yourself. Just answer or write down your response as soon as you think it. You may be surprised by what you really want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.
Why do this exercise? Because having a goal won't keep you motivated. When you're dragging and don't want to do a workout, your goal won't keep you going. When you need to say no to that extra cookie or serving of dinner, your goal won't give you the willpower to "just say no". But your whys will! Your whys are your emotional reason for wanting to achieve something. That's why we don't state them right away. We don't want to get hurt. But your whys are more important to you than the overall goal. They are what give you the smile and overwhelming joy that takes over when you achieve them. Because you've achieved so much more than just a goal! You've changed a bit of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally to bring yourself that much closer to the "ideal" you that is pictured in your mind.
The new year is quickly approaching. So as you set your goal(s) for 2013, or your new year's resolutions, ask yourself WHY that goal is important. Why do you want to achieve it? Why this goal versus another one? You'll be much more likely to stick to the resolution, goal, longer and be much more likely to achieve it if you know why its so important to you...and therefore, what's at stake if you don't!