For any of you who have ever hung out with small children, you will know what I am talking about. There is a stage where their favorite question OR answer is “Why?”
While this can be annoying, it IS a great way to get some answers!
I would put it to you that many of us could use a little more of that. Even if it’s just to figure out why your trainer is making you do something-or-other.
Before we go any further, let’s take a side trip to your doctor’s office. You are sitting there. The doctor is telling you to do a certain thing for your health, or is about to prescribe something. Perhaps there has already been an explanation. This is good. But, if not, aren’t you fairly likely to ask, “Why?” or “What is that?” or even “Are there any downsides to this?” “What are the side effects?”
“Why” keeps you informed
I think that this is one of the good things that the internet has brought us. We are now more informed, and more likely to check things out that our doctors are suggesting for us. AND ask more questions, partly because we know the questions to ask.
This is the first great thing about “why”. It keeps you empowered, in charge, and informed about your health.
How about when it comes to fitness? By the way, did you ever notice that “health and fitness” are often used together as a phrase? Like Frick and Frack? Can’t have one without the other? Why do you suppose that is?
But I digress.
Start with Why
There is a second really important part about putting “why” first.
It happens to be the main premise of a best selling book called Start with Why by Simon Sinek. In some circles he started a sensation. Simon uses mostly corporate examples, but many people have picked up on the concept and applied it to other areas as well. Like health and fitness.
The concept is this:
Many companies AND people start with “how” or “what”. As in, “what am I going to do to reach my goal?”
Here’s where many things can run amok. If you are asking WHAT or know someone that does this, it can look like this:
“What am I going to do to get fit?” Or
“What machine or gizmo is going to motivate me to get fit?”
This is where marketing often comes in. Marketing preys on people who do not have a “why”. Here, it is all about how or what. Buy their product or join their gym and you will be on your way.
But wait. “Why” would you (or someone you know) want to approach your fitness that way? If this is happening, the Red Flags should be waving.
Unless you have an underlying reason or value that you are acting on, most stuff will not happen. At least not for long.
As an example, let’s go back to Simon Sinek’s book. He talks about the company Apple a lot. Whatever you may think of Apple, you have to admit that their success and impact has been huge. He says it’s because they did not market a “thing” like a great computer, but rather a RESULT. For example, with the iPod, it was “have 1,000 songs in your pocket”. Or, having your own personal computer will change your lifestyle, connect you with others, and give you all sorts of information at your fingertips. Not “We make better, snazzier, computers than anyone else.”
Back to Health and Fitness
Most of you who have chosen the health and fitness path have done so for a reason. Not a product. Not an image. Mostly, it’s because you know you feel better, can do more, and ARE better! Taking it a step further, it’s because you have decided that the quality of your life matters, and you are worth it.
I would invite you to share this concept with anyone that you catch jumping into a fitness program without the “Why”. Maybe with them it’s a “should”, or a feeling of “guilt” or “it’s the latest – maybe this is the thing I have been looking for”. They should know that these things do not sustain on those days when life gets in the way (that would be most days), or after a long break. It’s values, the things we can’t see or put our finger on, that create a life-long commitment to health and fitness.
Keep moving and learning,
© 2019-2020 Kristen Carter, Design for Fitness LLC. All rights reserved.