You hear a lot about this question today…what is your why? Why do you do what you do? Why do companies provide the service or products they provide?

Simon Sinek wrote a book and has a TedTalk about this topic. If interested, here is the video:

For me, this question was asked several times throughout my career transition and my journey to better health.

At first I thought it was a little cheesy…what does this really matter?

Then as I was asked to dig deeper into my values, beliefs, strengths, interests, etc. I realized it meant everything. I needed to put this in front of everything else to help guide me through my decisions as I moved forward.

Our nutrition program uses a great exercise called The Five Whys that was originally used by the Toyota Motor Corporation. It is easy to use and helps you quickly get to the root of your decision.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you want to achieve something in your life (personal or professional), you ask yourself ‘Why do I want to achieve this’?
  • Based on your response, ask yourself Why again to that first response.
  • Continuing asking Why five times.
  • When finished, you get a lot of information about what’s really important to you from those simple little questions.

You can use it to motivate yourself to achieve your why. Many times what starts out as a surface goal dives deeper into more complex feelings and more meaningful goals.

When I first started at the gym I was focused on how I looked and how much I weighed. As I worked through the nutrition habits I learned much more was at stake for me.

  • I wanted to be stronger. I suffered from lower back pain for a long time. I would have to walk hunched over until it worked itself out. I love to play golf. I learned that I wanted a stronger core so that I could do the activities that I enjoyed.
  • I wanted to be healthier. In the generation before me there were four women including my mom. Three of the four of them were gone before the age of 56. I want my generation to live longer.
  • I wanted to help others. I love to coach and mentor. Now I am in a position where I can help others as a health coach. We’ll work together to identify goals and to learn new habits that help them get there so that they can live their Why.

Here is another version of the process that I learned from a webinar led by Sean Foy who is an internationally renowned authority on fitness, weight management and healthy living. As an author, exercise physiologist, behavioral coach and speaker, Sean has earned the reputation as “America’s Fast Fitness Expert”.

This What’s Your Why? exercise is focused more on health and wellness, but could also be adapted for other purposes.

Look Behind You

  • When you were a child what did you most enjoy doing?
  • What did you dream about?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?

Look Beside You

  • What are the things I have always been good at? 10 things
  • What are my greatest strengths?
  • What makes me feel ‘alive’?

Look Above You

  • If you could instantly change ONE thing about your health and fitness what would it be? Why?
  • Dream big: What would you do with  your new found fitness, health & wellbeing?
  • Ask yourself: ‘if there was ONE thing I could do, that I am not doing now…?’

Look Around You

At your 90th b-day party

  • Who’s there?
  • What do they say?
  • What is ONE thing you want said?

Look In Front of You

  • What makes you cry?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What gives you hope and energy?
  • What would you like to change in the world around you?

What’s Your Why? Define it as it fits for you in…

  • One Word
  • One Phrase
  • One Sentence
  • One Paragraph

Next time you need to work through something give this exercise a try and see if it helps!

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