Working out is hard. It’s tough, painful, time-consuming, and exhausting. Exercise is both physically and mentally demanding. So why even do it? That’s a question that you must ask yourself. As cliché as it is: when you want to give up, remember why you started. For many of us, we started working out to change our appearance and gain confidence. A lot of us (myself included) started working out to attract attention from the opposite sex. Some of us started working out simply to be healthier. Whatever your why is, remember it. Write it down. Look at it every day. With each decision you make, think about how it will affect your why. If it isn’t helping you to achieve your goals, why do it?
Do you know your why? Without a clearly defined reason to push yourself it is almost impossible to stay motivated. If you don’t have a clear why, take 10-15 minutes to define it. Everyone’s why can be reduced down to one thing: being successful. Picture your own personal image of success and compare it to where you are right now. That jump that you want to make from your current situation to your ultimate vision of success; that is your why. Remember the image of your why, write it down if possible. Every time you think about your why associate it with what you personally define as success. Picture reaching your goals so vividly and so frequently that when you finally reach them, it feels like déjà vu. This is a key to success. Without a clearly defined vision of success, you will never know what you’re reaching for. Know that your why may change over time, as mine certainly has, but never stop striving to reach your goals.
The benefits of having clearly defined goals are nearly endless, but the biggest effect it had on me is the meaning and consistency that it brings to my life. To give an example, I’m going to get personal. I’m in the middle of finals week during my Junior year of college. Due to finals and other outside events, it is the most stressful time in recent memory. During times such this, skipping the gym is more tempting than ever. My why is the only thing keeping me motivated.
My why is this: I work (not only the gym, but in life) to prove every person who has ever doubted me wrong. I work to be successful enough to provide for friends and family who have given me so much more than I deserve. Finally, I work to be the best version of myself.
My why has shifted greatly through the years as I will discuss in a future article. Even today, the specifics of my why shift. Right now, the “best version of myself” is the version who is challenging for 3 state records in powerlifting. Once that goal is accomplished, my why will change to help me succeed in my next goal.
You likely noticed that my why far exceed the original premise of “why workout”. Though this goal-setting strategy was initially for fitness goals, it can be applied to life as a whole. Waking up every day with a clearly defined vision of what success meant to you personally causes you to look at decisions in a different manner. Be it work, school, family, relationships, friends, fitness, etc., you will always return back to that vision of success and determine if this decision will help or hinder from reaching your goals.
To come full-circle I want you to think about your fitness goal. Will skipping the gym help you to reach that? Will you be satisfied not reaching your goals, knowing that you might have had you put in the extra effort? With a clearly defined why, the answers to those questions should provide all the motivation you need.
I hope this article helped to get you in the right mindset. Keep killing it!