The 5 Why’s

As I’ve mentioned previously, I love learning. I think it’s a critical step in keeping our constant evolution fresh. (Did ya see what I did there?) This is why I love reading, love watching new videos and love taking courses. Most, but not all, are fitness related. Many cover exercise, getting stronger or more flexible. I also love learning about motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic. I love improving my ability to help people improve, in any way shape or form.

You get the idea.

Which is why I’m currently enrolled in Precision Nutrition level 2. This is the next level of an 18 week nutrition certification that I received over the summer. So, level 1 was 18 weeks, how long can level 2 be? Another 18 weeks? Twice that, 36 weeks?? You’re getting warmer…

Try 52 weeks. It’s literally a year-long certification. And I am ecstatic to be enrolled in it. I’m currently starting just the 3rd week but I am loving the information we’re learning. I will not only be sharing many of the concepts I learn here, with you, but I’ll also be incorporating much of it into my coaching practices. This post is about one of the more powerful concepts we’ve recently covered. Let me introduce you to….

The 5 Why’s
The 5 Why’s is one of those ideas that seems painfully simple, but can be extremely powerful when used properly. It helps us to dive deep into our reasoning. It helps us find motivation that we didn’t realize we had. It points us to the true desires pushing us forward in our quests for better fitness, better health, and better living.

Sounds great! How does it work?

Well, it’s so simple, most 3 and 4 year old children already do it. It’s a simple process of asking yourself “Why?”, repeatedly 5 times. Here’s a sample conversation…

Client: “Hi Andy! I heard that you’re the most amazing trainer ever and I’d like to lose some weight. Can you help me?”
Me: “Thank you for the kind words, you’re pretty awesome too! I most certainly can! But first, can I ask you a few questions?”

Client: “Sure!”
Me: “Why do you want to lose some weight?” (that’s one)

Client: “Well, I guess because I want to get healthier.”
Me: “Why do you want to get healthier?” (numero dos)

Client: “Because I’ll feel better about myself.”
Me: “Why do you want to feel better about yourself?” (three)

Client: “That’s a good question. I guess because if I feel better about myself, I’ll be happier about myself and about life.”
Me: “Why do you want to be happier?” (four)

Client: “Because life kinda sucks right now. I’m in the worst shape of my life. I never have energy. I think I’m depressed. I…I guess I just want to live!”
Me: “Why do you want to live?” (and that’s five)

Client: “Because I don’t want to die before my child graduates high school. I want to travel. I want to love life again. I don’t want to feel trapped in my own skin!”
Me: “I think we’ve found your Why!”

So you can see how quickly the reason for seeing me goes from “I’d like to lose some weight” to “because I don’t want to die…”
That’s pretty powerful stuff, don’tcha think? You can see that, by finding your deeper motivation, your intrinsic motivation, you can really supercharge your reason and get excited about getting those goals.

(By the way, finding your intrinsic motivation is INFINITELY more important than any extrinsic, or external, motivation. Sure, motivational quotes, pictures, stories and videos are great. They may even light a fire under your butt for a day or 3. But without that internal flame burning bright, the external motivation will burn out quickly.)

Once you’ve done the 5 Why’s and found your internal motivation, let me congratulate you for finding your Why-power. Yes, you heard that right, why-power. Not willpower.
Why not willpower? Because more and more, science is showing that willpower is an extremely limited resource. One that we can improve over time, or even with the right dietary measures, but also one that gets drained by deciding what to wear or putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

(If you’d like to read more about the limited ability of willpower, click here to read a short article.)

So now you see willpower can be quite limited and fleeting. But why-power? No sir! Why-power is a goal-smashing tour de force (which I think is a French way of saying badass). Your why-power is one of the single, strongest tools you’ll ever develop in your arsenal of health and fitness amaze-ification. Not only will it help to power you through the tough times, it is also easily re-evaluated should you feel it waning. The only tough part is being honest with yourself, which is something we all need to be better at, isn’t it?

What to do: Sit down with a piece of paper and pen/pencil. Ask yourself your million dollar question. It may be “why do you want to lose weight?” Possibly “why do you want to get stronger?” Or simply “why do you want to be better?” Whatever the initial question is, ask yourself “why?” And start digging for that motivational gold. Let me and the rest of the community know what you find! Share your goal and your gold in the comments below!!

Until next time, stay motivated, and live your life to the fullest!!

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