• Megan Schall

Struggling to stay motivated to change? Find your deeper reason "why"

In Simon Simek’s well known Ted Talk titled “Start with Why,” he explains how asking “why” can inspire, motivate, and generate action. According to Simek, in the business world this correlates to the idea that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” And in a more general context, “People will do the things that prove what they believe.” (Watch the full Ted Talk here:

In my nutrition coaching practice I often use an exercise called the “5 Whys” to help determine the deeper reason someone wants to make a change to their nutrition habits (or really any change, nutrition or otherwise).

If, as Simek says, you will do the things that prove what you believe, then it helps to understand your beliefs about the change you are trying to make – what it will do for you and why it is truly important.

The “5 Whys” exercise is quite simple and exactly as it sounds; you are going to keep asking yourself “why” 5 times (or so) until you get to your deeper, more meaningful motivation for change.

It might go something like this:

Why do you want to change your eating habits (or exercise habits or whatever habit)?

I would like to lose weight and improve my health.

Why is that important?

Because if I lose weight and improve my health I will have more energy and confidence.

And why does that matter?

Because when I feel better and have more confidence I have more fun and do more of the things I like to do.

And why is that important?

When I am having fun and able to do things I like, I am happier and find more joy in life.

And why is that last thing important?

When I’m happier and more joyful I make self-care a priority, have better relationships (friend/spouse/parent etc.), and am more engaged within my community.

As you can see, what started off as a goal to lose weight and improve health was ultimately about being more engaged in life, having more positive relationships with oneself and others, and being able to pay it forward to the greater community.

These internal motivations are not only much more profound than simply thinking about “what” we want to change (lose weight and improve health), but they are also significantly more rewarding and inspiring motives for those times when change is hard.

When you start with “why” rather than “what,” you can dig into the underlying factors that are truly important to you and serve as the impetus for real, lasting change.

Try the “5 Whys” exercise for any change you are trying to make and see what comes up - you might be surprised by what you uncover! And if you need help determining your why, a coach is a great place to start; contact me here and start your change journey today!

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