Friday, August 19, 2011

Fitness Friday- Finding your why?

Welcome to my first Fitness Friday Blog Hop!

A topic that I deal with often when it comes to fitness, or ANY type of health really, is finding your why. In other words what TRULY motivates you to be 'fit', to run races, lose weight etc etc. For those who don't know my background, I work as a health coach focusing on behavior change to allow people to accomplish their health goals. Although it is rewarding when you finally get through to someone, it gets old REAL quick when you deal with excuse after excuse on why something didn't get done. Generally it can all be summed up with one simple sentence- "You haven't found a good enough reason for you to continue to reach for your goals"

So what do I mean by the above statement?

99% of the time (statistic just made up but sounds pretty accurate to me) if I ask someone what motivates them to be consistent with exercise they answer the generic response 'to be healthy.' What I have found to be true most of the time is that your  first answer you give is never the real answer, its just what is normally accepted as a good reason to exercise. Also you can't measure 'to be healthy', it is an ambiguous statement because health in your eyes can be anything you want it to be, not clearly defined.

This is when I challenge someone- below is a summarized actual convo with an individual who gave the response that she wanted to exercise 'to be healthy' - it seems ridiculous to have to break it down like this, but I've found generally it takes a few tries to get the real answer- convo is condensed to get the point across...

Me: Why do you want to be healthy?
I: To feel better about myself
M: Why do you want to feel better about yourself
I: To increase my own self-confidence.
M: What do you think you would do differently with increased self-confidence?
I: I think once I'm comfortable with myself and my confidence is increased, then I would be able to attract a guy, I'm 30 years old, single, and I still do want to get married....
M: Ah, so exercise isn't necessarily about 'being healthy' to you, its more about getting to that point where you feel good about YOU and  once you're there, hoping that the opposite sex will notice your confidence as well and then finally land yourself a boyfriend / husband?
I: Never realized it, but yes, ultimately I guess thats why
(not every convo is as easy as this- normally it takes MUCH longer to get a reason, just used this one for a quick example)

So using this technique on myself on why I care about trying to do a 1/2 marathon in every state:
The reason I started is different from what keeps me going, which seems to be consistent with other people as well. 
The easy reasoning I would first tell people was "I'm young, single, no family started so might as well do something to make me healthy while getting to travel at the same time." 

The real reason I actually started which took me a long time to come forward and tell people:
I was at a point in my life where I felt like I don't have much to my name, I had no identity. I felt there was nothing 'great' about me that I could offer to someone. I would compare myself to others and get frustrated because yes I'm single- MAJORITY my good friends are either in a committed long term relationship, already married, and some starting a family. I felt behind in life and frankly I was jealous because they all had something I so desperately wanted. I needed to find something that I had that others would want, and eventually be jealous of me. I had already ran 4 1/2 mary's and 3 of the 4 were in a different state- I was slowly learning with each race how to run it smarter and faster- thus the idea was born to try to do one in every state. 

Shallow as it may seem- it was a REALLY good motivator for me- happy to report that it did work too. Now I was starting to get the "I wish I could do that..." speech from friends. 

Although it still motivates me to keep going, I've found that I've also transformed in the process- mentally, physically, emotionally.  I'm much more confident in my ability to see things through, to watch improvement in my body and my ability, and the best of all- I don't let things get to me as much. Running is a GREAT stress reliever! 

So I wanted to pose this question to all of you- by asking yourself 'why' a few times... what is your true motivation when it comes to working out? 

Maybe it really is to just be healthy, or maybe its something more, but I would love to hear what makes you tick. 


  1. I love how honest this post is. I love hearing other people say "I don't know how you do it" or "I could never do that." I've surrounded myself with running buddies (online) and I forget that runners are such a small part of the world. Most people do not do what we do!

  2. Vanity!
    Because I can!

    Interesting post.

  3. Hey there! Found you on Jill's bloghop! Its so cool that you live in TN! I live right outside of Knoxville, TN! I was looking through some of your races and I did the Women's half last year as well as Huntsville half!

    So nice to follow you now!! Go girl go!

  4. Why do I want to run in all states? Because I want to do awesome things! I know I'll never be fast enough to win anything so next best is to be slow and do LOTS of things. lol

  5. yay!!!! thanks for checking out my blog!! so excited to follow you and i super love your header...too cute! live in nashville!?! i am originally from louisville and visiting home in september. i just recently found Kelsey who commented up above and really want to try to get down that away for at least a day. if so...we should have an epic TN meet-up!!!

    i love this post. love it. it definitely pushed me to think about why i love running through even more than i do. for now...i definitely got to the point where it just feels good. its like my time away where i can just be me and not worry about anything else. i have come to so appreciate, look forward to and LOVE that time!

  6. Welcome to FItness Friday!

    Loved reading this! Over the years I've often been asked why I run. I was never able to sum it up until recently, I run because it empowers me. It makes me feel like I can do anything. Nothing has ever made me feel that way before and that, among other reasons, motivates me to do what I do everyday.

    Great post. Thanks for linking up this week.

  7. Running makes me a more confident person. It also makes it so I can fit into my jeans. The littlest ones in my closet. There are probably hundreds of other reasons but those are the two that come to mind quickly. That and the weird looks I get from people when they find out when I run (4:30am). I guess it's brought me to the point where I am OK with being different than eveyone else as well.

  8. here from Jill's blog hop. Looking forward to reading more!