Author: Scott Smith
Client: I don’t want to set goals, they only set me up for failure. Goals suck.
Me: WHY do you think your goals suck? (Okay… that’s one)
Client: My goals suck because they do not motivate me.
Me: WHY aren’t they motivating? (Two)
Client: (Long pause) Because they don’t reflect what I truly value.
Me: WHY don’t your goals reflect your values? (And three)
Client: (Even longer pause, lightbulb) Because I haven’t taken the time to reflect on them.
Me: Looks like your first goal needs to be to figure out not only WHAT you want, but more importantly, WHY you want it.
This is a conversation that really needs to happen within yourself when making any big decision or change. Just replace “Me” and “Client” with “You” and “You.” If you have read my blog at all, or are a client of mine, you know that goal setting is big with me. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, blah, blah, blah. Remember SMART? Well, that’s all fine and good, but what’s the point if your goal lives only on paper? To give it life we need to dig much deeper on the “Relevance” portion of that formula to not only stay the course on our goal path, but also enjoy the fruits along the way. Goals are much more effective when we take the time to connect them to real emotions and core values (not arbitrary numbers, most likely dictated by someone else’s expectations). And one of my favorite exercises in digging deeper is to ask yourself one simple question, three times: Why?
You: My goal is to lose 10 pounds by my wedding in April (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)
You: Why is it so important for me to lose 10 pounds by then? (Uno)
You: Because I want to feel sexy in my Amsale dress.
You: Why is it so important for me to feel sexy? (Dos)
You: Because when I feel sexy my confidence sky rockets.
You: And why do I need the added boost in confidence? (Tres)
You: Because I’m going to be standing (and later dancing) in front of everyone important to me, and I want to rock that shit!
Okay, so this is a hypothetical (about a bride written by a guy no less) but you get the point. The visualization and realization of the goal here is not a number on the scale, but the image and emotions of the one night that should be as close to perfect as humanly possible. The real goal is to be the brightest star possible on your big day. So, even if the numbers don’t come to fruition, but your hard work in the gym yields a body change that passes the eye test, you’ve achieved your REAL goal.
Now, the same scenario above could have gone many different directions. It all depends on which questions you ask. Why do I need to lose 10 pounds in order to feel sexy would have been a tougher path to go down for sure. Or why do I need approval from others on the one day that I’m infallible (sarcasm)? But the main take away from “why, why, why” is to be honest with yourself and uncover your intrinsic needs (and even insecurities, its cool, we all have them, me more than most probably) so that you can connect real emotion to otherwise superficial goals and animate your dreams on your terms, for all the right reasons. Our fitness goals, while often times intially superficial, always have a deeper relevance. So ask yourself why your goals are (or are not) important to you and follow up that answer with a why, and then follow up that answer with one more why and see what you uncover about your true intentions.