Why? Three letters. One little word. One big meaning. Specifically, let’s think about your WHY when talking about your health journey. You’ve heard the age old quote, “It's all about the journey, not the destination.” I don't think that could be any more applicable than when we're talking about our own personal healthy living healthy habits.
It's not about losing X number of pounds. It's not about fitting into that dress or those jeans or having six pack abs. It's about the journey. It's about falling in love with the process of getting healthy and staying that way. My why today is so very different than what my why used to be several years ago. I'm going to share some examples of what my why used to look like, and how I actually failed several times.
So let's get into some examples of when I totally failed. When my why and my reasons for getting healthy and staying healthy really were pretty weak. I thought at the time that they were fantastic reasons, but I can see because those habits didn't stick. It wasn't a great reason why.
Example number uno - my wedding day. Anyone been a bride and feel me on this? We all want to look fantastic on our wedding day. I got married in 2011. I was a couple years out of college, and I worked to be the thinnest that I ever was and ever will be. I ate next to nothing. I ran all the time, and I was just obsessed with looking a certain way and fitting into my wedding dress “perfectly.” (gag) As soon as the honeymoon was over and real life began, I started to gain the weight back and fall out of those habits. Why did I fall off the wagon? You guessed it. My why was not strong enough. The wedding was over. We'd made it to the destination. I already got my husband, and my wedding dress is tucked away in my closet. It doesn't matter if it doesn't fit anymore. So wrong...
Example number two: I decided that I was going to run a half marathon with a few of my friends. We were going to run the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Savannah, Georgia. I thought, okay, this is it. This is the time I'm going to train every single day. I'm going to make a plan for running these 13.1 miles. I'm going to follow xyz diet. The half marathon came and went (and we had a freaking blast!) You know what happened as soon as the trip was over...yup! No more training. It just stopped.
Example number 3: Getting “bikini ready.” Who invented this saying? I hate it. We all start to think, “summer is coming.” We're going to be at the pool with our kids or friends. Maybe we're taking a trip to Mexico, or maybe we're going to be out on the boat all summer. We want to look GOOD in that bathing suit. You eat right and workout all the time until we hit the 4th of July...or thereabout. Then all of those beers by the pool catch up with you. The cookouts and ice cream treats are past us, and we start to give up. You don't care anymore because summer is over and now we're heading into fall and you're like, well, whatever, I'm going to be covered up and big baggy cardigans and sweaters. It doesn't matter what I look like. Wrong.
So those are my three examples of really, really weak reasons why I should be living a healthy lifestyle. I thought they were really strong reasons at the time, but I can tell you now, looking back, they were super wea. It was all about the destination. It was all about the end result. I didn't fall in love with the journey. So when did everything change? When did things totally turn around for me?
In 2018, I was still struggling with not feeling like myself physically after having my second baby. I read the book “Girl, Wash Your Face”, by Rachel Hollis. One of the chapters in her book was all about not breaking promises to yourself. It was as if someone punched me in the gut. It was as if a light bulb finally went off that I was starting and stopping and breaking this promise to myself over and over and over again. A few months later, I went to a personal growth conference called RISE. It was there that I really learned that I can approach health and fitness from a place that isn't about being a size two but from a place of how I feel.
It was like the brain explode emoji went off that day. I'm telling you. From then on my why totally changed. I had to learn to fall in love with the journey. I had to learn that there was no destination. I had to learn that this is an everyday thing. For the rest of my life. It's a part of my daily life workout to help me manage my stress. Hello. I have two kids under the age of five, and I'm a working mom. I have a lot of stress in my life. My workouts helped me manage my anxiety, too. Working out helps elevate my mood. It helps give me confidence. I just feel better when I'm moving my body. So now my why is not about the destination. It's about the journey.
So what’s my why now? In 2020, I'm a mom, I'm a wife, I'm building my own business, and I'm just trying to be the best person I can be. I'm trying to be just a little bit better than I was yesterday.
I want to live a really long time, and I want to feel good while I'm here on earth. I want to be able to run around and play with my kids and not be tired and sluggish and feeling like I can't keep up because I've got extra weight on me.
I want to be a positive example for my children. I want my daughter and my son to grow up thinking healthy living is the norm. I want them to think that when mommy and daddy work out, that's normal. I want them to see the healthy foods that we have in our home and emulate that when they are older. I want to be a positive example, especially for my daughter, with self-love and body image. I want her to see me loving my body. I want her to see that I work out not as a punishment for my body, but so that my body can thrive for many years to come.
I want to make positive choices and live healthy daily so I can succeed. I'm launching my own business. I am an entrepreneur. I want to succeed. If working out and eating well is going to help me succeed in my business, then sign me up. Because I make healthy choices, I have the energy to write this blog post. I've got the energy to meet with clients and to work on my blog and to work on Instagram.
Mental health and mental well being. In 2020, mental health is a huge topic. We're in the midst of a global pandemic. If there's ever been a time where being mentally well and mentally sound is necessary, it’s right now. The endorphins that I get from working out, and the way my brain feels when I'm making good food choices are so worth the effort. I feel like I'm more present and more lucid. I am more focused and I'm able to hone in on the tasks at hand.
Working out and eating well helps give me self confidence. I do like the way I look when I'm working out. I want to be careful that you don't misunderstand me here. I don't work out to look good, but working out gives me self-confidence. It helps me love my body even more. It gives me that boost of confidence so that I do feel good in the clothes that I put on. So that I do feel good when I'm on a date with my husband. I can tell you when I'm not working out regularly, I don't have that. It's a lot more negative self-talk. I don't love my body when I'm not working out.
So those are my whys now in 2020. Those are my reasons that I live a healthy lifestyle, and why I continue this health journey every single day. It's not a destination. There is no end team.
It's a journey. You have to fall in love with this journey and fall in love with this process.
My challenge for you is to sit down and really think about your reasons why. Why are you working out right now? Why are you following this certain food plan? I want you to be honest with yourself, and you might have some why's that you need to ditch. Then, I want you to write out at least three NEW reasons why. Reasons that are about the journey and not the destination. I want you to write them out. I want you to think about it because I'm telling you if your reasons for working out and eating well are weak and destination driven...you’re going to be so disappointed when you fall off the wagon. Yet again.
If you approach a healthy lifestyle from the inside out, that is the winning recipe. You can't lose from that point of view, you just can't lose. It’s about the journey, not the destination.