I was coaching a client today, and she told me she was struggling with staying focused on her WHY.
(To be clear, I think it's crucial that every client have a strong handle on their "WHY" - meaning; their true reason and motivation for embarking on a lifestyle change journey. Without a clear, defined, and meaningful WHY (what a SMART goals person might call "relevance" or what a spiritual person might call a "higher purpose"), it's hard to stay motivated day in and day out to make the boring-but-consistent moves toward your bigger goals.)
So I asked the client - what is your true WHY for being in my LIFTING WOMEN coaching program? And she somewhat sheepishly replied: "Honestly? It's a better appearance."
Now hey, I ain't out here trying to judge anybody for their WHYs, and if we're all being honest, I think a lot of fitness and nutrition changes are initially motivated by wanting to look mad fly. It's normal.
And with small, incremental changes toward better exercise and dietary habits, the natural byproduct IS going to be an improved physical appearance (including things like clearer skin, glossier hair, and stronger nails) - but the EXTENT to which those changes will happen is in direct proportion to...
...how hard you actually TRY.
That's right, guys - the size of your WHY must determine the size of your TRY.
If your WHY is changing your physical appearance in some drastic manner - big weight loss, six-pack abs, a bodacious backside, whatever it may be - then your TRY has to match those big goals in terms of intensity of effort, consistency, and determination.
I can't tell you how many clients I've had that rate their "commitment to their health goals" at a 9 or 10 on my coaching intake form - only to tell me a few weeks into the process that they "don't have time" to log their food intake, "can't figure out" how to fit 10,000 steps into their daily life, or (my personal fave) that they "don't want to store an exercise ball" in their home gym so they "can't" do any exercises that would require it (sigh).
My point with all three of these? The size of their TRY was tiny, minuscule in fact, in relation to their expressed WHY (which, for each of these clients, was drastic weight loss).
If you are truly committed to your BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) - then you gotta be equally committed to your process, with all of its discomfort, boundary-breaking, frustration, and regression. You gotta be in it 100% if you want to get 100% - and excuses, "I can'ts," and blaming external forces don't even touch the level of TRY that would get you to 100 (for more on this, check out one of my fave motivational books of all time; F*ck Your Feelings).
Now don't let me get you down here with all this tough love - I am not saying you have to make grandiose and massive life-altering changes in order to be successful in health and fitness. In fact, what I most often practice (and preach!) is the exact opposite: moderate your WHY a bit so you can match it to what you're willing and able to give with your TRY.
In other words: be realistic.
There's a reason those 30-day programs where you cut out sugar, carbs, gluten, red meat, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, grains, joy, and life WORK so well and so quickly - the TRY is massive. You have to adjust your daily lifestyle 110% - foregoing nearly all social events, dinners out, or even basic family meals - to get the quick, body-changing results you'd expect from a very short-term, very rigid program.
But what if you thought bigger than that?
What if your WHY didn't change every 30 days, or what if it wasn't so locked into a singular vision of being ripped-shredded or skinny-skinny? What if your WHY, even if it WAS appearance-related, was something like "so I can feel comfortable in the majority of clothes in my closet," or "so I can wake up in the morning and actually smile at what I see in the mirror"?
This level of WHY is what most people actually want - and what nearly anyone can achieve - with some really basic levels of TRY:
Log and plan your food intake, with the majority of your calories (33%ish) coming from the category: protein.
Be aware of how you're moving your body, and have a scheduled routine for that.
Sleep like a normal human being, enough and at proper times.
Drink mostly water.
Find a way to manage and cope that isn't linked to food or alcohol, and if you can't, talk to a professional who can help you disentangle that.
The TRYs really can get that simple, and the WHYs will become so much more possible.
And as always, if you're looking for someone to help you match your TRY to your WHY - that's what I do, all day every day, with my LIFTING WOMEN clients. Reach out for help if you need it, and watch this space for more free, straightforward, healthy lifestyle advice every week.