By repeatedly asking the question “Why” you can peel away the layers of symptoms and identify the root cause of a problem and then achieving your goal is a lot easier.
The technique was formally developed by Sakichi Toyoda, and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies. We can all learn a thing or two from Toyota since it is one of the biggest automobile company in the world. I would like entertain the idea that the method can also be applied to physical health and fitness.
We start a nutrition plan or fitness program and the most common answer as to why is because we want to get in shape. Here comes the tricky part. Getting in shape for the sake of being in shape doesn’t answer the question and is not emotionally backed. People are emotional beings and our decisions are driven by how they want to feel. Knowing the underlying emotion for wanting to achieve a specific goal is the key to succeeding. The most spread selling pitch in the fitness industry, that includes nutrition and diet, is “Get in shape for the summer” or “Get your beach body ready for the summer”. There is even a company called BeachBody (not picking on it, just came to mind).
Every article, magazine or TV show makes you believe different things why you need to fit within certain body shape or look a certain way. They have tricked us to believing they know what we want by playing with our emotions. The very same emotions which actually drive our behavior toward choosing a particular workout regime or nutrition plan.
Majority of us make emotional decisions every day, but when asked we can’t come up with the reasoning behind it. I will not dive into the emotional aspect this time, because I believe it would be more beneficial to give a practical example which can be used by anyone that will make you understand why you choose your fitness goals.
Why do you want to lose weight –> Because I want to look better
Why do you want to look better –> Because I want to meet my future boyfriend/girlfriend
Why do you want to find a boyfriend/girlfriend –> Because I want to feel loved
In this is one example, where it only took three questions to find the reason for one’s decision, and it has to do with emotion we expect to feel once we become our better version.
Another example could be:
Why do you want to build muscle –>Because I want to look like (pick a name)
Why do you want to look like him –> Because he is popular
Why do you want to be popular –> Because I want to be valued
There are multiple other scenarios and questions you can ask, but the bottom line is that our main drive is always one of our human needs – self-esteem, love, be valued, to be part of a community, etc. If we spend more time answering these questions for ourselves, we would have a better chance for sustainable change in our health and the approach we look at fitness.
How many time have you tried to reach a fitness goal and did not succeed? How many diets, exercise regimen or types of programs have you tried? It is not that you weren’t motivated or didn’t want it bad enough, as they say in those motivational videos. It is very simple. Life gets in the way and there goes our motivation. We don’t stick to our meal plan and stop training, and we eventually give up on our goal.
Having a strong enough and clear Why is what makes the difference. Because then we stick to our commitment and we are able to make lasting behavior changes. The need to motivate ourselves is no longer necessary. Instead of focusing on the outcome we want to achieve, we start making better daily choices.