In this week’s discussion, we are going to talk about finding the “why” and how having a “why” can help in making better choices. All people are capable of real change, they only need the right motivation. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that you can’t help someone unless they want to help themselves first. This is a very true statement. Unless we have found our own “why” or reason(s) to change and make better choices, we are usually content to stay in the situation we are in currently. A lot of times, those changes don’t come until we’ve reached rock bottom. You can see this a lot with people who are overweight and have a health scare who then find the motivation that they need to become healthy. However, reaching rock bottom is not a requirement for change. We are all capable of changing and making better choices, we only need to discover our “why.” 

There are many reasons or “whys” for making better choices. However, those reasons can usually be limited to three main categories. Therefore, week three will be about those three reasons. Each of these reasons can be broken down into multiple categories but each reason is a good place to start to find your “why.” These “whys” can be easily remembered as the three F’s. Which are friends, family, and future self. 

Friends- The first “why” are friends. Friends can be a good motivator. Especially if you have a friend that you look up to and admire. If there is a friend that you look up to and admire, and they are in a place in their life that you would like to be in yours, you can use that friend as a great motivator to help in making the choices necessary to get where you’d like to be. This is not a competition or game. This is the same idea as exercising with a friend. Many health enthusiasts recommend having a workout buddy because it can help to motivate you. Sometimes it’s easier to do the hard things when you have someone you love and trust standing beside you with similar goals, helping you and encouraging you. 

Family- The second “why” is family. Not everyone’s family is perfect, granted. But there is great motivation to be found in a family. Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, cousin, or sibling–using your family to help and motivate you is a great way to make better choices. Whether it’s your children and a desire to make a better life for them, your parents and a desire to make them proud of you, or a more distant relative like an uncle, aunt, cousin, or grandparent who you look up to and admire. Find someone in your family who motivates you and use that person as a way to make better choices. 

Future Self- The last and most important motivating “why” is your future self. This “why” is probably more important than the others in that it can be the “why” that inspires greater, more long-lasting change. However, this is also probably the hardest “why” to attain because a lot of times it requires that we reach rock bottom, or sometimes what feels like rock bottom to obtain it. This can also be the hardest emotionally because it requires a lot of self-discovery and honest self-evaluation. It also requires a lot more discipline because the “why” is something you can’t really see right now. 

For instance, in an article titled How Every Single Decision Affects Your Future (+4 Ways to Be More Decisive) Lidiya K gives a great example of how using the self as your “why” can be difficult. She suggests asking yourself if your future self will be happy with the choice you’re about to make. But then she goes on to point out how difficult that can be. She states, “When it comes down to eating junk food, for instance, it won’t be, for sure. You may feel the instant satisfaction this kind of food brings, but you’re making future you fat and in bad shape.” It is difficult to see that future self and fully understand the weight of the choices we are making and their consequences. A lot of times bad decisions are made through the lens of what will give us instant satisfaction and a lot of times that instant satisfaction is just that–an instant. We sacrifice our future selves for that momentary pleasure. Therefore, the “why” of future self may be the hardest to obtain but probably the most worthwhile. 

In a Time Magazine article, J.D. Meier shares 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others. As part of the piece, he too talks about finding the “why” that motivates us. He suggests that we find the “why” that motivates us and then turn it into a “one-liner” which we can repeat to ourselves when we face setbacks. He argues that this “gets me back on track, sharing the best of what I know.” Meier also states that “If you can master motivation, you can deal with life’s setbacks, as well as inspire yourself to always find a way forward, and create new experiences for yourself, and follow your growth.” And so, we must find our motivation for making better choices. If we want to change ourselves for the better and create our destiny, we must be willing to make the choices that lead us to where we want to go. Find your motivation today and get back on track. 

Homework: As homework for this week take some time to find your “why.” Examine your life, your goals, your family, your friends and try to establish a “why” that motivates you. Once you have found your “why” write it down, put it on your wall where you can see it every day and repeat it to yourself daily and especially when you face setbacks. 

Author: Briana Pugh

Sources: 

Lidiya K.: https://letsreachsuccess.com/2015/07/03/decisions/ Time: http://time.com/4262774/motivation-ways/

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