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When Changing Your Habits Remember Your Why

When Changing Your Habits Remember Your Why

By Mike Drak

Yesterday I was going to blow off going to the pool, and getting my workout in. It was cold outside and I really didn’t feel like going but what saved me was my strong “why” for going.

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” – Kenneth Blanchard

I knew from past experience that willpower alone wasn’t going to be enough to get me to the pool that day. Using willpower requires a great deal of effort and energy because when you are not fully committed to something there is a constant internal conflict going on inside you. You are pushing yourself to do something that you know is good for you, but when your heart really isn’t in it you will probably end up failing more times than not.

To Succeed You Need To Have A Strong “Why”

“Why” is your reason for doing what you are attempting to do. Ask yourself “Why” is it so important for you to make it to the pool/gym and get your workout in? Why is it so important that you lose weight and eat healthy foods?

  • Maybe it’s because you love your family and you want to maximize the time you can spend with them on this planet.
  • Maybe it’s because you want to have enough energy to play with your grandkids, and be around for their graduation.
  • Maybe it’s because you want to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded and feeling like you are going to have a heart attack.
  • Maybe it’s because you want to avoid going to a nursing home.

Instead of relying on willpower to force ourselves to do something we use our “why” as the driving force – the reason to do something so we can reap the benefits.

Ask yourself if your self-destructive lifestyle is more important than the love of your family? Isn’t it more important to get healthy so you can spend more time with them? Answering these questions honestly should give you all the ‘why” that you need.

So why do you continue to do what you do? And the answer is because you forget about your “why.”

When you know your “why” you’ll not be tempted to skip your gym workout, eat that big bag of bbq chips, drink another beer or give up on that new business that you just started. You’ll stay on track, and show up and do the work because you know exactly what the payoff will be and you want that payoff bad.

Bottom line, if you don’t have a strong “why” and only rely on willpower, chances are you will end up getting what you have always gotten.

Create Some New Good Habits For Yourself

It takes willpower and a strong ‘why” at first to create a new habit, but once it is firmly in place, you no longer have to use willpower anymore. For instance, to help me lose weight I have made it a habit not to eat dessert. Now that it is a habit, it’s automatic, I don’t think about it, and I no longer have to struggle with that decision anymore every time I go out for dinner.

Retirement becomes so much simpler when we already know what to do without thinking about it. The daily decision about whether you should go to the gym or sit on the couch and watch Netflix is eliminated and that helps us avoid a lot of stress.

I’m happy to say that I made it to the pool that day. It’s the showing up part that is hard for me but I have a strong enough “why” to get me there.

So what’s your why for doing what you do?

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Mike Drak

Author, Retirement Coach and Public Speaker at Victory Lap Retirement
Mike Drak is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada. Mike is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and also an award winning blogger, retirement coach and public speaker. Mike has also appeared on BNN, CBC Radio and iHeart radio.