When I ask people why they want to change their lives, I usually get vague answers of “to be healthier” or “to lose weight” and even an occasional “to live longer”. Yes those are good concepts, but how will you know when you’ve achieved them? They aren’t really measurable in any meaningful way, especially in the short-term. Instead, they are just specific enough to give you a direction (and a direction is good) but still vague enough to give you all the excuses and outs you could ever need. If your only goal is to be somewhere else, then you can stop walking any time and still call yourself a success. If your only goal is to live longer then congratulations, you’ve made it.
There is value in the little things: the small eating victories, the footsteps in the middle of the thousand-mile journey, and overcoming the inertia of inactivity. These are necessary steps to progress toward any larger goal. But they are just that: steps. Without a deeper reason, the footsteps gradually stop when the hill gets steep.
Until you truly commit, you’ll never be committed. Sounds simple right? Common sense even. And yet, I find more and more people with goals they haven’t really committed to. They have a diet they are “trying out” or a gym they “go to” or a sport they “like”. What’s wrong with that? Nothing – if you don’t mind staying in the grey areas of life and never really becoming anything you feel proud of.
If your only goal is to live longer then congratulations, you’ve made it.
How about we try something different – let’s operate without a safety net. Let’s cut out the noise of advertising and our friends and the lifestyle we thought we’d live. Forget your job, your education, your bills… We need to boil life down and distill it so the only thing left is what we’d be willing to suffer, or die, for. To succeed, you have to risk failure.
What will you suffer for? What gets you out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday when your alarm is set for 7? Why would you decide to skip the donut for breakfast or put down the controller and go outside? What is it that keeps you running even after the blisters have come? What pushes you through those last 3 reps when your heart is one continuous beat and your yelling drowns out the music? I’ll tell you… It’s your “why”?
Your “why” is your base set of values; the core of who you are. It’s the filter you see the world through and it determines the choices you make. Figuring out your own personal “why” can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do as well as one of the most challenging. Start asking yourself what it is that drives you, what it is that you’d sacrifice for. Only then can you begin committing your time and energy into something that really matters. And that’s the difference between failure and success.