Answer Your “Why” To Help You Hit Sport, Health, Fitness Goals

January 5, 2021 | Psychology

Dev Mishra, M.D.

President, Sideline Sports Doc

Medical Director, Apeiron Life

Fellow, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Institute For Joint Restoration, Menlo Park, CA


January 5, 2021

Key Points:

  • From author Margie Warrell: “a clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles”
  • A clear answer to your personal “why” can be a powerful motivator to stay on your health and fitness path, while we are still dealing with Covid restrictions

We’ve turned the clock forward to 2021 and there is hope that some time this year we’ll return to what we remember as “normal”. While I’m optimistic we’ll eventually achieve that, I also suspect that the process will take longer than many people think.

So we’re going to have to keep plowing ahead in spite of the restrictions in front of us. Many psychologists say that having a compelling personal reason for “why” you want to achieve something is a powerful motivator to stay on course toward your goal.

An Excellent Summary Of “Why”

I came across this article recently, and although it’s several years old the principles outlined by author Margie Warrell are excellent. Whether you want to improve in some area of your sport performance, fitness, or other area of your life, here are four key points:

  • “What makes you come alive”? Ms. Warrell states that a strong connection to a bigger purpose, something bigger than “you” may be the most powerful motivator to change. For example, a person in his 50s who has a heart attack may be motivated to change diet and fitness habits more by thinking about his family than himself.
  • “What are your innate strengths”?Having a close look at those areas where you feel stronger and more confident and focusing on those is often a better path to success than following the crowd.
  • “Where do you add the greatest value”?If you’re playing a team sport, there may be positions where your unique skills help the team more than others.
  • “How will you measure your life”?Whoa, big big question for most of us! Answering that question might take up most of your life to figure out. But a simpler way to think about this could be to ask yourself what kind of friend/teammate/family member you’d like to be, and consistently work towards that.

Asking “why” is a great place to start, regardless of the goal you’re pursuing. Answering “why” is an even better motivator to finish.

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