Starter Guide

What's Your "Why"?

Make it specific, make it realistic—and make weight loss happen!

Getting motivated to lose weight and live healthier is one thing; staying motivated—that's quite another. But a powerful, personal "why" can be the wind at your back, keeping you going even when things get tough. Your "why" isn't necessarily the same as your goal; you might have a specific "weight-I'd-like-to-be" (goal) but your reasons for wanting to be at a certain weight are your "why," the motor that gets you to your destination.


Your Weekly can get you started on framing your "why." It uses some of the elements of the SMART approach, originally devised as a way to set business goals.


While it's a great way to set your own personal goals for work and life, it's also a good template for pinpointing your most personal, effective motivation for losing weight:


Specific. Maybe you want to get back into a certain clothing size or able to participate in a certain activity that you're not quite able to tackle right now. Name it. And state it positively (“I want to be able to ride a rollercoaster,” rather than “I don’t want to have to sit out the rides at the amusement park”) to give your "why" more power.


Measurable. You want to be able to tell you're making progress: You can walk farther without stopping, or your blood pressure is down, or you can fit into a size-smaller jeans.


Achievable. Focus on what you can do—refusing seconds at dinner or cooking more often rather than going out—rather than what you want _other people_to do, like wishing your spouse would stop bringing home ice cream.


Realistic. Make your "why" a good fit with your lifestyle. Running a 10K next month when you've just started walking regularly? Hmm. Maybe not the right motivation at this point. But revving up your walking routine? Yeah, that might be more like it.


Time-bound. Keeping in mind that slow and steady wins the race, set a timeframe for when you hope to have dropped a size, or no longer need a seatbelt extender. Having a date in mind helps you get and stay fired up.

And remember, your "why" might change over time, as you reach goals and/or your priorities change. Want some inspiration? See what has motivated other members.