How many times have you heard someone tell you they want to 'lose weight'? Maybe you've even said it to yourself. But what someone chooses to tell you and what truly motivates them to change can be two completely different things. In this article, I'll help you uncover your own reason for wanting to do something, which you can then use to help drive you on until you reach that goal.
Many coaches, in my humble opinion, spend way too much time talking and trying to impress people with how knowledgeable they are and just information dumping on people to prove a point/make them feel small. The best coaches I've worked with take time to listen. They tune in to what they are being told, reflect on it and dig deeply with questions until no stone is left unturned. As Voltaire said, 'judge a man by his questions rather than his answers'.
For some, that ability comes naturally and for the rest, it has to be learnt if they choose to do so. For me, I'm somewhere in the middle having always been more of a listener than a talker but to really get to know people, I make a conscious effort to keep asking thoughtful questions until I know what makes them tick.
To help me do that, I use the '5 Whys' which was originally created by Toyota. It quite simply starts with someone's statement, like 'I want to lose weight', and through a series of asking why that previous answer is important/matters to them, cuts to the core reason they want that thing.
Here's an example of how that conversation could typically go with my favourite client, Percy Verence: -
- Percy: I want to lose weight.
Me: That's great to hear, by why do you want to lose weight?
- Percy: So my trousers don't feel like they're going to cut me in two.
Me: That makes sense to me. Why is that important to you?
- Percy: Because I think I'll feel better about myself when that happens.
Me: Awesome Percy, you're really putting some thought in to this. What difference do you think feeling better about yourself will make?
- Percy: I'll be more confident, especially in social situations and when on holiday.
Me: And why does that matter?
- Percy: I want to feel like I used to before putting on weight when I was a fun, outgoing and happy person.
Me: I think a lot of people can relate to that Percy, including me. And why is feeling that way important to you?
Percy's final answer (the motivator) - I want to enjoy spending time with my family and set a good example for my kids.
So on the face of it, Mr Verence just wants to lose weight. But the real reason he wants to do that, which runs much deeper and will be a stronger driver than his first statement, is so he can enjoy his down time, his children can look up to him and see him as a role model.
The next step is to take that motivator and visualise what that would look like in the future. And when things get tough with a new eating and exercise/training regime, that image can help motivate Percy to break through his sticking point and any doubts he might be having.
So now it's your turn if getting in to shape matters to you. Its one thing knowing where you want to get to but another thing being able to clearly picture it. Doing so can help you get there faster and less painfully too. Have a think about the following questions and see where your answers take you by following the 5 Whys: -
- What REALLY matters to you and makes you tick?
- By the end of 2017, what sort of person do you picture yourself being?
- And when you get there, how do you want to feel?
Write down your ultimate motivator on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge or somewhere obvious to keep reminding you why you want that thing you're striving for. And if you need any more help with finding your own motivator or don’t know where to start, feel free to contact me. Happy self-exploration!
Written by Ben Lawrence, Certified Nutrition Coach