Finding motivation to do hard things — like waking up early to work out — is hard.
While saying ‘hard things are hard’ isn’t so profound, finding the right motivation, “why,” or purpose will propel you towards living a healthy life.
Honestly, anything to make it a bit easier is helpful because fitness and nutrition require hard work, consistency, and discipline. These things go against human nature.
With intrinsic motivation and a meaningful “why,” the odds of developing and sustaining a healthy lifestyle are massively increased.
Identifying your why to live healthy will make motivation and consistent progress the new norm.
In this article, we’ll share what the science says, inspiring anecdotes, real-life examples, and a 5-step process to help you find your why.
find your why to live a healthy lifestyle
When we ask you to ‘find your why,’ we’re asking you to find your sense of purpose.
It seems like a daunting question, but we’ll let you in on a secret: it doesn’t mean that you need to figure out the whole life-changing, fully-encompassing “why” of your life. It means connecting what you’re doing now to a larger purpose that resonates with you.
While finding you why and sense of purpose seems like a lofty and existential goal, there are real, concrete benefits that people report when they connect purpose with their [love, work, family, you name it] life.
According to ScienceofPurpose.org, the most comprehensive collection of research on purpose, purpose has been found to affect nearly every area of life.
Purpose can boost your career, relationships, and health, and can even propel companies, profit, equity values, and human capital. That’s why 2 out of every 3 people will pay more for a product when the brand has a clear purpose, according to NielsenIQ.
Let’s focus on how purpose impacts relationships and health — something our website and life purpose is strongly connected with.
How Purpose Affects Well-Being
To us, the University of Pennsylvania puts it best when they found that purpose is correlated with greater ease of making healthy choices.
This snowballs into a wide variety of health impacts from improved sleep to better mental health to better coping mechanisms during adversity to lowering your risk of stroke by 50%.
In fact, life purpose has been found to increase lifespan 7 years by lowering total mortality risk.
And when it comes to relationships, the news is even better. Your chances of feeling in love increase 31%, and you’ll have stronger ties with your partner and friends, plus higher sexual satisfaction.
This is sounding too good to be true, but how do we go about finding our own “why” to start reaping these benefits?
Below we’ll share with you a few stories, examples, and the five steps to follow that will guide you towards finding your “why.”
Examples to find your why
Finding your why is innately personal, but the motivation and sense of purpose need to be strong to provide motivation. Here are a few common examples to consider, along with an anecdote, and how we found our why.
- Staying active so that you can play with your kids
- Eating healthy to get off your medications
- Working on projects in your spare time that bring the community together
- Showing your kids how to exercise to be a role model to your family
- Walking instead of driving to lower your carbon emissions
- Eating vegetables and less meat to keep strong for immunocompromised family members
- Working out to accomplish a life goal, like summiting a mountain or running a marathon
- Quitting smoking in order to walk down the aisle at your daughter’s wedding
- Starting a business to help your community
- Trying couples coaching to maintain a great marriage and friendship with your spouse
- Writing a paragraph every day to accomplish your bucket list goal of writing a book
- Cooking dinner every night to keep your family healthy
See a trend here? Things like family, life goals, and community provide a strong sense of purpose. Here are a few stories to really let it set in before we hit the 5-step guide to help you find your why.
Let me introduce you to Jeremy Jost. I read his story in The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life by Tony Horton.
Jeremy was a 370-pound, once all-star athlete, wrestling coach, and dad. One day, he was driving with the head wrestling coach to a tournament to cheer on his two young boys.
In the car, the head coach told him, “I buried a friend last week. He was 40 years old, just like you. If you don’t do something about your health, you’ll be in the same place.
He had young kids like you too. Kids young, wife young… Are you confident that the next guy who comes along is going to take care of them as well as you do?”
At that moment, Jeremy found his why: his family.
In the following years, he transformed his life, lost hundreds of pounds, and was a better father and husband. The work came to him easily because it was aligned with his why.
For Alex and I, eating right and exercising are tools that we use every day to create a better life for ourselves and our daughter.
We aim to eat right (most of the time) and do at-home workouts for 20-30 minutes, 5 days a week (again, we do our best). Additionally, we try to stay active day-to-day, mainly by walking to the grocery store and then hiking on the weekends.
It’s not a perfect plan and we’re still not perfect at it, but the years of doing it has now been ingrained in us. We love how it’s simple yet:
- Improves our mood
- Gives us energy to pursue new opportunities
- Positively influences those close to us
- Maximizes our physical capabilities so we can derive more fulfillment from our adventures
- Prepares us to raise a healthy family.
Raising a healthy and active family is our purpose and motivation.
In the next section, the five steps to finding your why will help identify meaningful motivation.
Once you have identified this, the next step is to learn how to write goals that (according to science) are more achievable.
How to find your why
This is a process that will help you identify your why by becoming aligned with intrinsic motivations.
Intrinsic motivation is not based on ego or external (extrinsic) benefits, instead, it has deep emotional or internal importance. Think “I want to look good on the beach,” versus “I want to have more energy to keep up with my kids.”
1. Create a Pros and Cons List
Let’s use some of the most proven tools out there – a pen, paper, and a pros and cons chart.
This one is straight from Tony Horton himself. Title the chart “Living a healthy lifestyle.” Take plenty of time listing all your pros and cons of living a healthy lifestyle.
Find a quiet place and focus on this task only. Since finding your why to live a healthy lifestyle is clearly very important to you.
2. Label Any Excuses
Now that you have your list, use your pen to cross out any con (the con side is likely longer) that could be considered an excuse.
This is a good time to pause and give yourself a confidence boost. You can accomplish way more than you think you can. Once you identify your why for focusing on health, fitness, and nutrition, those excuses won’t stand a chance.
3. Recognize Fear and Limitation
Now that the excuses are scratched off the list, cross out any cons that are based on fear or perceived limitations.
Just because you haven’t succeeded in the past doesn’t mean you can’t in the future. Plus, we have to recognize that we dislike the things we’re not good at and therefore actively avoid it.
For me, that means I would have given up on cooking. For Alex, she would have stopped practicing yoga years ago. However, we worked at it and now both of these things are part of our weekly routine.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people stop weight lifting or cardio because of some similar excuse. It all boiling down to the fact that they didn’t like it because they weren’t good at it.
To discover your why and let it propel you forward, you’ll need to change your mindset and accept that only practice makes perfect.
4. Be Honest About Your Priorities
Next, cross out any reason that is based on false priorities. In fact, we can’t think of one thing that should take priority over your health.
Your health is even more of a priority than the needs of your children. Why? Because, if you’re not healthy, the family can’t be healthy.
We all have 24-hours in a day. Instead of working against the clock, prioritization can make the clockwork for you. Consider downloading our free Habit Tracker printable to start and organize your tasks for the long-term and short-term goals that will get you there.
5. Use The Pros As Motivation
Finally, on the pro side of the list, cross out any extrinsic reasons to live a healthy lifestyle as those won’t motivate you long term.
The remaining reasons on the pro side make up your why for living a healthy lifestyle. Congrats! You have found your why.
These reasons have a great deal of emotional attachment. Share your why in the comments section below so we can hold you accountable.
Now that you have found your why, or whys, use them to outweigh any remaining cons. Forget the scale, forget the mistakes, forget comparing yourself to others, and now that you have found your why, focus on that.
Strengthen Your Why As A Duo
Congratulations. You have followed our 5-step process to find your why and are motivated (intrinsically) to live a healthy life. Developing a healthy lifestyle as a couple is a huge asset that will bolster your new-found why.
If one partner is healthy but the other isn’t, it makes the other feel insecure, overwhelmed, or jealous. On the other hand, the “healthier” partner may feel like their hard work isn’t appreciated or feel derailed if their partner is pushing poor choices on them.
At Ryan and Alex Duo Life, we know that fitness is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle together. But there is so much more to a Duo Life than just fitness.
Now that you have identified your why, we have the resources and programs that you need to live your best life together. Here are some tools the help inspire your Duo Life.
Enroll in our Just Duo It Program to strengthen your mind, body and marriage.
Place your bet and sign up for our Couple’s Clean Week program, that is free if you stay on track and finish successfully.
30-Day Weight Loss Challenge
As engineers with a combined twelve years of health coaching experience, we needed to create a data-driven way for our clients to sustain weight loss.
Too many weight loss challenges involve a long list of what you can, cannot, and need to do every day. We’ve reduced the overwhelm and only require you to track five numbers a day — calories, steps, fiber, sleep, and waistline.
You’ll track five numbers daily to give you the highest return for sustainable weight loss. As a bonus, we’ll share our Weight Loss Bundle, which includes strategies, progress tracking tools, and additional weight loss plans.
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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