What is your “WHY”?

4-95EA3CD1-952312-800PJ here, sharing some motivational thoughts that might inspire you to embrace the challenges in your life today—whether they be writing challenges or fitness challenges. I’ve had several big milestones this week that have motivated me to forge on in spite of the occasional bouts of “to-do-list-itis” that require me to wear more hats than Jackie-O. Let’s face it; the writing life is not for sissies. So when I have a good week, it’s worth celebrating and taking a moment to reflect on what made it so great.

In the past week, I finished the first draft of my current WIP, WESTERN DESERT. That alone is enough to make any writer smile and breathe a sigh of relief. I also celebrated a birthday—not the BIG one, but getting close. Chomping at the heels of a half century of life experience is definitely a wake-up call. It was time to take stock and ask the hard questions. Have I been doing all that I can to ensure a balanced and healthy quality of life? Um…not really. I’ve been sitting too much, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep, and generally overworking for the past couple of years. Sound familiar? Like most people, I have plenty of reasons WHY my life is so hectic. After all, I run two businesses full time and have a house to maintain. But when I look at what’s holding me back from my highest good, I realize that all of the reasons “WHY,” no matter how valid, added up to a bunch of excuses. Since attempting to turn over a new leaf, the past few months have been much better, but still not enough change to suit me or meet my weight-loss and life balance goals. I needed to go beyond “trying” and find that thing that would motivate me to succeed. I needed a better “WHY”.

For me, the only “WHY” I need to focus on is “WHY do I want to be my best, healthiest, most balanced self?” The answer is simple, really. I want the second half of my life to be full, happy, and healthy. I want to have the energy to do all that I need or want to do. I want to be here for my family and friends for a very long time, and I want quality living for as many days as I have in the rest of this lifetime. Is there any better motivation for making your health a priority?

In response to my “uh-oh” moment several weeks ago when I stepped on a scale for the first time in a few months and saw a number I’d only seen once before (when I was pregnant with my first son), I started a new exercise regimen. I found the Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution ninety-day program on an info-mercial and was immediately drawn to the concept of a thirty minute a day commitment. I figured I could do anything for thirty minutes a day. It seemed like just what I needed to beef up my exercise routine and challenge myself to get fit—a challenge I readily accepted, being that I was getting nowhere doing it on my own. Even though I’m a personal trainer, I too have difficulty working myself out to my fullest potential. We all need a push now and then. As Jillian says, “We all need to have a WHY that makes any amount of hard work worth it.” A couple of weeks into the program and I’m six pounds lighter and feeling better already.

I encourage you to take a look at your life and ask yourself what’s holding you back from your highest good.

UNLOCKED SECRET: Discover your “WHY” and make a new commitment to doing everything within your power to take control of your health. NO EXCUSES!
What is the “WHY” in your life? That reason/goal/motivation that would make any amount of work worth the effort it took to be your best you.

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23 thoughts on “What is your “WHY”?”

  1. PJ, I so agree with you. I too did a self evaluation at a mile-marker age. Goof health is what it’s all about. Without it, I could never accomplish the things I want to do in this life/ My fed-up with fat moment came last year. I joined a gym, but recently added a personal trainer to the mix. I may not be skinnier, but I am stronger and more flexible than I’ve been in eons.

    1. That’s awesome, Joy. I’ve always told my clients that weight and fitness don’t necessarily go hand in hand. As we get older, it’s pretty normal for our bodies to find a new “healthy weight.” If you are strong, flexible, and have good endurance, the number is much less important. For me, it’s more about feeling good about myself and being comfortable in my skin–and my clothes. The number on the scale is less important to me than maintaining a size 8 frame that feels fit and healthy (a lifelong goal for me.) That, and going out of this world with everything I came in with:-)

  2. Hi PJ. What a wake-up call! I too have done an evaluation. Dieting alone I lost 15 pounds, but then hit the wall. I think I will invest in getting that DVD because I need to move more. Sitting all day at a desk, and then all evening in front of my computer is not such a good idea. Although my mind is running and my fingers racing over the keyboard, that’s about the only exercise I’m getting (aside from lifting my fork to my mouth … don’t laugh, my arm is very slim). My why is simple too. I want the remainder of my life to be healthy so I could enjoy my new grandbaby. I’m planning on dancing at her wedding (please keep in mind she is only 6 months old). I know I have discipline. I can do this. Thanks for the pep talk.

    1. That is an excellent “WHY” Gerri! I recommend the program because I can see its effectiveness so quickly, but I’ve got to say, it’s anything but easy. Even the phase one routine is kicking my butt and I was in relatively decent shape starting out. If you haven’t worked out in a while, plan to be a “hurtin’ unit” afterwards:-)

  3. Great post, PJ~

    I totally feel what you’re saying. I wasn’t a personal trainer, but a group fitness instructor. It was pretty easy for me to maintain good health when I had cardio and weight training workouts pre-planned into my weekly schedule. Then 18 months ago, I had back surgery. It was what they call “level one,” so I recovered quickly – but not before getting knocked onto my butt and gaining 20 pounds.

    My gym has since closed and I have a spinning bike that I use religiously. It’s a far cry from motivating a room full of people ot ride harder, faster, longer, but it is what it is. I’ll check out JM, though I need to take care not to irritate my back. Thanks for the tip!

    1. I’m sure your form and your body awareness will help you figure out how to moderate the workouts so they are safe for your back. Just start slow and work to your tolerance.Good luck, Lynda.

  4. You have motivated me! I’m in full blown menopause and I see my middle getting bigger. I’m checking out Jillian’s program. I can eek out 30 minutes without it feeling like a huge burden on my time. My Why? Like yours, I want to feel good, be able to enjoy the rest of my life fully. I do not want to be my parents suffering avoidable health issues.
    Great post!

    1. Excellent, Sandy. I’m glad to help! You’ll love/hate Jillian’s evil determination to make you fit, LOL.

      As massage therapists we see all kinds of bodies on our tables, some healthy and some…not so much. It becomes very clear who the people are who take care of themselves and those who are a stone’s throw away from long term health issues. Disease doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of the aging process when so many diseases are preventable.

      It’s not like any of us are getting out alive, but I have some really healthy seniors that I work with who are an inspiration. Genetics probably plays a huge role as well as good habits, but since we can’t control genetics (unless you’re living in my character Lily Carmichael’s future world), the only thing we can do is level the playing field by controlling what we can.

    1. I agree, TL! I’m so much happier, energetic, and motivated after I finish my thirty minute workouts. Digging deep and finding my reserves–those moments of pushing past the wall–makes the rest of my day seem really doable. That attitude spills over into every other part of my life and definitely makes me more productive. Thanks for stopping in:-)

  5. This is great, Paula. Yes, I too have found that being a full-time writer enhances almost every area of my life…except the fitness thing. Am checking out JM right now. Question: Do you need to buy her extra equipment (bands, etc) or just the DVDs?

    1. The band came with the program. If for some reason they want you to buy it and are asking a lot, comparison shop for one at your local sporting good’s store. All you really need is a mat and some dumbells. I’d start with 3#, 5#, and 8# weights.

  6. Great post, Paula! My WHY for exercise has been to get back down to this number or that, mostly to prove I can still do it. But that’s not the most motivating WHY, is it? So I think I may step back and find a new WHY that’s a positive rather than a negative. Thanks!

    1. I hear you, Jesse. We get really stuck on the numbers game and I’ll confess to having a target weight that I’d like to maintain. But that isn’t always the most realistic approach since our weight fluctuates with hormonal changes, season, and nutritional needs. Instead of a certain number, I look at more of a range. My healthy weight can fluctuate up or down 5-10 pounds every year and I’m okay with that. What i don’t want to see is that high range become the low end of the scale:-) And you’re right…it’s not the most positive indicator for health

      Having an incentive that hits to our core and motivates us from the very depths of our soul is going to be a lot more effective in the long term than achieving any set number. Especially when those chocolate chip cookies are calling out to us:-)

  7. Great post, PJ. A few weeks ago, I shared with my writer buddies a line I took from Allison Brennan: If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

    I took charge of my health last year, and now I’m starting phase 2. I’m in the third week of the second month with my trainer, who’s also my tennis pro. We do 3 hours at the gym and 3 hours on the court per week. It’s a lot. At first, I grumbled and kept reminding him I wasn’t 20 anymore.

    But this weekend, I played in a tournament, and everything I’ve been doing paid off. I moved well, I hit hard, I wasn’t tired at all.

    Now, if I could find a writer personal trainer, I’d be golden. 😉

    1. So true, Carole! That would be awesome…someone to stand over me and crack the whip when I want to procrastinate or I’m not meeting my word count goals. Fabulous idea! Hmmm…now who would I want for that job? Perhaps Alex O’laughlin is free:-)

  8. Good post. I do a mish mosh of workouts, including one by Jillian, some by Gold’s Gym, some by Gilad Janklowicz, who is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. I also do Zumba, boot camps, yoga, and so on. I just try to work out to my fullest potential each day. I also started eating closer to vegan last year, and it’s been great. I do it because I’ve always been a bit of a healthy type person, and I want to continue to be strong, healthy, and happy. Because I’m going to live to be 120 years old. At least. 🙂

    1. I used to say that too, Suzanne…about living to 120. These days, I’ll be happy to live a healthy 80 or 90. After that, I think it’s pretty much down hill:-)

      I love Gilad as well. He’s always fun and entertaining. Thanks for stopping by.

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