If I were to ask what time of year you’d most likely struggle to stay on track, most people in the U.S. would say: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the winter season in general. Not only is this time of year filled with social activities that heavily focus on foods, but the cooler weather also tends to make us stay inside and crave food that may not support our goals. It’s a completely natural response, which is why we think it’s best to go into the season with a plan for staying on track.
What’s Your ‘Big Why?’
The first step for any plan is figuring out why you want to do this in the first place. Your ‘Big Why,’ as we like to call it. What brought you to the AH lifestyle? What’s motivating you to retrain your brain and reduce cravings? Understanding why you do what you do will help keep you motivated.
Temptations of all kinds suddenly seem less important if you know why you want to engage in this lifestyle. Even if you determined what your Big Why was at the start of the program, now is a good time to revisit it. It’s very possible that your reasons have changed at this point. Maybe you’ve met your original goal or that goal has changed. Perhaps what you thought was your Big Why is not actually something that will motivate you long term.
Your Big Why will be different from anyone else’s, but some common ones include wanting to reach a fitness or health goal. Goals like keeping up with your kids or grandkids, or running a 5K, 10K, or even a marathon, or getting your metabolic numbers back on track to prevent diabetes, etc. For a deeper look at the concept of a Big Why, see pages 128 – 130 in Always Hungry? .
My ‘Big Why’ isn’t Working. Now What?
It’s important to remember that the first thing that comes to your mind might not actually be your Big Why. For example, maybe when you first started out on this journey, you decided your Big Why was that you wanted to lose 100 pounds. Now though, you might have been following the program for a few months and are finding it difficult to stay motivated. Or you might constantly miss your old eating habits and allow yourself to slip back into to how you used to eat.
This is always frustrating for people, but one of the easiest ways to get yourself back on track is to realize that your Big Why—the thing that is your biggest motivator—is actually, not that important to you. This is when you reevaluate your original goals.
So, you said you wanted to lose 100 pounds, but why? Think further to understand what your true motivator is. Now you might say, I want to lose 100 pounds because I want to prevent or lessen the effects of diabetes. But why? Your true motivator might actually be that you want to lose 100 pounds… so you can prevent diabetes… and be a good example for your family… or so that your body can participate in all the activities you enjoy doing. These final things are the ones that will keep you motivated, and aren’t just a number on a scale. They are the daily reminders that allow you to add “yet” to any challenges that hold you back. So, I can’t keep up with this activity….yet! But I know that I want to and I know how to get there.
A strong Big Why allows your vision to inform, guide, and inspire your everyday choices.
How To Keep Your Big Why Involved in Your Life
Finding an anchor to keep your Big Why front and center is an effective motivation tool. There are lots of ways to remind yourself of your Big Why. Some of our favorites include:
- a simple bracelet that anchors you and reminds you to think of your Big Why whenever you see it
- a vision board that you build to keep on hand that includes images and sayings to motivate you
- A small photograph of a favorite place, activity, memory, or loved one to hang in your kitchen to remind you of why you began this journey in the first place
If your Big Why isn’t motivating you, it’s time to find a new one. Before the holiday season gets into full swing, reevaluate your Big Why to make sure you know why you’re on this journey with us! If you’re struggling to find a Big Why that works for you, be sure to let us know too. Our Facebook community is great for this!