I see people asking health and fitness questions in online forums.
Inevitably, someone will pipe up and say, “What’s your why?” or “What are your goals?”
We’ve been trained by multi-level marketing company trainings that if we focus on our “whys” or keep our eyes on our goals, the rest just melts away.
It doesn’t. It’s a creepy, sales-y question that uncovers someone’s superficial goal. And it helps neither the person who asked the question nor the person giving advice.
Superficial goal: I want to lose weight.
Real goal: I want to be more confident, and I think weight loss is the path to happiness, or at least I’m hoping it is, because I see happy people in bikinis on Instagram.
Superficial goal: I want to get toned.
Real goal: I want to have more muscles, because I feel inadequate and I think having a better body will be more validating.
Asking someone what their “goal” is is never, ever, ever going to give anyone the real answer. Who’s going to legitimately say that they are insecure and think muscles will be the answer in a forum or in a pre-visit survey at a gym? Or that they want to lose weight because culture has indoctrinated us with the belief that happiness is found in a toned body? I’m going with: nobody.
Ask a vapid but deep-sounding question, get a vapid but deep-sounding answer: “My why is my kids.” Hearts melt and solutions are given, but none of them actually relate to the person’s real reason. Everyone’s frustrated, because the trainer either did or didn’t deliver “the solution,” so at the end of a day or week or year, the solution fades away and the cycle begins again. This is a willpower-based model of fitness, nutrition, and health.
The real question isn’t a single question. It’s also never about a “goal.” Self-worth, body image, and the way you maintain your body isn’t a “goal” or an “achievement:” it’s a lifelong commitment and a daily series of micro-choices. You can’t control that or corral into a single crowning moment of “What’s your why?”
It’s hard, hard work to dig underneath.
There often isn’t a single “why.” To get to it is, as my clients say, “like therapy.” I’m not a therapist; I’m a coach. A coach shares their own struggles, experiences, and lessons.
And I can tell you right now, mine have never been about a “goal” or a “why.” They’ve been about my real human inadequacies and deeply rooted beliefs. Real time and energy pull on my loaded schedule, and I experience real pitfalls/wake-up calls/pain/challenges/lessons.
Let’s get real. And stop asking simpleton questions about what your “why” is and hoping to find meaning in a superficial answer.