When you look back, can you point to a few key moments where something happened that completely changed the course of your life? I can too.
In fact, 20 years ago this month, I had one such moment that changed my life radically.
I’ll share the story with you today because it illustrates a powerful principle that can help you achieve any goal that you set for yourself.
It was October 1998. I was 16 years old, 80 pounds overweight, and 10 months into a 26-month chemotherapy protocol to treat leukemia. For the previous 10 months, my life outside the hospital consisted of little more than eating, drinking, sitting and sleeping. I had gotten so weak that I couldn’t even walk a few blocks without getting exhausted, yet up until that October night I had ZERO desire to do anything about it.
That night, after many months of having very little human contact, a few of my friends picked me up and took me to a party. At the party I saw a lot of people that I didn’t know. These people looked fit, healthy, and they exuded a confidence and an energy that I hadn’t felt for a long time. As I walked around this party, I started to feel this burning desire for something better.
After ruminating in those thoughts for an entire evening, I woke up the next day determined to make a change. I immediately went into my dad’s bedroom, grabbed his dumbbells and started to lift them every which way I knew how. After a few weeks of that, I joined my first gym. From then on, exercise became a near daily habit of mine.
As time went on, I began studying nutrition, proper training techniques and supplements. I applied as much as I could, as often as I could, and in 22 months I lost about 80 pounds of body fat, added about 40 pounds of muscle, beat the cancer and got to a point where I could physically handle nearly any challenge. Now, 20 years later, I still haven’t stopped and I’m even more committed to it than I’ve ever been.
So, what exactly happened to me on that cool October night in 1998? What was it that led me to do this 180-degree lifestyle turn?
That night, I developed a compelling reason WHY.
You and I both know that to be successful in anything, it’s not enough to just know what to do. You also must have a strong desire to do it.
How many times have you ever told yourself “I know I should ___” but then you don’t do it?
Maybe you say, “I know I should eat better” or “I know I should exercise more” or “I know I should do something about this pain before it gets worse.”
You’re not alone. Many people struggle with this in different ways.
The thing to keep in mind when there is a disconnect between the “should do’s” of our life and the “do’s” of our life, is that for things to change, we must develop a compelling reason WHY.
That being said, have you stopped to ponder your reasons why?
For instance, why do you want to have less pain?
Why do you want to prevent more serious orthopedic issues?
Why do you want to be more fit?
Why do you want to improve your health?
I can virtually guarantee you that if you have a reason why that is compelling enough to YOU, you will do the work necessary to reach the goal.
That October night, fear became a big part of my reason why. I became truly afraid of what was going to happen to me if I kept on the path that I was on.
A desire for physical freedom also became a big part of my reason why. I became obsessed with the idea of being so fit that I could physically do anything I wanted at any time.
Pride also became part of my reason why. I didn’t like how I felt about myself when I objectively looked at my lifestyle and I didn’t like the idea of being a person that was unwilling to do the work to improve myself.
Of course, over the years my reasons why have evolved significantly. For instance, now that I’m older, the health of my joints has become much more important to me. I want to keep them healthy and feeling good, because if I don’t, I know I won’t be able to maintain my active lifestyle. I thought about this reason today as I did 15 focused minutes of leg muscle activation exercises at my house.
So, my question for you is, what is your reason why?
In other words, how would you fill in these blanks:
I want to achieve ___________ because ____________ and this is important to me because ___________
You may want to also fill in these blanks:
__________ will get better if I ____________
__________ will get worse if I don’t do ___________
Take time with this. You’re answers will help you tremendously, especially when things take longer than expected or you get discouraged for some other reason.
Also, I’d love to hear your answers, so feel free to email me and share them.
Thanks for bringing me on the journey with you. God bless!