To achieve real, lasting change, many people have to confront the emotional pain or discomfort that’s making them want that change.
Once they do, their true motivation is crystalized. And that’s often far more powerful than any single exercise plan or diet approach.
The challenge is uncovering it.
When it comes to goals, people usually talk about losing fat or moving better or getting healthy. All fine aspirations, indeed.
But for many of us, these goals aren’t very meaningful in the context of our everyday lives. They’re more like health and fitness clichés.
Our true motivations run much deeper than having a “bikini body” or “sleeve-busting arms” (as the ads and coverlines promise).
That’s the surface level stuff we think we want.
Sure, these types of goals might inspire you to show up for six weeks of training and cut back on alcohol for a while. But for most people, how much do they really matter?
How easy are they to give up on?
On the other hand… you know what’s way more motivating?
Wanting to be able to take care of your child or grandchild so badly that months of new habits, tiring workouts, and saying no to cupcakes in the break room seemed like the only choice. It wasn’t just a “look better” fitness goal—it’s a burning passion.
For me, it's to live. To fully live. Not just go through the motions of life. To soak in every moment with my kiddos. To play when they want to play. To be active and keep up with them. To go on adventures and not worry about if I'm healthy enough.
Discovering why you really want to change gives you resolve.
A wise person (okay, it was Tony Robbins) once said: “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
There’s just one problem: A lot of us never actually get to the root of what’s bothering us. We don’t face our pain or discomfort because it’s uncomfortable. As a result, we’re much more likely to stay the same.
Find your pain… to stoke your passion.
Sometimes, pain will be obvious: divorce, a scary diagnosis, the loss of a loved one. This kind of pain is easy to identify. It’s right there in front of you, flagging you down.
Other times, pain can be more subtle: It’s hiding in a dark corner of the basement—always there, even if you aren’t constantly aware of it.
Maybe it stems from all those times you were picked last as a kid. Or from that “harmless” comment a loved one made about your body… or about someone else’s body (who looks like you).
These hits of pain may not feel that impactful in the moment, but over time, they accrue power and influence over your actions and self-worth.
The result? Pain that’s hidden can crop up as:
These examples all suggest there’s trouble below the surface. Pain is discouraging you and holding you back. If you can access the source of this emotional discomfort, you can use it to achieve serious change.
Next week I’ll share three steps on how to do just that.
Nourish your purpose now,