Have you been thinking about making a change in yourself, or your circumstances, for a while? Do you question (or maybe even secretly doubt) that making this change is possible? Or have you attempted making a change, maybe more than once, only to find yourself slipping back into old patterns, becoming discouraged, and slowly finding yourself back where you started?

I’m fascinated by the possiblity of real change in people. I’m fascinated by the process, too. And I have seen people make signficant, important and lasting changes often enough to know that real change is absolutely possible. One of the most important pieces is, I believe, knowing your why. Why do you have this goal? Why do you want to make this change? What are the benefits you hope to gain? Is there a lifelong dream you wish to realize by this achievement? If you want to lose weight, what do you hope that will get you? Longer life, better quality of life, knowing that you’re in great shape, looking great in your clothes, completing a marathon, keeping up with your kids (or grandkids?) If you are thinking about a new career path, what is your motivation for that? Are you looking for more fulfillment in your day-to-day life? Opportunity to showcase your abilities? More financial opportunity, so that you can afford to send your children to a great college? What is your why? Being able to answer this question can make all the difference in reaching your goal or falling short, so let’s talk about it.

Let’s say you want to begin an exercise program and get in shape? What’s your why? Knowing your why can provide important motivation when the initial excitement of “beginning” wears off, and your alarm clock is going off a half-hour earlier for your 2-mile run. Having a strong “why” can make the difference between getting up and going for it, or turning over and going back to sleep. Your “why” is what empowers you to keep your commitment. Here are some possibilities:

To lose weight, and to maintain that loss, so you can look and feel better;
Your health could be at risk if you don’t make some changes;
You feel (and maybe look) like you have let yourself go;
You know you’ll have more energy, and manage stress better;
You know that exercise is key to aging well, and you want to be healthy and vital in the decades to come;
You want to be a good role model for your children by being active and healthy;
You are going through a major life change – maybe starting a new career, or going back into the workforce – and want to be at your best;
You have a lot on your plate and know that exercise is vital to stress management;
You have a lifelong dream of completing a marathon and now’s the time to do it;
You are ready to be a “new you” and just want to look and feel more beautiful, confident and radiant.

I could easily go on here, but I think you get the idea. Your “why” is what keeps you going when you just don’t feel like it. It’s the motivator, that internal voice that wipes out the excuses that conspire to derail you on your path. Your “why” keeps you moving forward when you are confronted by obstacles or challenges (and you will be…..) It’s part – a big part – of your foundation for change, and if you want your change to be lasting, you have to have a good foundation.

If you’re contemplating making a significant change in your life, before you even get started, spend some time thinking about your why – your reasons for wanting to make this change. Writing them down will make the process even more powerful. Knowing your why can work wonders in setting you up for success in making lasting change. And isn’t this what you want?