By Tracy Bove-Dias

“I can’t”…one of THE most dangerous statements in our vocabulary. 

A few weeks ago, someone commented on a post about sticking to an “eating plan”. The comment read “I don’t have the will power and I can’t stick to a plan.”

When I hear “I can’t”, I  cringe.  When my teenage son uses that language. I ask “Don’t you REALLY mean you won’t? “ Aren’t you just saying you have no desire? Or is it because you don’t have the confidence yet? 

The real answer is- both. You  need the confidence. But without a burning reason “why”, what’s your to motivation to change?

No one willingly adjusts their eating without a good reason. 

But once they have a reason- it makes sticking with the change so much easier. It’s no longer a punishment. 

This is true about ANYTHING. No one makes a change without a reason. A benefit. Something compelling. The only time someone changes without a reason is because they’re forced. And let’s be honest, if you’re forced, you will not stick with it. 

Think about it. Why would you eat less snacks, torture your body exercising,, leave your job, …without a reason?

You wouldn’t. It puts you outside your comfort zone. It feels like punishment. And heck- we lose sight of the long term impact of NOT changing.

But finding your “why” is not as simple as you think. You need to dig deep. In Sales, they say you should  ask buyers “why” 5 times (The “Five Whys” theory  by Sakichi Toyoda, Instituted at Toyota Motors). By the 5th “Why”, you get to the heart of the buyers needs and intentions. And boy, does that change the trajectory of the sale. 

Similarly, just as with getting to your buyer’s “why” in sales, the more you dig for your personal “Why”, the more you’ll uncover the true source of why you want this goal so badly. 

Let’s give it a try…

“I want to get in shape.”

Why #1- I want to look good

Why #2- I want to be more toned 

Why # 3- I want to look good in a bikini

Why # 4 – I have a beach vacation coming up in 3 months

Why # 5 –  I haven’t wore a bikini in 10 years since having my 3 children. I’ve done nothing for myself.  This vacation is MY chance to focus on getting back to who I was.

Damn! Now that’s powerful. Do you feel the emotion in that last answer?

I want to get back to who I was. Focus on ME . This would fuel me to change!

Next- you need to decide on your level of commitment. For example, if you’re finally going to knock sugar out of your diet, are you  going to go “all out”? No sugar starting tomorrow? No sugar at night? No soda? In order to answer this, you really need to know yourself. Are you an “all or nothing” person? Or do you need to ease into things? 

How about writing a book? Can you go “all out” and knock it put in a month? Or does your creativity flow in waves? 

The point is- you need to know who you are and how realistic your commitment level is to YOU. Not based on what your spouse says, or what an article may say or even how Albert Einstein accomplished something. 

You do you. 

Personally- I never do something at a level I can’t sustain forever. My favorite expression is  “consistency compounds”. I know if I find a way to start something at a level I can sustain, I’m successful. 

The idea of CHOOSING your level of commitment puts YOU in the driver’s seat. It’s not your friend’s recommendation, or even your mother’s. It’s yours. And since it’s yours, you own the results  AND the lack of. 

Lastly- you cannot assume the path won’t be bumpy. You may have a difficult start. Your results may not be so impressive. You may lose steam part way through. You may start to mentally give up. This is where your “Why” comes in. Remind yourself of that “Why”. Write it on Post-It’s in every room of your home, write it on your hand every morning, put it on the background of your phone. Somewhere to follow you constantly. 

And don’t forget to  acknowledge those milestones. Celebrate the hell out of them! 

Get going. Start now. There will always be a reason not to start. But I’ll take a sloppy start over not starting ANY day.

Next time-we’ll talk about losing your “Why” and the kick to the gut that, sometimes, is the wake up call you needed.