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What Is Your Why? The Key to Achieving Your Health Goals

It had been seven years since I began battling ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease. I had three children and my youngest — a year old — had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder and many special needs. In addition, I was a caregiver to my mother who had been diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 54. Overwhelmed with so many responsibilities, my autoimmune disorder spiraled out of control. I could barely make it through a day of work, and I was struggling to take care of my family. Around this time, my grandmother — who took meticulous care of herself and was a role model for me — passed away. As I mourned the loss of my grandmother and watched my own mother’s memory slip away, my own health was deteriorating. Fear paralyzed me for quite some time, leaving me hopeless and unmotivated as I imagined the many paths my life could take if I continued to ignore my health.

However, over time that fear drove me to a very different place, and eventually sparked my “ah ha” moment. A fire lit inside me, as I became determined to turn my health around. The motivation came when I developed and articulated my “why.”When I could answer why I wanted to change my health, I was able to change the course of my entire life and stay on track, despite feeling like my world was collapsing around me.

How to Discover Your “Why?”

Many assume that our ability to reach goals is rooted in willpower, however this is often only a temporary measure and when it fails, we end up feeling worse about ourselves than when we began. In reality, reaching goals has more to do with tapping into what personally motivates us. According to Psychology Today: “Motivation is one of the driving forces behind human behavior. It fuels competition and sparks social connection … Motivation encompasses the desire to continue striving toward meaning, purpose, and a life worth living.” Victor Frankl in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” explains that the hope of reunification with his wife was his motivation to keep fighting to live, all the while witnessing and experiencing suffering in unimaginable ways while in the concentration camps. This concept was also discussed in the more recent TED Talk, “Start with your Why,” by Simon Sinek, who describes that when you are able to define your “why,” you explain your purpose. Sinek explains that when you begin your process of goal achievement by seeing the bigger picture of your life, it drives your behavior toward achieving long-term results. In summary, when you are able to clearly define and articulate your passion and your reasons for why you want to do something, this is when you develop the motivation to prioritize what is important to you in your life and begin your mission to go and get it.

Questions to Ask Yourself To Define Your “Why:”

Why is now the moment you want to start making health changes?

If you were to die tomorrow, how would you want to be remembered?

What situations in your life evoke strong positive emotions of joy, happiness and peace?

How would your life be different if your health challenges disappeared today?

After deeply delving into answering these questions, then put your thoughts into your personal “why” statement. Here is an example of a “why” statement:

“I want to make changes in my health because if I were to add in some nourishing food, some exercise and get better quality sleep, I would have less brain fog and more energy. This would allow me to be more present and patient with my children and spouse which is the most important thing to me. I want to be a good role model when I interact with my family as well as a good role model from a health perspective. In addition, if I had more energy, I would be able to get my work done quicker, allowing me to spend more time with my family and volunteer for an organization that is important to me.”

Once your “why” is defined, then it becomes easier to define the “how” which includes the steps and strategies to achieve your health and wellness goals. The role of a health and wellness coach is to empower you to achieve your health goals, with strategies, accountability and positive support — not only for the sake of being “physically healthy,” but to inspire you to achieve your goals, filling your life with what’s important to you.

I would love to have the opportunity to help you define your “why” and help you live a healthy life filled with meaning and purpose. Wishing you much health and wellness, wherever you may be on your health journey!


Jill Friedbauer has been working in the field of health and wellness for 20 years. She is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Licensed Physical Therapist, author of the book Heal Your Soul, Heal Your Gut and has a podcast Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Soul on Spotify. Jill is available for one-on-one health coaching, family health coaching and speaking engagements. Jill is now working with Dr. Leat Kuzniar at Your Natural Path to Health Clinic. To book a free consultation, contact our office manager at 201-757-5558.

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