Do Goals or Emotions Produce Action?

As I’ve remarked many times before, I am a odd item in the fitness community.  While I line up behind a good chunk of what the health and wellness folks say you “should do,”  I take issue with almost as much.  I do not believe there are hard rules, for lack of a better term, that you absolutely should do in order to be healthy.  Rather, I am a huge proponent of “What Works For You”–WWFY as we call it at my classes!  That doesn’t mean you simply discount what are widely accepted health principles because you don’t like something, it means you give something a whole-hearted, fair shake and then truly determine whether the practice makes sense for you, your body, your lifestyle, etc.  And don’t be afraid to do your own thing when WWFY isn’t the current flavor of the day.

Keeping that whole WWFY idea in mind, I’m going to give you some food for thought on goal setting.  Many fitness pros and self-help gurus advocate heavily that success hinges on goal setting, and perhaps more specifically, goal setting with precise measurable and time bound details.  If you are interested, there are a myriad of books you can read on goal setting and achieving success.  Just do a Google search and you’ll be inundated with titles to choose from.

I think goal setting is great…if it’s WWFY!!  I even include a goal setting topic in my Learn n Burn class because I think it is useful information to have and consider.  Knowledge on goal setting is powerful stuff…for the right people.  Do I personally type out and list goals for every facet of my life?  Nope!  For me personally, the standard goals/goal setting practice equals pressure and pressure very often paralyzes me.  I operate with targets in mind and brainstorm how I want to get there and then consider what I am willing to sacrifice given other important factors in my life.

When I started my health transformation I had a 20-year class reunion that was coming up in about a year.  I really wanted to lose 70 pounds in that year…about 1 ½ pounds per week, which I felt was pretty realistic.  This was a very loose goal, for lack of a better term.  I didn’t apply weekly and monthly goals and I didn’t write out any step by step plans with rewards along the way.  What I did was basically change habits one by one by one, focusing on 5 pound losses at a time.  This worked for me!  And I think there were two reasons why it did:  (1) I was READY (discussion for another time!) -and-  (2) I had a very emotional reason for wanting to change my health and appearance.

Emotions create motivation which leads to action!  When you have an emotional investment or an emotional tie to something, you have a deep-seated feeling as to why you want something.  I also talk about this in my classes:  What is your big WHY?  WHY do you want to lose weight?  Why do you want to improve your health?  Why do you want to look and feel different than you do currently?


Are you in a place where you are ready to make changes?  Why now?  Spend time thinking about this!!  “Why?” isn’t some throw away question…is it THE question to answer to get yourself moving in the direction of what you want.

Whether you are starting to change or in the midst of your changes, ask yourself “What is my big WHY?”  The answer to this question is what you keep in the forefront of your mind and your daily practices.  While this approach may not be for everyone, I believe for quite a lot of you emphasizing WHY will keep you focused much more effectively than “Do X by Y to achieve Z.”

Like I always say…give it a shot and find out WWFY!


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