The First Step to Reaching Any Goal You Set

By Brittany Risher |

Do this before you head to the gym or lace up your sneakers, and you’ll never think of fitness in the same way again.

Here’s a secret that the world’s most motivated people know: If you want to reach your goals, you have to know your why.

What does that mean? Take Olympic athletes, for example. They have dreamed of representing their country and possibly winning a medal since childhood. That dream is their why. Rarely do coaches have to poke them or incentivize them, because they’re intrinsically motivated.

“When your why is high, the thing you used to dread—like fitness—will become the thing you’ll do without giving it a second thought,” says fitness expert David Jack. “And you won’t just go through the motions. You’ll do it the best you know how, because the reason why you’re doing it means so much to you.”

Jack gives a great example in the video above. He hadn’t seen his mother for years, and she was coming to visit his new home for the first time. Jack decides to make her a special dinner. His why—wanting to create a special experience for his mom—completely changes how he plans, shops for, and prepares that meal.

How to Find Your Why

Ask yourself: What matters to me? What do I hold dear? What one person makes me feel like I’m one of the most special people in the world?

“What if you worked out for that one person or dedicated taking a walk to that person?” Jack asks. “That will be a very different walk than if you do it because your doctor said you need to reach 10,000 steps.”

Your why can be anything, as long as it truly matters to you. Seeing friends at your favorite group fitness class, getting positive feedback from your doctor, wanting to look your best for an upcoming vacation—it all counts!

Over time, your why will change or grow, and you’ll also discover new ones. As you do, don’t compare your why to anyone else’s—you have to find what moves your soul. And when you do, all your actions will matter, Jack says.

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“Dedicating your workout to something will change how you feel about your capacity to do something bigger than yourself,” Jack says. “You may even change someone else’s life, not just your own.”

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