What Is Your Why?
When it comes to our endurance endeavors it is important for us to have purpose or the “Why” behind choosing to show up every day. Endurance sports by nature are often painful and time consuming. Do them for long enough and you will question why you are subjecting yourself to the grind or find yourself questioning how the endurance life fits in with your other life goals and commitments. This is where your “Why” comes in.
Our “Whys” fuel and sustain the process. The strongest “Whys” that I have seen have been rooted in long-term-sustainability, intrinsic motivation, and positive emotions. They are less about numbers or places and more about the internal process that leaves you feeling like you are becoming the athlete and person that most reflects your values.
If your “Why” is rooted in outcomes, strongly correlates with your sense of self-worth, or is fueled with negative emotions such as comparison or anger, then it is likely you will eventually hit snooze, forget about your training session, and move on to another hobby. This is because “Whys” that are fueled with negativity or by purely results will at some point lead to disappointment. The only way to stay committed to your goals is to find a way to love and experience joy in the daily practices that propel you there.
Discovering your “Why” is an individual journey but one that can be guided by some basic questions. Start by answering the below questions from a place of authenticity (your truest self and value) not based on how you think you should respond.
Why do you run at all?
How does running contribute positively to your life and growth as a person? How does running make you feel? Why do you race or set goals? If you’re not a runner, replace with your sport of choice and ask the same questions.
These questions may seem simplistic in nature but they are the foundation to building a strong “Why” to fuel your daily process. Write them down on a sticky note and post them to your mirror or fridge so that you can see them daily. Continue to check in regularly with yourself to see if you are enjoying the process and still feel motivated or if you are feeling burned out or distant from the process. Just like you, your “Why” can grow, evolve, or pivot in order to better serve what you need in the season you are in.