The 5 Whys Ask YOURSELF

Do your actions match your values?

The "5 Whys" is a technique originally used by the Toyota Motor Corporation to explore cause-and-effect relationships. This model is designed to determine the root cause of a problem or concern. Most of the time, our reasons for doing something are far more complicated than we think they are.

When you want to successfully complete something, you state the goal and then ask the first "why":

Why do I want to accomplish this?__

Whatever the answer is, you then ask "why" to that answer. Repeat the process five times. 

Let's look at a simple example we might see in everyday life.

I got caught speeding.

1. Why
did I get caught speeding?

Because I was late for work.

2. Why
was I late for work?

Because I woke up late.

3. Why
did I wake up late?

Because my alarm clock didn't work.

4. Why
didn't my alarm clock work?

Because the batteries were dead.

5. Why
were the batteries dead?

Because I didn't replace them after they expired.

Now let's look at how you can use the 5 Why's to give you more insight into your fitness and nutrition goals.

I want to lose fat.

1. Why do I want to lose fat?

Because I want to fit into a smaller jean size.

2. Why do I want to fit into a smaller jean size?

Because I think I'll look better if I'm leaner.

3. Why do I want to look better?

Because when I look better I feel good about myself.

4. Why do I want to feel good about myself?

Because when I feel good about myself, I'm more confident and pleasant to be around.

5. Why do I want to feel more confident and pleasant to be around?

Because when I feel confident I'm better able to handle the demands of life and am able to be a better mother/father/husband/wife.

Ultimately, this person isn't simply trying to lose fat to fit into a smaller jean size. Her real motivation is to improve her self-confidence and to be the best person she can be for her family.

This process can be insightful and exposing. It might even be uncomfortable. Go there. In fact, the more personal your answers to the last couple of "why"s, the better. What's the root cause of your motivation? What are your most important values?