Do You Know The Want Behind The Want?

Why Understanding What You Really Want Is the Key To Staying Motivated

By Joshua Wayne, MA
A client, “Marcy”, recently came to see me and said, “I’m always on a diet!  I lose 10 pounds and gain back 5...then next time I lose 5 and gain back 10.  It goes on and on like this; I just can’t maintain my focus on losing weight.  What do I do?”  

“Well”, I told her, “the first thing you have to figure out is what you really want.”

“I already know what I want”, she said, “I want to lose 25 pounds and go down four dress sizes!”  That is what she said, but the look on her face was impatient and had “Duhhh!” written all over it.

“Look”, I said, “on the surface I understand that this is what you want.  But you have to go deeper and figure out ‘the want behind the want’.  That is what will keep your focus on losing weight.”

“Huh?”, she now said.  She had moved from “Duhhh!” to “Huh?”, so I knew we were making progress.

“There is a reason you want to lose 25 pounds,” I said.  “You believe that if you did, your life would be dramatically better in some specific ways.  You need to get in touch with exactly how it would be better.  That is the ‘want behind the want’.”

You see, a key aspect to lasting weight loss success is knowing why you want to lose weight at the deepest level, what I call “the want behind the want”.

So what is the want behind your want- that deeper value that losing weight will add to your life?   Is it:

➢    To feel more comfortable dating or to feel sexier in the relationship you’re in?
➢    To be healthy and active with your children?
➢    Because you’ve been diagnosed with an illness and you want your health back?
➢    To look better and have more self-confidence when you interview for a job?
➢    To look better at a high school or family reunion?
➢    To really love yourself and feel good about your body.

Whatever your deep desire is, I want you to get in touch with it specifically.  Write down all the answers you come up with in as much detail as possible. 

“The Want Behind The Want” Is Your True Motivator

When you know ‘the want behind the want’ you understand what truly motivates you because it stirs you emotionally and is strongly connected to your sense of happiness.  If the list of deeper wants you came up with do not stir you emotionally, then you did not dig deep enough.  Keep going.

You want to get to this ‘core desire’ because it gives you something to focus on that has much greater power and significance that simply focusing on a number.

Taking the Next Step

Now use this information in a creative, constructive way.  Use it to write affirmations or cut pictures from magazines that represent these deep desires.  Place them around the house, in the car and at work.

Whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or distracted, spend some time reflecting on the ‘want behind the want’.

The more you focus on this deep desire, the more motivated you will be in your weight loss effort.  Knowing this can be the difference between more of the same frustration and getting real results.  Over time, it’s also the difference between a life that is status quo and mediocre and a life you truly love.

Related PEERtrainer Community Discussion: Having Trouble Getting Motivated To Exercise

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Josh WayneJoshua Wayne, MA is a Personal Development Coach and trained psychotherapist with an emphasis on weight loss motivation and mind/body wellness.

In his private practice Joshua has helped his clients achieve their weight loss goals, shape their life direction and resolve a wide range of family problems from relationship difficulties to out of control teenagers.

Joshua has a Masters Degree in Counseling, is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).  He has also been intensely interested in and studying personal development, fitness and spirituality for close to 20 years.