When there is a problem in my life, my first thought is often to ask “why”?
Why did I bonk last weekend?
Why do I feel lousy right now?
Why can’t I sleep?
Asking myself that question, and then figuring out the answer, is often a catalyst for change.
What happens when it isn’t? What happens when you ask yourself why, figure it out, and then do nothing about it?
Asking the question “why” itself is not going to solve your problems. I know it hasn’t solved all mine.
The following two examples are true in my life.
Why am I tired today?
I didn’t sleep well last night.
Why didn’t you sleep well last night?
It was hot and I was sweaty.
Solution: buy an air conditioner
I answered the why and gave myself an option on how to solve the problem. Is my problem now solved? No, because I am not going to pay for that right now. It is not worth the money. Finding out the why did not propel me to change.
I do not spend time with other people outside of work, yet I want to.
Why do I not go out more?
I like my alone time.
Lies, answer the question.
I lack the confidence to fit into social situations and I don’t like to stay up late and spend money.
Why don’t you have the confidence?
I was treated poorly growing up and those skeletons are still in my closet. I was also taught that saving money is a great accomplishment.
Solution: make a plan with someone that feels safe and gradually go out later each week.
Will I do this? I have provided my own solution that seems very reasonable to me and I have discovered why I do not like to go out. The answer again is no, I probably won’t do this.
Why? Because there is no big motivation to do it. It’s not life or death, it’s just a social stigma I feel pressured to fit in to.
Finding out the whys in each situation here has not motivated me to change.
This is the problem I sometimes have with therapy or health coaching and why I think some people stay stuck. I have been in therapy before (granted it was a few years ago now) and it seemed to me that most therapists helped you figure out the why, but did not focus on moving past it and getting on with your life.
Now, this is not all situations, but roll with me for a bit.
Too often, we search for reasons why we are the way we are as if unpacking that will help us change. I certainly did when it came to my family. If only I could change and fit in. If only I were better.
What if we just accepted the person we are, stopped asking why, and just moved forward?
What if instead of asking how we got that draped it card bill, we simply worked hard to pay it off?
I believe that sometimes, it’s best not to look too far into the negative things about ourselves, but to either accept them, or change them and move on.
I’ll give one more example.
When I lived at home, it was a very negative environment. Everyday I got the message that I was a worthless being. While I lived there, I would constantly ask myself why I was treated this way, as if I could change it.
But you know what? By simply being in that space, just physically being there, was enough for them to treat me poorly.
Asking the why was pointless because there was nothing I could do to change their behavior. It was just the presence of another human being that made the negativity spew out.
So, I decided not to change myself. I simply moved out and started living to be me. When I am a health coach, my goal will be to give people the tools so that they don’t need me. I will constantly evaluate my client’s progress and if things aren’t progressing, I will change my methods or suggest they see someone else.
I challenge you, instead of asking yourself why you missed that workout, just do the next one.
Instead of asking yourself why you made a bad grade on the paper, just try harder on the next one.
I have decided to stop asking why something bad has happened and just do what I can to make the next moment a good one.
Do you find yourself asking why instead of making change?
How has this help you back?