What questions are you asking?

One of my good friends is a philosopher. He doesn’t wear tweed, smoke a pipe, or work at Harvard. He is curious and inquisitive about many topics. Most conversations with him involve many questions. Often, he answers questions with a question. While this can be annoying, it forces one to think deeper. The questioning requires you to ask better questions.

If the answers are within, asking good questions yields good answers. Likewise, asking poor questions yields poor answers. For instance, if I ask “Why can’t I lose weight?” Neither the answer nor the question empower one to lose weight. But what if you ask “Why do I want lose weight?” My answer is to be healthy and happy. What if I ask another question? “Why do I want to be healthy and happy?” What if I kept asking questions based on my answers. When I did this, I ended with a powerful why and it lead me to how.

The better the question the better the answer. The more questions you ask, the better you get and asking questions. But I’m going to warn you, this process is challenging. It is frustrating. It’s easy to give up. However, if you keep at it, you will find the answers.

Further, if you can combine questions with identity-based habits, you are on your way to achieving what you want. Identity-based habits are discussed more fully by James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. You can learn more here.

“Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are. The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader. The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner. The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.” –

-Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Start today by asking better questions. What kind of person do you wish to become and why do you want to become that person? Once you answer those questions, spend the rest of the day living like the person you want to become.

Happy New Year

I hope you don’t mind that I took a 10-day hiatus from blogging. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes you need a break. Both apply in this case.

In previous posts, I talked about the importance of why and focus. To change your life, you need to have a very strong why. It isn’t enough to want to do something. You must know why.

Why did I want to lose weight? I wanted to lose weight for many reasons. I wanted to be healthier (i.e. reduce health risks), to have more energy and vitality, and to be alive long enough to see my grandchildren graduate from high school and hopefully get married.

So why am I writing about why again? Many already know that my brother had some significant health issues recently. Many know he is a person with a developmental disability and is vulnerable. Last week, he was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of “failure to thrive.” This is a fancy way of saying he wasn’t eating enough. The hospital took good care of him and he is no longer failing to thrive. We still don’t know why he stopped eating but he is on the mend.

There were moments in the hospital when it was unclear what the outcome would be. It forced me to ponder mortality. I reflected on his mortality and my own mortality. This process reminded me of and reinforced my why.

So as a reminder to all, if you want to change, get a powerful why. It will help in the moments where you are tempted to give up. This past week, I was reminded why I am trying to live a healthier life. Have a great day and don’t forget to drink enough water!

Weekend Why

Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of why. A clear and powerful why propels you towards your goal. It is also very important to revisit your why. Often life changes. This weekend, I will spend time reflecting on my why. Is it still applicable? Do I need to modify it? Is it working? Spend time everyday with your why. It will move you towards your goal.

The Power of Why

Where I work, one of our teams has the motto #KnowYourWhy.  This is brilliant, if you can follow it.  To succeed, you need to know why you want to succeed.  Some say that to get to your true why, you need to answer “why” you want to do something seven times. I didn’t need to do this here but because I discovered my why.

Over the weekend, Naomi Osaki lost in the third round of the US Open Tennis tournament.  She is a player with an incredible amount of talent.  She won the US Open last year and the Australian Open this year.  Yet after her loss, she made the following statement – ““I feel like for me recently, when I win I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose I feel very sad. And I don’t think that’s normal.”  To me, this is an example of someone who is searching for her why. If you don’t know your why, your likelihood of success is low. 

To be effective, your why is something you must have.  It cannot be a should.  The difference between “I must lose weight” and “I should lose weight” is the difference between success and failure.  I long thought I SHOULD lose weight.  But when I looked at that picture, my should became a must. 

Yet, my why is more complicated than a picture.  I have long known that obesity is significant risk factor for many health issues. Yet, I have been fortunate that most of “health statistics” were within normal range.  I also know a lot of your health is dictated by your genetics.  Because I was adopted, I knew very little about my genetics until recently.  Add to all of this, in November 2020, my state was one the leaders in the county for COVID19.  Everything I was reading about COVID19 pointed towards obesity being a significant comorbidity.  My oldest brother had just died from COVID19.  Though I didn’t know it when I made the decision to take action, my other brother soon would contract Covid19. 

In the end, all these factors motivated me to not be a statistic.  I was scared that my years of not caring for my body would finally catch up to me.  I wanted to take control of the things I could control.  I resolved that I must lose weight.  In addition to better health, I didn’t want my sons to bury me when they were young like I had to do with my father.  I didn’t want my wife to be young widow. I wanted to see my youngest son graduate from high school.  I even worried about who would take care of my dog if I died.  I knew I didn’t look well.  What I finally admitted was that I didn’t feel well either.  I was depressed (perhaps not clinically but still down).  My why is that I wanted to lose weight and become healthier for me but mostly to make sure that I am around for my family.  Every day of my journey, I remind myself that this about a better health so I can enjoy life with those that I love.  They are my why.   

So, to sum up the last couple of posts, to get where you are going, you need your map.  Your map includes your why and your what.  In a perfect world, you would write them down.  Though I didn’t initially write them down, every morning I said to myself my goal weight.  I looked at the picture and I thought about why I was doing this.  Knowing my why, made the challenging days easier.  Once I had these two steps set, I was ready to tackle the next phase which is how.  This is where I started gathering facts but more about that later.  Have a great week!

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