Habits vs. Obligations – The Seven Whys

How many times have you denied yourself from eating a delicious piece of cake that was right in front of you simply because you had to eat healthily?

How many times have you forced yourself to miss something important because you had to work out?

An Important Change in Attitude

One time I told a friend about my goals, my workouts, and my healthy habits, and how I began to notice that this was what my body was asking for. While we chatted, one of her questions was “what do you do when you skip one or two days?”

My friend felt that every time she would go back to a workout routine, if for any reason she would miss one or two days, she would decide that she had already failed in her attempt and would once again leave it all behind.

I stopped to think about her question and I realized that if I skipped a few days it was no big deal for me and, without much effort, I would be able to return to my training and my healthy foods. So, I asked myself, why can I do it but she can’t?

It was only after reading [easyazon_link identifier=”081298160X” locale=”US” tag=”claudiacanu-20″]Charles Duhigg’s book[/easyazon_link] that I realized that what was happening, without even knowing it, was that I had created a habit. But how had I created a habit without even realizing it? It was thanks to a change in attitude.

I changed from forcing myself to do something, to doing it because I WANTED it to. I went from starting my statements with I “have to” to saying “I want to” and as a result, I changed the way I spoke to myself.

Supposedly, if we are looking to make a change it’s because this is something we truly want, right? And so, if it’s something we want, how come we have to force ourselves to do it?

Forcing yourself to do something is like putting a heavy weight on your shoulders and all you’d really get out of that is a sense of being overwhelmed.

The Seven Whys

The first step when making a change in our life is to understand the reason why we want to make this change and understand what the TRUE motive is that is pushing us to achieve it.

I was convinced that when I set a goal I had a clear understanding of the reasons why I was doing it. But one day I heard about the 7 whys, an exercise in which you ask yourself 7 times the whys to your answers.

This begins with you thinking about the change and asking yourself, “Why do I want this change?” Once you have an answer you ask yourself the reason for that answer and continue this for a total of 7 times.

Let’s look at an example:

Our objective is to lose 5Kg.

  • Question number 1: Why do I want to lose 5Kg?
    • Answer: Because I want to feel happier about my body.
  • Question number 2: Why do I want to feel happier about my body?
    • Answer: Because if I felt happier about my body, I would have better self-esteem.
  • Question number 3: Why do I want better self-esteem?
    • Answer: Because I want to land my dream job…

… and so on, until you reach question and answer number 7.

Once you reach the seventh answer I recommend making note of it on your cell phone, so that you always have it on hand and you can re-read it anytime you feel like you are forced to do something. Or even when you feel little motivation and a bit of laziness.   

To create a new habit you must believe that you can achieve the objective that you have set, without obligations, and if doing something that is leading you towards that goal isn’t making you feel motivated, then ask yourself “why” you are doing it.

Have you ever practiced using the- 7 whys? It would be great if you could take a moment to try it and I would really like to hear your opinion on this exercise. So please leave me a comment below or send me an email at hi@claudiacanu.com .

If you have found this post interesting or inspiring in any way, please, share it with anyone who could benefit from it.

Realizing your true final goal is the path that will lead to creating a habit that doesn’t feel forced.

Realizing your true final goal is like having a motivational jumpstart always on hand.

If you’d like to read more about habits and goals, the post The Importance Of Setting A Goal And Believing In It might be of your interest.

Thank you for stopping by.

A big hug and Happy Healthy Life!

3 responses to “Habits vs. Obligations – The Seven Whys”

  1. […] have learned the difference between habits and obligations and how to discover the real purpose of my […]

  2. […] you’d like to read more about habits, the post Habits vs obligations – the 7 whys might be of your […]

  3. […] Finally, if you want to read more about habits, during my challenge, I wrote a post about how to Create and Maintain New Habits and there’s also one about Habits vs. Obligations. […]

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