What is Your Why?

Leslie Gold here from Strides in Recovery to talk about running, recovery and inspiration. Today, specifically, we’re talking about what is your why?

“I’m going to exercise more” is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, yet roughly 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail; and most of those fail within the first few months. If you’re among those who vowed to exercise more this year but is already finding it hard to keep this commitment to yourself, you’re not alone. Fortunately, you have the power to turn that around. Even better, all you need to do is something you’ve already been doing.

For example, you may not feel like going to work or school on some days, but since you do feel like getting paid or getting good grades, you override that urge to stay home.  You get up and go. You may not feel like spending the afternoon paying your bills, but since you like having a phone, electricity, and heat, you do it anyway. When you were deciding “Should I or shouldn’t I?”, you were probably thinking “What would feel good right now?” vs. “What do I want for myself long term? Am I willing to give up the short-term pleasure of relaxing at home for a longer term, more important goal such as keeping a job, graduating, staying connected, or keeping warm?” 

The “why” behind your long-term goal was more powerful. It was more compelling. It was more meaningful.  It motivated you to keep moving forward.

Let’s apply this principle to your exercise goal. If you’re not motivated to stick to your exercise goal, the problem isn’t you, it’s could be your “why”.  You may need a more compelling “why”. Most people start working out because they want to lose weight or get fit.  Those reasons aren’t particularly powerful.  Once you get to your goal weight, you would have no more reasons to exercise. If you could give it up then, why bother now?  Getting fit?  What does that actually mean anyway? 

To find a compelling reason to exercise, a reason that would override any short-term urge to stay on the couch, you need to dig deep. What would losing weight or getting fit feel like? What problem would it solve for you? How would it make your life better?

Do you need a way to reduce anxiety and depression without taking expensive medications that have all sorts of side effects? Do you need more energy to keep up with your children or grandchildren? Do you want to become more mentally sharp? Would you enjoy sleeping better and waking up feeling more refreshed each morning? Would you like to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem by proving to yourself that you can achieve a challenging goal?

Next time you are deciding whether or not to exercise, dig deep.  Think about the long-term benefits.  Think about what becoming a lighter or more fit person means to you. Think about how much better your life would be.  Visualize the new you.  Let your vision for your best self empower you to stick to your exercise goal. 

Change your “why”. Change your life!  


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Leslie Gold

Leslie Gold, Founder and Executive Director of Strides in Recovery Leslie is an RRCA-certified running coach who specializes in training the newly sober. As a volunteer at a residential addiction treatment program, she has coached hundreds of people in early recovery across the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon, more than any other coach in the country. Years later, many of the participants still credit the group training and life lessons learned as critical to their long-term sobriety. Inspired by these success stories and numerous testimonials about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of training for a challenging endurance event with the support of a team, Leslie started Strides in Recovery. The mission of this non-profit is threefold: 1) Bring running/walking-based relapse prevention programs to more recovery communities 2) Strengthen and grow the community of sober runners/walkers 3) Educate addiction treatment providers about the healing power of goal-oriented group training Prior to starting Strides in Recovery in 2018, Leslie spent three decades leading clinical and financial performance improvement projects, implementing decision support solutions, and generating analytics for hospitals and health systems across the US. She holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Virginia. She regularly runs 40-50+ miles/week and has joyfully completed a 50K, 9 marathons, and numerous shorter distance events. She is also an avid cyclist.

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