We’re a few days into the new year now. How are you doing on those resolutions? You’re in one of three camps:
- You don’t make resolutions.
- You are awesome! You made up your mind to change something this year, and you are sticking to it.
- You made a resolution or two, and you’ve already thrown in the towel. And you feel guilty because it’s only been a few days.
If you’re still going strong, then I congratulate you. But if you’re struggling, this post is for you. I want to help you get back on track.
To do that, we’re going to use a trick called the 5W Approach. This can be done two different ways. Today I will share the first. This involves taking a problem you need to solve, and then asking a series of five questions (the 5 W’s) about that problem: Who, What, Where, When and Why. These questions will help you pinpoint where you’re struggling, and ways to overcome it.
To start, define your problem. For example, I want to determine why I dread exercising. Then ask the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of that problem. Below is my example of how this works:
Take your problem (I hate exercising) and create a related “Who” question.
Possible "Who" questions:
- Is there a person that helps or hinders my workout?
- Do I need an accountability partner?
- A personal trainer?
- I hate to exercise in front of others.
- I like to run with my best friend.
- I’d love a personal trainer.
- Don’t exercise at the gym. Try an online workout or DVD at home instead.
- Run with your buddy and you both get in shape.
- Have a consultation with a personal trainer.
Even if you identify some issues, continue asking the other 4 W questions.
What: What kind of exercises are you doing? What exercises do you enjoy? What area of your health/body would you like to improve?
You may discover that you are in a Zumba class, but it makes you feel silly. Try circuit training instead. Or maybe you’re in a spin class, when you really want toned arms. Make your plan line up with the goal.
When: Are you working out at an inconvenient time? Are you a morning person or not? When is a convenient time for you to work out?
Where: where are you exercising? (In the garage where it’s cold, the gym where it’s crowded, etc.)
Why: Why do you want to exercise?
Consider the motives for exercising (or stopping smoking, or whatever your “change” is). Is it fueled by negativity (guilt, shame) or something positive (to run a 5K, to be healthier)? You have to want to make the change, or it won’t happen. Trust me—I’m a reformed smoker. I always knew the reasons I should quit. But I couldn’t quit until I wanted to.
Look at your answers to these questions, and make some adjustments to the way you’d been trying to change. Make a new battle plan, and start again. Remember, every day (or minute!) is a new beginning!
My challenge: now you try! Define your problem, and then ask the 5W’s. Thinking through questions in this way will help you identify small changes you can make that will help you succeed. Good luck!