My Why

by tinareale on February 1, 2012

I discuss goals a lot on this blog. I have written 5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals and shared about how I plan to dream big this year. This year’s race plans are big ones for me and, later this afternoon, I will register for what I plan to be my second full marathon (Chicago!!!) before ever having even run my first (Cleveland!!).

In all my talk about goals, I try to emphasize the necessity of knowing your own personal “why”. I even included it as one of my 30 Instant Ways to Improve Your Health & Fitness. Before establishing any goal – health related or not – I firmly believe you have to know the root cause for the goal. Why does it matter to you?

When the journey gets tough, which it undoubtedly will, knowing why a goal means something to you will give you the energy to keep driving forward. Having a deep-down-in-your-gut reason for your goal can give you motivation and perspective when challenges arise. You have to know the WHY.

Ironically enough, I realized that while I believe this so strongly, I have never actually written out my own why. I have loose reasons in my head, but have never really sat down and listed out all my WHYs. Why I push myself to stay consistent with working out and eating well, as well as why I go for goals like the marathon. I think it’s time to do that. I urge you to do the same.

To treat myself well, so I can treat others well. I know that I need to care for my own well-being if I plan to care for my children, my husband, my family, and my friends. I have more patience, kindness, and peace when caring for myself, which only makes me a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.


To honor my body as my temple. God blessed me with this body. That matters hugely to me. The simple knowledge of that makes me with to treat it with nothing but respect and proper care.

To have energy. I still get tired WAY too easily and I notice a huge difference on days I’m active and fueling myself with a good balance of whole grains, lean protein, produce, and healthy fats.

To feel encouraged by what my body can do over what it looks like. For the longest time, I got too wrapped up in the appearance of my body. I still have my moments, but on the whole, seeing my body get stronger with hard work gives me such joy. I recognize my body even more as an amazing, powerful creation and that I can do more than I ever imagined.


To be a good example. I love being a mom. I love helping others appreciate themselves more. How can I do that without practicing what I preach.

Overall…my big why…to have an improved quality of life. I try to eat with balance, move my body, and set goals because I know they add up to a happier, healthier me. My life is better without the binges. My life is better with the fitness to live day to day. My life is better when believing in myself. That is my WHY.


What are yours? I encourage you to really think about it. Then, tell someone. Either in the comments, in your own post, or a good friend or family member who supports you. Know your why.


1 Lauren February 1, 2012 at 6:40 am

Ah, I just love reading your daily inspirations each morning! This is soooo sooo true. If you don’t have a reason as to why you want to achieve your goals, they are essentially pointless. My why is pretty much the same as yours!

2 Miz February 1, 2012 at 6:48 am

so I can live to see my daughter grow up.


3 Jodi @ Jodeexi Writes February 1, 2012 at 6:57 am

These are great! I love all of them but think the first one is especially important. I never realized before how caring for myself in the right way really affected others. Sometimes the “why” is as important as the “what”!

4 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) February 1, 2012 at 7:00 am

Ah, your motivational posts are better than coffee in the mornings! Thanks for the uplifting start to the day, Tina! :)

5 tinareale February 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Blasphemy. ;)

6 Khushboo February 1, 2012 at 7:03 am

Great reasons and I love that you listed it out! My reasons for working out, eating well and treating my body the best I can include:

-Boost my productivity and energy levels
-I am happier overall when I do
-I know it’s taboo to talk about weight in the blog world but not gaining weight is a biggie for me especially knowing how long it takes to come off
-I’ve worked too hard to get where I am to let it go to pot
-I enjoy it and I relish the sense of achievement
-For my health

Whoosh there are so many other but these alone give me enough fuel to carry on daily!

7 Cheryl @ eatplayluvblog February 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

Ooooh, thanks for the idea for a post. Off the top of my head, I know “To feel encouraged by what my body can do over what it looks like.” will also be on my list! SO important.

8 Mattie @ Comfy and Confident February 1, 2012 at 7:11 am

I love goal posts because at the end of the day, we are all working towards some sort of an end goal whether its to lose weight or to find a happier place! My big goal is to find a way to balance my desire to eat well but also have a social life. I am so easily tempted when in a social setting. I want to make more conscious decisions about what I eat. I work out all the time, fitness isn’t my problem, changing my diet is the only way I will see results.

9 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 1, 2012 at 7:31 am

I totally agree with everything you said. I want to feel my best!

10 Carissa February 1, 2012 at 7:33 am

My why is to take care of my body, to have more energy, and to feel better. Before I would eat poorly, drink lots, and have to drag myself out of bed around noon and plead with myself to spend 30 minutes on an elliptical. I felt guilt and often regret about bad eating habits. Now I’m proud of myself and my choices.

11 jana @ newly wife healthy life February 1, 2012 at 7:37 am

I just wrote a post yesterday about wanting to a new fitness plan. In college, I felt myself fall into the trap of obsessivenes toward exercise. If I missed a day I would be down on myeslf, or if I ate a piece of cake I would try and burn it off at the gym. Years later, I now feel like I am a great place both physically and emotionally, so I am ready to take exercise seriously while still having fun and listening to my body! I set out my guideline of goals and how I want to accomplish these. I also decided to keep an open mind and if I feel the slightest bit obsessive, overwhelmed or burnt out, I may need to take a step back and reevaluate. Thank you for this post!

12 Nicole February 1, 2012 at 7:46 am

love this post Tina. My why is to live a long healthy life and to be a good wife, sister, daughter, friend.

13 Heather (Heather's Dish) February 1, 2012 at 7:50 am

truly inspiring :) can i just steal yours? seriously though, these are all fantastic reasons ‘why’ (not that you need my approval) and completely resonate with me!

14 Heather (Where's the Beach) February 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

Oh I love this – I’ve never really sat down and truly sorted through my whys before. I guess I’m so used to just doing that I no longer really take the time to remember why I “do.”

15 Meredith @ DareYouTo February 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

Ah, yes, so inspiring! THank you! The “why” is SO crucial to any goal or plan. It makes any task WORTH IT, when you’ve got the big picture in mind.

16 Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle) February 1, 2012 at 8:32 am

I think that is such an important consideration – so many of us make goals without really asking ourselves the why. That’s something that I’ve really started doing recently and it has made me happier. It has helped me to realise that I practice healthy living not to look a certain way but to be healthy and make me feel good and that has made a huge difference to me – I think in the past I was making goals without really considering them and by being influenced by outside factors such as what other bloggers were doing without even questioning if they were relevant for me.

17 Tiff February 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

Those are some pretty good reasons. A few match a few of my own. I also think it’s good to have a hobby, so I make working out my hobby.

18 Emilia February 1, 2012 at 8:36 am

Such an inspirational post. Although I love exercising and eating well (yeah, that’s right, love), I rarely take time to reflect on why. I guess I’d have to say that my biggest motivation is to make myself proud by doing something I never thought I’d be able to do. When I run, I always shock myself that I’m able to go further and go faster. When I eat broccoli (or any “healthy” food, really), I’m always impressed that I genuinely think this tastes good. I care about healthy living because I care about giving myself something happy, constructive and exciting to strive for. :)

19 Paula @ lipstick and lunges February 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

What a great thought provoking post. I’ve always had loose reasons for my goals and for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but I’ve never really flushed them out and truly answered the question. I am going to do that tonight! I’m really interested to see what I come up with, I’m guessing some of it won’t be what I expect!

20 tinareale February 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Can’t wait to hear them! :)

21 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

Loved reading this post this morning!! Just what i need to hear :)

22 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries February 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

i love this! establishing and reminding ourselves of the “whys” to our goals will most likely help us accomplish them even better. i absolutely agree with everything you said above… i want to be a positive example; i want to FEEL good, healthy, & strong; i want to treat my body as a temple of God, etc.

23 Jess February 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

Oh I love this! I have to say – until you said it, I guess I never really vocalized my “why” until fairly recently. Before it was more about looking my best but now it’s become a lifestyle — about feeling good, feeling confident, and sharing that confidence with others, paying it forward by helping to infuse confidence in others by supporting them with their own goals as best as I can. Even just a little word of encouragement or two is all it takes sometimes. I love knowing that I can help others simply by leading by example – one of balance and a happy view on fitness and health (with a good dose of chocolate and wine thrown in for good measure, of course!).

24 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

How you can be this motivational and inspirational this early in the morning while I’m still nursing my coffee is amazing :)
I’ve never really vocalized my why either but now after reading yours, it’s many of the same things. You said it best!

25 Rachael @ Happy Healthy Runner February 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

This is a great post and I think a lot of times we get caught up with the knowledge that we HAVE to do something (exercise, eat healthy, etc) and lose sight of why we have to do it in the first place – this post is a good reminder :)

I work out and eat healthy and lead a balanced life so that I can be the best version of myself – for myself, for my husband, for my family, and for my friends. And – like you said – God gave me this body and I am so overwhelmingly grateful and amazed with all it allows me to do. It would be a mistake to not take advantage of that gift!

26 Cat @Breakfast to Bed February 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

So my kids don’t end up like I did and have to struggle through it.

27 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

You always give me so much to think about!!
If I sit here and think “why does “this” matter” about something trivial, I can’t come up with an answer! If I can learn to be conscious of that, and not forget the “why” I’ll probably save myself a lot of stress and arguments with my husband.

28 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

My goal is to run the Chicago Marathon this year because I physically feel better when I’m running, it gives me a goal and a focus outside of law school, it’s a great way to meet people (through running groups and blogs), and it makes me feel accomplished and proud of myself to do things I never thought I could do before!

29 tinareale February 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Did you register? I’m all registered and super excited for all the fun it will be!!! i foresee a big blogger meet up!

30 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt February 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

The “why” for me is simple; Living a healthy and happy life just feels right. I live better when I’m balanced.

31 [email protected] February 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

Such an amazing post, I can’t thank you enough for it! I never really thought of the “Whys” just that taking care of my health was something I was told to do growing up. After reading this though, i thought why? I guess my main answer is because I want to live a healthy life style and feel good about my accomplishments. I set goals for health, as well as life/career goals in order to have something to work hard for because the feeling of accomplishment is so rewarding. Thats why! Thanks so much for the words :)

32 tinareale February 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

And thank you for your support! Love reading all your comments, Jenna. :)

33 Mary @ food and fun on the run February 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

My big why is to keep myself having a long, pain free life with little health care costs. I also want to be an example to those people around me, and to the kids that I plan to have *someday*. I only have 1 life, and I want to live it!

34 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile February 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

I absolutely loveee your posts. That’s such a great picture of you running!

35 Carol @ Lucky Zucca February 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

Like practically every other post you write, I love this! The Why is probably the most important part of a goal if you truly want to achieve it. I especially love your reason: “I treat myself well so I can treat others well.” It is so true and so important. My biggest why for exercise right now is that I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I want to prove to myself that I CAN do anything I put my mind to. I have given up so many times, and it is important to me to prove to myself that I can follow through with something and that consistency and hard work will lead to what I want for myself instead of sitting on the couch whining and wishing. Enough of that!

36 tinareale February 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

You know I think you can! :)

37 Carol @ Lucky Zucca February 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Thanks Tina!! Your encouragement is so helpful! :)

38 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef February 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

love this! so inspirational. i’d have to agree on most of these :)

39 Mellissa February 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm

This is the one body I get, I am going to take care of it so I can live the life that I truly want. I want to be 90 and healthy!

40 tinareale February 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm

And I can so picture you 90 and healthy! And sipping some delicious wine. ;)

41 Maggie February 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

This is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately- my “why” used to be to burn calories, to “look skinny”, to be pretty, etc. but now my “why” is because my body and mind feel so much better when I treat them right! My other big thing is like you said, God blessed us with able bodies and I want to use it to the best of my ability because there are many people who would do anything to even be able to walk a few steps.

42 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health February 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

This is an awesome post Tina! In my devotional that I just got, one of the readings was all about treating your body well- it really stuck out it me! I may write a post about this, I think it would be good for me to really think about my why’s and get them out there! And of course, I’ll link back to here!

43 Leah @ Why Deprive? February 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My why is actually pretty simple now, but it took me a long time to get to this point. It’s because I deserve it. I have respect for myself and my body and I deserve to treat myself well. For years I was horrible to myself and that just wasn’t right. I deserve better than that, and so I give myself better than that.

44 [email protected] February 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm

So I can feel awesome EVERY day! I LOVE the feeling of being FIT (so much better than being sickly skinny–trust me :( ) Have a good day!

45 Ari @ Ari's Menu February 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I love this–something I have been thinking about so much lately! Also, check you out in that running picture!! You are so high off the ground, it looks like you are FLYING!

46 Lindsay @ FuelMyFamily February 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

My why is mainly my health. But also to set a good example for my daughters. Having two daughters makes me nervous as to how they will view food and exercise given our culture and media standards. I want them to see and learn balance and not be too restrive or too unhealthy in the other direction. Its not all about what you look like but if you are 250 lbs then thats just not healthy, simple as that. Same goes for if you are 90 lbs. It seems girls and women have trouble finding this balance now a days.

47 Kelly February 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Such a great post Tina. :)

48 jobo February 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Wow, I LOVE this Tina. I might actually post on this myself…what a great idea. I want to think about it some more too. I love your whys :)

49 MCM Mama February 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Great post! I run because it’s my anti-depressant. I do other forms of working out to keep my body strong enough to run without injury.

50 tinareale February 2, 2012 at 6:38 am

I forgot that one! It’s my antidepressant too!

51 Marty February 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

My reasons: to feel strong, to have energy, to be able to be fit for when I have children, to compete with my 4th graders :) , to improve my mood, to release stresses of daily life, and definitely because I am LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE ABLE to live an active, healthy lifestyle!

52 Michelle @lipstickandlunges February 2, 2012 at 8:51 am

Great WHYs. I especially love your statement about being encouraged about what your body can do, rather than what it looks like. I completely agree. I often think there is an emphasis on fitness that is way too vain. It’s great to feel stronger, healthier and be amazed by what your body can do! I’m looking forward to following your running journey in those marathons this year. Go girl!
— Michelle

53 Kate February 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

i love this post! My reason: to prove to myself I can :) :)

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