How to Accomplish Anything

I want to tell you about how I lost 65 pounds.

Finally losing it after having carried it for 13 years.

That 65 pounds colored my every thought. I wish that wasn’t the case, but if I’m being honest, it did. I have thought long and hard about why it affected me so much and I think it boils down to a couple of things. First, it was keeping me from doing things I wanted to do. I suppose the weight wasn’t keeping me from these activities, but rather, my unhealthy state. The second thing is that I wasn’t doing anything good for myself. I was eating terribly and not being active at all. Even if weight gain was not a by-product, that way of living was affecting my happiness.

The thing is, I don’t want this to be a post about how to lose weight. I have read so many of those. Have you? So much information. So many tips, motivational quotes, workouts to try, food groups to eliminate. Much of the information contradicts itself. Read one theory on Monday, read another that tells you to do the opposite on Tuesday. So on Wednesday, just eat a Snickers and call it good. Right?

Instead of weight loss, I want this post to be about how to actually do whatever your heart desires. Start a business, make a friend, get a job, learn a skill, organize your closet. It’s very simple, really. You have to know why you want it, or why you are doing it. Whatever ‘it’ is. You have to know your why. It’s more than just knowing why, it’s really breaking it down to specifics. It’s pondering it and visualizing the details of how this thing will make life better. It’s being intimate with the why. Making out with the why. Once you have that down, you can endure just about any what or how. When the what and the how start to suck, you just remember the why and there is now purpose to your pain.

“He who has a why can endure any how” Friedrich Nietzsche

This is how I lost 65 pounds. I stopped thinking about numbers as pant sizes or goal weights. Instead, I thought of them as achievements. Number of push-ups I did today that I couldn’t do before. Minutes I can run without stopping. Number of days I was active in a week. You get the idea. I focused on how the exercise made me feel. How it made my day better. There are no plateaus to overcome in this way of thinking.

I didn’t actually lose any weight for over three months with my new lifestyle. In the past, this would have been hugely discouraging, but my why this time had nothing to do with a scale. I was already hooked on the accomplishments I’d made. I could run a mile, you guys. I couldn’t even run two blocks before. Even during those months of not losing weight, I walked around with the confidence I had lost for so long. I felt strong and had this new swagger. I didn’t feel like the unmotivated person I had been because I knew the workout I did earlier in the day was really hard and I did it anyway. I learned that I can do hard things. This confidence bleeds into every area of my life.

As I look back on my past, anything difficult I have achieved has been done this way without my actually realizing it. I used to be terrified of speaking in front of groups of people, especially people I don’t know. The problem was, that I wanted to be a wedding photographer more than anything. Wedding photographers are not only required to talk to large groups of people, but they must gain control of the group, guide and direct them into poses, all while making it a fun experience. Basically, you have to be loud, boss people around and be charismatic while doing it. I was nervous beyond belief but my why was such a powerful motivator, I just powered through the how. After a while, the fear was gone and I even got compliments on my ability to be efficient and fun.

What is it that you desire? What do you want to do that you have been too scared to try? What fears have been getting in the way of your success? Figure out your why…be specific, write it down. Get it tattooed on your arm. Just don’t let yourself forget it, and then go for it. You can do it. I believe in you!


Originally published at findmeaning.net on April 21, 2015.