In today’s show I’m going to apply the 5 Whys technique to the notion: How you start your day is how you start the rest of your life.
The 5 Whys technique was developed within the Toyota Motor Corporation as part of its problem-solving training.
To quote Taiichi Ohno, the architect of the Toyota Production System in the 1950s: “by repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”
As a dear client shared with me recently when discussing why she doesn’t consistently do the actions she knows she needs to do. Even though she plans the ideal day. She knows what to do. More often than not it doesn’t happen.
In frustration my client asked me: “How do you make yourself do it?”
One small part is my belief that: How you start your day is how you start the rest of your life.
I think every little decision counts. The good decisions build on each other. The bad decisions do too.
My advice was find that first point in her day where the best laid plan fell apart and sort that.
“So that’d be the first thing I put in my mouth!” she said with a laugh.
For the purpose of todays show lets start there. We’ll apply the 5 Whys technique to that first meal.
Or, for YOU whatever it is in your day that is regularly the first stumbling block so far as achieving your body gain goal.
WHY 1: Why didn’t you eat that fab breakfast you had planned?
Now you’ll have your own answer. For this example I’ll just role play it with myself (!) based on the 1000’s of food conversations I’ve had with clients and friends over the years. Perhaps it’s something similar too…
“I woke up so exhausted and it felt easier to grab something from the cafe by work or even just skip breakfast altogether.”
=> now the temptation here is to launch straight into solution mode. As an over eager trainer I used to do that. However really a lecture on what would be a better choice next time is just an annoying band-aide NON-fix.
You’ve got to dig deeper.
WHY 2: Why were you exhausted?
“I had to stay up late last night getting everything sorted for a busy week to come.” Or maybe, “I watched several episodes of my new fav show on Net-flicks.”
=> although these are two different responses they both come back to priorities and how you’re choosing to use your time.
Let’s dig again.
WHY 3: Why did you choose to stay up so late for that?
“I spent the whole weekend racing around out and about and didn’t get sorted for the week as planned.” Or maybe, “I have NO time for me during the day. The evening is the only time I get to unwind.”
=> again two different responses however again I see them as stemming from a common struggle that so many people battle with: Saying YES to other people too much and as a result saying NO to you.
WHY 4: Why did you spend the entire day racing around?
“I find it hard to say NO to other peoples requests.”
=> we’re getting closer to the deeper reason now. Why #5 should reveal the Secondary Gain or hidden benefit that lies behind a difficulty saying NO to other peoples requests.
As I covered in show #081, without exception everything you do works for you on some level.
On some level it does something for you, gets you something you wouldn’t necessarily get or prevents you from having to deal with something that you would have had to deal with.
WHY 5: Why do you find it hard to say no to other peoples requests?
“I don’t want to let other people down.”
=> I wouldn’t let a client or friend roll with a response such as that though… I’d likely ask “Really?”
If a more thorough answer wasn’t forthcoming I might counter with a question such as: How about we reframe that as “I’m happy continually letting myself down.”
That’s tough-love Kate however I’ve noticed that often – very often – “I don’t want to let other people down” is actually just an excuse or secondary gain that means “I’m looking for reasons to not focus on me and my goal.”
Today’s show has gotten a little heavy – let’s lighten it up with the time of the actionable!
It’s got to be trying 5 Why’s for yourself.
Here’s the thing, you can use it in more than one way. Either to again quote Taiichi Ohno: “By repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”
So action step option #1 is: to apply the 5 Why’s to whatever/where-ever it is in your day that is regularly the first stumbling block so far as achieving your body gain goal.
Alternatively, action step option #2 is: to apply the 5 Why’s to understand your greater motivation or purpose so far as achieving your goal.
So it’s problem solving OR motivation and purpose.
The motivation approach would look like this.
Whatever your goal is ask yourself WHY you want to achieve it? Or phased differently: “What will achieving that give you?” Or “For what purpose?”
You’ll find that the further you question the more compelling an answer you’ll get.
Perhaps Why 1: might be something superficial like “To have a smokin hot body!”
Why 2: might be more like “To be more confident.”
Eventually you’ll likely come to a value. More specifically an ‘Ends Value’ something like: FREEDOM. HAPPINESS. LOVE.
Ok, that’s it for me today. I hope you find the the 5 Why’s technique as useful as I have… I’m totally applying it to some sticking points I’m struggling with right now.
I’ll be back for the Wednesday Weigh-in show and: Avoiding HANGRY.
If you liked this you’ll also like: Why NOT Being Genetically Gifted Is A Weight Loss Advantage.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.