Answering the Second Question First



“Do 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week.”

You may have heard that statement before, or it’s predecessor campaign message of 5x30 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity.

The statement is the answer to the following two questions: How much should I do? How hard should I workout?

Which are both examples of the “second question”. This is because nobody ever asks “how much should I do?” and “how hard should I workout?” without first asking “why should I even bother?”

Simply telling people about doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity is an example of answering the second question first. What we really should be doing is answering the first question first, which is one of these...

“Why should I want to do it?

“What difference will being active make to my world?”

Behaviour change can be really hard. It requires the breaking down of old habits and patterns, and the creation of new ones. As it is so hard, people need to really want to succeed. So they need a seriously good reason to try, one which fits with their goals and aspirations.

The answer to the first question of why people really want to make a change is almost always an emotional one. We are inspired to change our behaviour for reasons that aren’t usually based in facts and logic, but which are about how we feel, how we imagine it would feel to succeed, how we hope it will improve our lives, make us feel better, boost our self-esteem, solve a personal issue and resolve our frustrations and discontentment.

Once they have decided they want it enough, then you can tell them how much and how hard.