The Big Picture

Building a Foundation of Understanding


There is an important concept in my coaching method I refer to as the foundation of understanding. This concept is key to getting motivated—and staying motivated—along the path to health and happiness. I believe that cultivating a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding is a necessary first step toward realizing your desired experience in life. In this post, I’ll explain how building your own personal foundation of understanding will empower you to discover your own path and take ownership of your own journey, rather than relying on the authority of “experts.”

What Is the Foundation of Understanding?

The foundation of understanding is the base of knowledge that enables you to feel confident in your actions. When working toward any sort of life goal—whether it be health, fitness, contentment, or something else—knowing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it may not be enough. If you truly want to remain motivated to follow through on your intentions, you must also understand how it works.

Why Is It Important to Understand the “How”?

Say you want to lose weight, for example, and your nutritionist instructs you to avoid certain foods in favor of other, more nutritional options. You know what to eat and what not to eat. And you know that you’re making these dietary changes for the purpose of losing weight and getting healthy. But all of that seems a little abstract when you’re standing in the breakroom trying to decide whether or not to eat one of those Krispy Kremes your co-worker brought in. It’s not like you’ll gain weight from just one doughnut, so why refrain? Well, if you understood exactly how the consumption of polyunsaturated fats and empty sugar calories (as opposed to good sources of sugar) can harm your body…trust me, that Krispy Kreme wouldn’t look nearly as tasty. You’d be much more likely to refuse the doughnut and eat a piece of ripe, juicy fruit instead. This is just one small example of how the foundation of understanding can serve as a tool for motivation and follow-through on a daily basis.

The most important ingredient in a successful wellness program is follow-through, and the key to follow-through is the ability to feel motivated and confident in your actions.

More Benefits to Building a Foundation of Understanding

Another reason why it’s so important to cultivate a strong knowledge base and build a solid foundation of understanding is that it will help you gain the confidence needed to filter through conflicting information. All too often, we tend to blindly accept the authority of the “expert” or follow the advice of a well-meaning friend or coach. Regardless of whether their advice is good or bad, this tendency does nothing to promote self-motivation. Why? Because when you blindly follow another, you remove yourself from the responsibility of your actions. Plus, you may become confused and discouraged when—inevitably—you receive mixed messages or conflicting advice from two or more “trusted” sources. In order to stay on track with your wellness program, you must be able to confidently make decisions for yourself and take ownership of your own path. Cultivating a foundation of understanding will allow you to do just that.

Continually asking questions and building a foundation of understanding based on your own unique orientation is required for innovation and success.

For more suggestions designed to help you achieve motivation and follow through on your individual path to health and happiness, check out my previous post: How to Stay Motivated: A Five-Step Guide.

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