New year, new you. You are focused, determined and ready to take action. You’ve made a plan and you’ve made it S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). You know exactly what you want to accomplish. This is going to be the year.
But wait a second. Before you join the 40% of American adults who will resolve to hit the gym, drop that cigarette or change their lives in some other positive way, there’s something you may not have thought of. You might know what you want to do, but are you clear on why you want to do it?
The why is easy to overlook. Let’s face it, just resolving to do something often times feels like more than enough motivation. And once we make a commitment to change or do something, it’s hard to deny the impulse to take action as soon as possible. These are important things. But there’s an even more important thing to do before you start – understand why you want to do this in the first place.
The why is the purpose, the motivation and the determination to do something. It is what puts the resolve in resolution. If articulated well, it’s like magic pixie dust that turns a goal into an unstoppable mission.
How do you understand your why? Here are three questions designed to help you tap into to your most meaningful, powerful why.
Why do you really, really want this?
The people most successful at achieving their goals fully believe in their goal. The goal is created from true and deep desire. And ultimately they believe that their life will be better, even in a small way, as a result of accomplishing their goal.
So, ask yourself, why do you really want this? Why is this a must-have in your life? And how will accomplishing this make your life better? Imagine what life will look like and feel like having accomplished this goal. And capture that vision, that feeling. Make sure it’s positive, not based in negativity, fear or the popular “because I have to” theory. Make sure you dig deep to truly understand the motivation, and the effect, that this goal will have in your life.
If you’re like most people, you might be working towards a goal for the second time (or third or fourth). And while there are lots of reasons that people don’t accomplish their goals, I believe timing has a lot to do with goal setting and achieving. By timing, I mean picking the time when you are mentally and physically ready.
So, why now? Why is now the right time? Why can you not live one more day doing what you’re doing or not doing what you’re not doing? And for those of you going after something another time, what is different now about you/your situation?
Why do you deserve this?
I’ll be upfront, this is often the toughest one for me. For many of us, goals have become wishes, something we hope will come true. But achieving a goal requires a bit of entitlement. You have to believe you are entitled to what you want. You have to believe in yourself. And this has to start with you. Your friends, family, beloved pet can have all the faith in the world in you, but this is ultimately between you and your goal. And if you don’t have faith in yourself when things get tough, doubt will likely win.
So, ask yourself, why do you deserve this? What is it about you that makes you worthy, deserving, righteous, chosen? Now is not the time to be humble – channel your inner fan club.
Striving towards a goal is hard. You will reach a point (for most, about 5 days from the start) where you will ask the inevitable question “is this really worth it?” When faced with that question, the only thing likely to keep you from diving back into your former decisions is your motivation, your why. Your why has to be big enough, important enough and personal enough to outweigh the overwhelming temptation to quit/stop/give up. If you haven’t clearly articulated your why before you start accomplishing your goal, it will next to impossible to find when you are blinded by the uphill climb towards your goal.
So, once you’ve captured your why, keep it front-and-center by reminding yourself of it every day. Put a post-it of your why on your bathroom mirror. Or better yet, use technology, to keep your why with you when you need it most. The Intention Reminder app allows you to create your own visual reminder – write a motivating message, choose an inspirational picture (the app provides backgrounds or you can take/use one of your own photos) and set your daily reminder for when you most need a boost or encouragement.
You can do this. And now you know why.