Discover your Why

You have a goal – it may be a weight loss goal, or a waist measurement or body fat measurement – and you want to achieve. So why do you sometimes, or even often, not make choices that will help bring you closer to that goal? The simple answer is that you’ve forgotten your WHY.

Go Back and Reconnect

Think back to the beginning, when you first set the goal. Whatever it is we want to achieve, it’s much more powerful to think about the ‘why’ underpinning that wish. Ask yourself this question, “Why do I want this?” and “How do I think my life will change for the better when I achieve it?” (note the ‘when’, not an ‘if’ here because, above all things, try to be confident that you will achieve it).

Try to listen quietly to the reply. Then ask yourself again, ‘Why?” to delve a little deeper. Continue this inquiry for a few minutes, and hopefully you will get to the root of it. You may be surprised to find that sometimes you don’t really know why: this is when it’s important to ask probing questions, keep pushing the ‘why’ and you should get there.

Usually our goals are tied closely to our values so, for example, a client could say to us “I want to lose weight and become fitter” which is their goal, but the why behind that might be “Because I want to be able to play with my children (or grandchildren) without getting out of breath”.  At Motivation,  we can help people get to their ‘why’ with some probing questions and inquiry.

Dig Deep to Supercharge your Goals

Getting to the ‘why’ behind our goals can often be difficult on our own, but not impossible. It’s an important part of goal setting that is often overlooked – possibly because to do it right, you have to dig down deep, into your values and what really matters to you. When someone can write down or become aware of their values , they  approach goals with confidence and clarity. It simply makes it easier to make good choices that to bring about not just current happiness and satisfaction, but also into the future.

When we clearly know the reasons why we want to reach a goal, it helps stir up the energy that we need to keep at it. When we’re tested – such as during times of sickness or stressful times – it’s all too easy to lose sight of our goals and to start making wrong choices. But if we bring ourselves back to the ‘why’, it can help to reinvigorate those goals. Another example is someone saying, “I want to improve my cooking”. But this goal is insufficient if someone doesn’t care about the act of cooking. They need to think WHY it matters to them: “So I can properly nourish myself and my family” – now that’s more motivating!

Still Struggling? Start by Writing Core Values

To help you uncover your own personal core values, here are three processes that you can try:

1. Think about positive experiences

Consider a meaningful moment or extremely positive experience in your life; one that stands out. Ask yourself ‘what values was I honouring at this time?’ Examples of core values include a belief that family is of fundamental importance; a belief that honesty is always the best policy or the belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Here’s a list of core values that may help trigger your thoughts.

2. What are your ‘must-haves’?

Beyond your basic human needs, what must you have in your life to experience fulfillment? Is it creative self-expression? A strong level of health? A sense of excitement and adventure? Always learning? What are the personal values you must honor or a part of you withers?

3. Prioritise them

How many core values should you end up with? Too few and you won’t capture all the unique dimensions of your own, personal values. Too many and you’ll forget them or won’t take advantage of them. Aim for between 5 and 10. Rank them in the order of importance. This is often the most challenging part. You may need to do this step in multiple sittings. Then, go through the process again. It can be very interesting to see what comes up.

It’s worth spending 10 or 20 minutes to discover your core values – and then your ‘why’. If you then align your goals to these values, the chances are very high that you will be successful. The important thing, though, is to keep doing this, throughout your weight loss journey; not just at the beginning. It is probably the most effective way to sticking at it, through the easy times and the challenging times, and the one true way to start making the healthier choice the easier choice time and time again.

“Your values create your internal compass that can navigate how you make decisions in your life. If you compromise your core values, you go nowhere.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Blog Post by Maebh Coyle