I talk to a lot of people who want to lose weight, have more energy, feel more optimistic and joyful, or improve other areas of their well-being. When I ask “why do you believe you haven’t reached your goals” the reasons vary, but in general I can group them into two categories: 1) lack of time and 2) lack of energy.
Hearing your life’s circumstances, I empathize with the perceived obstacles that stand in your way of you reaching your goals. But at the end of the day there is one reason why most people fail…they don’t know their ‘why’.
We learned from Simon Sinek about the importance of having your ‘why’ defined to be a more effective and passionate leader at work, but most don’t make the connection that the same strategy that will move mountains in your professional career, will do the same in your personal life.
What’s not going to work:
Do you have a health or wellness goal? What is it? Lose 10-15 pounds, start going to the gym, sleep better? Write it on a piece of paper right now. Look at it and ask yourself ‘does this goal inspire me?’ I doubt it. You already get anxious thinking about what it’ll take to get it done. Ugh.
Let’s break this down. I encourage you to follow along.
Look at your important and non-inspiring goal and ask yourself ‘what will change in my life when I’m _your goal_ (e.g. 15 pounds lighter, have less stress, etc.). You may say things like ‘Well, I can fit into my favorite jeans again’ or ‘I’d have more time to do the things I’d like to do’.
Good start, but not enough. We need to get more specific and follow down the rabbit hole. Ask yourself again ‘What would be different? What would change? What could I do that I can’t do today? Why is that important?’. Most often you need to play this game 3, 4, or even 5 times until you finally come to the holy grail. You’ll know that you’ve got your true ‘why’ when you get emotional. Your ‘why’ will pull at your heart and make you yearn to be in that place.
You will have found your true inspiration.
Want an example? Let’s say you’d like to reduce stress in your life (important but uninspiring goal). Your thought process may look a bit like this…
Q: What will change in my life if I had less stress?
A: I’d be more relaxed and less anxious.
Good start. Let’s keep going.
Q: What would change in my life if I was more relaxed and less anxious?
A: I’d be more patient and therefore more thoughtful and loving when talking to my children.
Very good. We are getting somewhere. Let’s not stop there.
Q: What difference would that make? Why is that important?
A: My patience would allow me to listen more attentively to their needs and, even if their issues are trivial in the grand schema of things, I’d be more empathetic to the challenges they face.
Oh wow. Wonderful. But we aren’t done yet.
Q: What impact would have that on my relationship with them?
A: It would strengthen our bond. They’d start trusting me and come to me to share their fears, worries, and successes. I’d really know what’s going on in their lives. I’d be the mom I’d love to be for my children.
Bingo! I’m not even a mom but this last answer tucked on my heart.
We’ve gone from “I want to reduce stress in my life” to “I want to be a mom whose kids will come to sharing their fears, worries, and successes.” Big difference!!
Wouldn’t you feel motivated to take the necessary steps now to reduce the stress in your life or achieve whatever goal you have in mind? I suspect the answer is yes.
Keep your ‘why’ up front and center in your life. You can even create your personal mantra (e.g. “I will be the mom whose kids come to when seeking advice or simply sharing what’s going on in their lives”). Thinking about it and repeating your mantra daily will keep your goal front and center and you’ll automatically start making changes in your life that are congruent with achieving your goals.
When you work with one of my JOYVIAL health coaches, defining your ‘why’ is a crucial part that you’ll tackle most often in the first session. They are trained to dig deeper than you may be able to do on your own. They’ll make you think and often lead you to ‘aha-moments’ that will change your entire world.