Goals are great. And SMART Goals can be especially helpful in creating a goal that is motivating and inspiring. But in many cases, this is not enough.
In order to actually achieve a goal that you set, especially difficult to achieve ones that take a huge amount of time and effort, one teensy piece of information is essential.
You must know your why.
What is your Why?
Your why is your meaning behind what you do. It is your purpose, the way that achieving your goal will benefit you or the ones you love.
Now you might have many reasons why you want to achieve something. For example, you may want to lose weight to feel better in your clothes, to have more energy, to alleviate joint pain. These are all good reasons to lose weight.
But, how many of them are motivating to you? How many of them keep you up at night? Will these reasons keep you going when you hit a plateau or when you miss a workout and feel like just giving up altogether?
Your why isn’t just a reason to achieve your goal, it is THE reason. It is the thing that will pick you back up when you fall off track. It will keep you going when your first attempts fail and you need to start again.
For your health goal, you might be motivated to want to see your future grand-kids grow up. Or you might be motivated because you don’t want to be a burden on your kids when they get older. These are the whys that will keep you going when things get hard or you fall off track.
“80% of success is why, 20% is how. What is your why?”
~ Darren Hardy
Why is knowing your Why important?
There are numerous benefits to knowing your why and keeping it top of mind as you journey through life.
First off, it helps you stay focused. When you know your purpose, it becomes so much easier to focus on what matters most in your life. By keeping the focus on one particular goal, you can keep moving in that direction and stay away from distractions.
Additionally, knowing your why makes you feel far more passionate about your goal. Knowing your purpose helps you find your true passion. That passion becomes the most important force allowing you to achieve extraordinary things. Whether you are going after a childhood dream or adopting a new lifestyle, your passion will push you to reach your goals.
Lastly, having a why behind your goals allows you to feel gratitude. When you have a purpose in life, it is evident to those around you and you tend to base your decisions, thoughts, feelings and actions around that overarching purpose. People who know their purpose are able to make a much bigger impact through their work, which encourages feelings of gratitude. How can you help but feel grateful when you are using your life and talents to make the world a better place?!
“If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows much more easily.”
~ Jack Canfield
How do you find your Why?
In order to help you find your own why, ask yourself the following questions. These can help you figure out what things will allow you to use the skills you have to make the greatest impact on those around you.
What makes you come alive?
What are the things that make you feel most energized? What are the things that you absolutely wish you could stop doing all together. Do more of the first and less of the second.
When the things you do give you energy and make you feel alive, they are a lot easier to keep doing. Think about the people and activities you love and do more things that relate to those.
This can mean spending more time with your friends and family, sharing your knowledge and advice, or doing work that makes you feel good.
What are your innate strengths?
What are you really good at? What do people often come to you for advice or help with? If you don’t know, ask other people who know you.
We all have something to offer the world. Many times our strengths aren’t evident to us because they come so naturally to us, but other people actually find them difficult.
Maybe you are really good at doing research for trips and you think anyone with Google can do the same. Or maybe you are really good at listening to others and don’t feel like that is a skill, just something you are able to do.
These are in fact things that may come easy to us, but are difficult for others. Figuring out the strengths you have can help you figure out your why.
Where do you add the greatest value?
While there are a lot of things we can do, what are the things that are unique to us? Most people can prepare a meal, but not everyone can make it beautiful and appetizing and something a toddler would be willing to eat.
Many people can write a story, but not everyone can write a story that is interesting and engaging and draws the reader in.
You can do many things but where can you provide the greatest value? What thing that you do can positively affect the most people or a few people but the most deeply?
How will you measure your life?
At the end of your days, you want to look back on your life with happiness and pride. You want to know that you did things that made you feel good and supported the people that you love.
You want to have lived a life that was meaningful to you. One that allowed you to help others and do the things you wanted to do.
Figure out the things that if you accomplish them or knowing that you made every effort to accomplish them, they will allow you to feel that way at the end of your life.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
~ John F. Kennedy
Finding the why behind your goals is essential to helping you find your purpose, and feel that you are contributing to your own life and the lives of those around you. It will turn your goals into “must dos” instead of “nice to dos”. .
It helps you push past setbacks, find your focus, and live a valuable life.
Have you found your why?