I’m sure we all do it, at least I know I do. Every year around this time, usually beginning in November once the holidays have really started to kick in, I get reflective. It is especially pronounced for me because my birthday is New Years Day, so it’s kind of a built-in reflexive response. I think all of us have an internal dialog that goes something like this. “What did I accomplish this year? god it really went by so quick”. “This year is going to be different.” “This year I’m going to lose that weight, for me. I’m going to really get organized, get everything in order.” For most of us, it is a cycle that seemingly repeats itself year after year and for a good reason. We are hardwired to find the path of least resistance through life, and like a record the flow of our lives, the daily habits we’ve formed will repeat over, and over the more times it’s played. In a lot of ways this is a good thing, but like a perpetual Groundhog Day, it prevents us from achieving those goals, sure you’re might make a valiant attempt at going to the gym, changing the diet, or making whatever change it was you set for yourself. Typically most people will lose steam somewhere around 2 to 3 weeks in. Life will come up and prevent you, its funny the way those things happen that will pull you back into the old familiar pattern of your life before you attempted to make it better.
Why Is That?
According to Psychologists there are any number of reasons despite our best intentions that New Years resolutions, any resolutions really, often fail. The number one reason is that we weren’t clear on **Why** we wanted whatever change it was we said we wanted. I’ve seen this truth in my own life when I decided to leave Corporate America and grow my own business. I didn’t start to achieve the kind of success I envisioned until I got very clear on a few things, my Why? was the number one question. Why am I building a business, besides the paycheck of course? Your Why needs to be strong enough, and by that I mean your Why has to be almost emotionally charged.
Further your Why for whatever change your looking to make has to contain a deep enough meaning that if the change your seeking weren’t to happen your life would be far worse than if the change did occur. In other words, you’ve got to want the change more than you want your current situation. Once you get clear on your Why? Literally, heaven and earth will move, trust me on this. I’ve seen this happen so many times, in my own life as well as the life of friends and business partners.
Ask yourself Why?
Let’s say you’ve decided your goals is you want to lose weight
Now you’ll need to ask yourself but why? Why is losing weight important to you? Why does it matter?
A good exercise to get to your Why? is to insert your goal and your reason into the following sentence:
I want to _______________ because _____________.
For example, I want to lose weight because it will help me look and feel better.
Then, insert the reason into the first part of the sentence and repeat the process over and over again. For example:
I want to lose weight because I’m out of shape and don’t have enough energy to keep up with my kids.
I want to keep up with my kids because it’s important to be there for my kids.
I want to be there for my kids because a good part of being a great parent is the sense of reward you feel.
I want to be a great parent because I believe it’s part of leading a good life.
Now you’re getting to the real Why?. Suddenly, your goal of losing weight isn’t just about looking good and feeling great. It’s about providing for your family and living a life, you’re proud of.
You’ve got to get beneath the surface. Keep asking why. Why does this matter? Why is this important? Why now?
The deeper you dig, the more you’ll learn about yourself and about those things that really matter to you.
Learning this lesson and putting it in practice has been Pivotel for my life. Whenever I’ve wanted to make changes however small in my life, I’ve always gone to this practice of asking Why? And digging deeper till I got really clear and if I didn’t well then, the change was not something that really truly was something I wanted in the first place, and that’s ok. You’ll find that not everything you want to do, every new habit or change is something that will fit in with who you are as a person. When you do find those changes, those reasons it will feel amazing and liberating. It will feel like your living your best year ever.