Every one of us wants to be successful, and defines that success differently. For some it’s money, fame, recognition, a huge following, significance, etc. Whatever the reason is there’s one thing that I’ve found is an absolute must to accomplish it and that’s having a ‘Why’. In other words knowing the reason that’s important to you why you want to be successful at this goal.
It’s not just enough to have a why or reason, but that reason must be so powerful, so intense, that it creates a level of hunger and drive in you to break through the inevitable obstacles that will follow. The challenge comes when we get more caught up in the goal itself, rather than the reason we want to accomplish it.
The other day I had a conversation with a gentleman I’ve been working with for a while. Based on certain things he wanted to achieve we put together a 90-day game plan of what he needed do to achieve that goal. More importantly, what needs to happen to stay consistent with the activity necessary to get it done.
As the weeks progressed I started noticing a pattern, his activity and consistency had been declining. When asked he said life had really gotten a bit hectic for him so he was having a bit of a challenging keeping on track. Now, I know life happens for all of us, life happened for me in a major way recently, and it caused me to slow down a lot.
However, I also know that with a strong and compelling ‘Why’ nothing life throws at you will keep you from accomplishing what you set out to do. It may delay you, but it can never stop you. So for him I knew the problem wasn’t that life had gotten in his way, it’s that his ‘Why’ wasn’t so clear and compelling to him anymore.
Your Why Is The Most Important Thing
Have you ever tried achieving a goal and asked yourself the following questions:
- How do I stay motivated?
- How do I stay focused?
- Why can’t I be more disciplined?
- Why do I find it so hard to be consistent?
- How is it things are working out for everyone else except me?
The reason why it’s been difficult to do these things is because you haven’t yet identified a strong and compelling enough reason why you want to achieve your goal. The reason why has to do more with your heart than your head, it’s more emotionally driven than logical or even rational.
The higher your emotional intensity, the easier it will be for you to stay the course of achieving your goals. It’s not about how much you know, but how badly your desire for achieving it is.
The reason behind our ‘Why’ being the most important thing is because as human beings we are more emotionally driven than logical. Our ‘Why’ is the emotional charge that drives us to keep going. It’s easy for anyone to disagree with this statement because we all like to think and believe we are more in control of our emotions than we are. Simultaneously, we also like to believe our intellect dictates everything we do, and as such every decision we make is solely based on facts and information, rather than impulse and how we feel in the moment.
Several neuroscientists have proven this to be true. One book I would recommend is Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Anthony Damasio. In his book he speaks about how human behavior is more driven by emotion rather than logic. Also, you can do a quick read on an article I came across that speaks about the myths about logic in making human decisions in our every day lives.
Whenever you find that you’re trying to achieve a particular goal, but don’t feel very driven to work towards it, look more to your gut rather than your head why that may be.
Identifying when you’ve loss your why
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane routine of doing something, focused on the day-to-day and forget why you’re doing it in the first place.
This happened to me recently with my mission of 5 Years 2 Mastery over the past 2 months. I started noticing that with each passing week my commitment to consistency had been waning. There were weeks I missed posting on the blog, mostly because I couldn’t focus on writing, or at times just really didn’t feel like it. I also noticed that the frequency which I created and posted custom images with quotes from each post were also becoming less. There were even moments in between when I questioned just giving up on the whole thing to focus completely on my career in Marketing. That S.O.S. or shiny object syndrome was kicking in.
For those who don’t know what S.O.S. is, that just means when something new comes along and you’re quick to give up what you were doing before, for the new thing, because it appears to be more exciting and appealing.
I already knew the reason this was happening was because I had gotten caught up in the routine of executing, without remember the ‘Why’ or reason behind why I was doing it in the first place.
Identifying when you’ve loss your ‘Why’ is easy, just pay attention to your emotions. When you no longer feel enthusiastic in taking action, you no longer feel motivated or inspired, the energy and excitement that was once there to take action has faded, or it starts to feel like a chore and a burden to take action, that’s when you can tell.
Whenever you tend to notice that your enthusiasm and motivation is starting to dip, it’s because of one of two things, and sometimes both:
- You have gotten caught up with the mundane of daily execution, and forgotten why you’re taking action in the first place
- The reason you started out why you wanted to achieve the goal is no longer as important to you
Once you’ve picked up that you’re losing your drive look to these two things, and then know what to do to fix it, which I go into.
Keeping your why alive
The other day I got a message from a friend of mine on Facebook. She told me that she had been reading my blog and that she really enjoyed it, and it was very helpful. She went on to ask what do I do and I rolled off a list of around five things, including my job. Her next question to me was how do I find the time to manage them all. My response to her was, “I just make up my mind that I have to find a way, because I have strong reasons why i have to make them work”.
In that brief moment it came back to me why I was doing everything I am with this blog that’s important to me. It wasn’t about money, recognition, or because it’s a hobby. I’m doing it because I feel good knowing that my efforts are actually helping people to be better, and create a better life for themselves. That’s something no amount of money or recognition can replace for me. I know how it feels to be stuck, but I also know how it feels to get unstuck and start seeing progress, and I want to help people experience that as well. It’s the thing that makes my heart sing, and makes everything I do, even when I don’t feel like doing it, worth it every time.
So how do you keep your ‘Why’ alive?
- Take the time to remember why you started and wanted to achieve your goal in the first place. If possible find a way to recreate the experience, that created the feeling, that got you excited about it in the beginning. In this instance for me it was a simple compliment from a friend of how much my blog had helped her.
- If you find that your old reason why you want to achieve your goal isn’t as important to you anymore, then identify new reasons that may be important to you. Sometimes what we thought was important to us in the beginning isn’t important anymore as time goes by. The best way to do this is by asking yourself “Why am I doing this?” also “Why is it important to me to achieve this goal?”. Keep asking yourself ‘Why’ questions until you feel a strong desire in your gut to take action on it.
You can tell you’re successful at this during the moments you don’t feel like taking action, but your reason energizes you to get up and get it done anyway.
Being excited about a new goal you have is expected, but also losing that drive and energy to make it happen is also to be expected. It’s normal as human beings that our brains constantly crave new and exciting. The way to keep consistent with the activities that will help you achieve your goal is to have a strong, emotionally compelling reason why you want it in the first place. It’s not enough just to want it because you think it would be good to have, you must have a deep, almost obsessive desire to see it realized.
In the end why you want to achieve your goal is more important than the goal itself, because that’s what will make you do what’s necessary to have the goal, even when motivation and the will to keep at it has been loss.
To your success my friend!
Know someone who has loss motivation and trying to figure out how to get it back? Be a friend and share this with them.
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