Goal setting has many parts: Getting your mindset in order, getting mighty clear on the who/what/where/when/whys of the goal, getting accountable, and understanding the emotion behind your goal. BUT, I would argue that before you have any of these figured out, you must find your why. You must get sooooo crystal clear on WHY you want the goal that nothing can veer you off course.
Digging deep enough that you can truly understand what is behind the desire for the goal is what will keep you moving toward it when things get tough. And believe me, things always get tough when you have created big goals for yourself.
I have always struggled with finding my WHY. Both for individual goals and for my larger WHY or mission in life. I never really understood how to tap into my desires for a particular goal to identify what was really driving me. The good news is, I have overcome that block and unearth my deeper WHY(s) by asking myself these 10 questions:
- 1. What is your goal and desired result?
- 2. Where and when will you find this result?
- 3. What is the person who has the result thinking?
- 4 What is the person who has the result feeling?
- 5. What actions does the person who has the result take?
- 6. What do you need to stop thinking/feeling/doing?
- 7. What obstacles will be in the way? How can you solve each obstacle?
- 8. What will be different about your life when you achieve this result?
- 9. What will be the same?
- 10. Why do you want this result? Ask yourself seven times.
Before we dive into the questions, let’s cover a few basics.
What Is a WHY?
A WHY is the reason for setting and accomplishing your goal. It is the purpose driving the goal.
When you set a goal, you want to look at the reasons for accomplishing the goal in your everyday life, as well as how your goal fits into your aspirations for what you want out of life, and how the goal fits into your overall mission.
I like to think about the WHY as coming from your highest self.
You also want to avoid having a WHY that is motivated by comfort and numbing.
Let me explain: You don’t want your motivation for accomplishing your goal to be about getting out, or away from something. You don’t want to be looking to have more and do more because over there it will be better. You do not want to be aiming to just not feel negative emotions and have a ‘grass is always greener’ mindset that life will be better on the other side of your goal.
You need to have your WHY be about the reason, not the outcome.
Why do you need to find your WHY?
Your WHY needs to be crystal clear because achieving goals is hard, and in those hard moments, you need to be able to tap into your WHY to stay the course.
What I have come to find is that the WHY needs to be created for the hard moments; the moments you are not excited about the goal. The moments after you get a no, or a defeat. When things are not going at all how you want. That is where you need the WHY. You need to be able to identify the WHY that will keep you moving forward despite the setbacks.
How To Do This:
The 10 Steps to Finding Your WHY
Step 1. What is your goal and the desired result?
Is it to lose weight? How much? Is it to start a business? What business? What is the plan? Get specific!
Step 2. Where will you find this result? When will you find this result?
Is it in your business? Online, in person? On dates? At home, in your mind, in your heart? Get really clear on where and what aspects you will find with this result. This can be a place to break down the goal a bit.
Identifying when is also important. You don’t need to rush it, but you need to be ready. Some goals may require patience and mindset shifts. If you are in a rush you are coming from a place of lack and wanting. Look for a way to change the WHY to put you in a mindset of receiving and already having, of gratitude and openness. Check out this post all about Goal setting and mindset.
Check out this Goal Setting Worksheet to help with Step 1 and 2
Step 3. What is the person who has this result thinking?
This is about your mindset and putting you in a place of thinking like you already have achieved the goal.
The reality is, the future only exists in your mind. You have to create the different results in your mind first, then you can get/achieve the goal.
Step 4. What is the person who has the result feeling?
One-word answers. Not thoughts, feelings: confident, excited, empowered etc.
Step 5. What actions does the person who has the result take?
Get yourself into the mindset of already being the person with the result. What do they spend their day doing? What do they focus on?
Check out my post all about The Future Self for more on steps 3-5
6. What do you need to stop thinking/feeling/doing?
Again, get in the mindset of already having the goal. What does the person who already has the goal not do that you are doing now? For example, if your goal involves making money you have to give up being the one who is broke. Or if your goal involves finding a partner or to lose weight, you have to give up being the one who is single, or overweight. You have to become the person who doesn’t think about money or food or dating.
You have to become an entirely new person. You have to create entirely new thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Check out my To Be Or Not To Be worksheet and post all about this.
Step 7. What obstacles will be in the way? How can you solve each obstacle?
Get clear on what will stand in your way while achieving your goal and make some plans for how to deal with the obstacles. Ask yourself: What could and will stop or hinder you from moving forward? Is it time? Is it people? Is it moral? Lack of planning or preparation? What has stopped you in the past from achieving goals? When do you find you lose motivation? When you are about to reach your goal, or maybe when the excitement wears off?
One really useful tool is to create an “if ___ then ___” statement. (“If I don’t make it to the gym today then I will go for a walk this afternoon”)
Step 8. What will be different about your life when you achieve this result?
Remember you will still be the same person. You will still experience negative emotions (this section can help you to answer questions 4, 5, and 6). Will you have a different house? Job? Career? Will you have a new mindset? New activities or hobbies? New friends? Etc.
Step 9. What will be the same?
It is important to get out of the fantasy ideas of the future goals and to understand what will still be the same in your life. Will you still be in the same house? Job? Career? Will you still be eating the same foods? Have the same friends? Wear the same clothes? Etc.
Step 10. Now, ask yourself: Why do you want this goal and result?
And then do it six more times. For example:
1.Why do I want to start my own business? For time freedom.
2. Why do I want time freedom? To be able to control my own schedule and life.
3. Why do I want to control my life? Because I want to decide and prioritize the things that matter to me, not my boss, or someone else.
4. Why do I want to prioritize the things that are important to me? Because life is too short to focus on other people’s priorities above my own.
5. Why do I want to focus on my priorities? Because I want to be excited every day to wake up and live. I want to be living my purpose.
6. Why do I want to live my purpose? To be able to contribute to the world and to make a positive difference
7. Why do I want to contribute to the world? Because what higher calling is there?
I like to come away from this exercise with a statement like: I want to be the type of person who…
Why do you need to find your WHY? You need a solid WHY so that you can be ready when sticking to your goal gets tough. By using these 10 questions, you can get really clear on all of the aspects of the goal as well as the mindset you need to have in order to achieve it.
And then you can dig deep and find the WHY behind the goal.
Use these 10 questions to find your WHY and to get you to a point where you are so clear on the WHY that you know it will motivate you when you are sad, depressed, defeated, tired, or overwhelmed. If it is not motivating enough, then you need to go deeper, or change your desired result.
Good luck and be Gutsy! I believe in you!