Too often, there’s a disconnect between the goals we want and why we really want to achieve them. Until we connect the dots between our WHAT and our WHY, we’ll always struggle to finish what we start. Barriers will appear in our way, challenges will materialize, and boredom will set in. Our goals will all die if we aren’t mentally locked in on the WHY behind our WHAT. Here are two examples…
GOAL 1: Earn one million dollars.
I’ve heard this before, and I even said it at one time. “I want to earn one million dollars.” But today, as I’m coaching people and having conversations about goals, one question immediately pops into my head. “Why?” When it comes to a financial goal like this, it’s never about the number. Instead, the number represents something else. For some, one million dollars would open the door to their version of freedom or not having to worry about money in their later years of life. For others, it represents the ability to travel or create experiences in their life. And for others, it can open the door to starting a business or chasing a new opportunity.
Let’s take this one step further. In my coaching, I’ve asked people to explore their answers to “Why?” a little further. For example, if they say that one million dollars represent the ability to travel or create experiences in their life, I’ll ask them why those things matter to them. They’ll often tell me that those trips and experiences are a way to create deeper connections with their spouse, kids, or friends.
At the end of the day, their goal was something other than the money. The money was simply a tool they could use to create connections. When they focus on the experiences they want and the connections they desire rather than the dollar amount, doing the hard work to achieve the goal feels more worthwhile and is easier to stick with through the challenges. That’s why knowing the WHY behind the WHAT is so important. That emotional connection to the WHY is your secret weapon.
Let’s look at one more example…
GOAL 2: Lose twenty-five pounds.
When someone says they want to lose a specific amount of weight, asking “Why?” is always the perfect next step. Similar to asking about financial goals, the fitness goal responses will vary. Some will say they want to look good on their next vacation, or they have an old pair of jeans they want to fit back into. Others will respond by sharing that losing the weight is tied to being more healthy and strong. Still others will say they want to have more energy and sleep better at night.
Just like the money example, let’s take this one step further. If individuals say they want to be healthier and stronger, I’ll ask them why those things matter to them. Often, their improved health and strength are tied back to longevity and how they’re able to interact with their family for years to come. Continuing to poke at this a bit with a couple more “Why” questions, the underlying reason for the goal is a love of family and a value of strong relationships. Focusing on the WHY, instead of a number on a scale, makes getting out of bed and into the gym that much easier.
A quick side note… Interestingly enough, a transition occurs for many individuals where their health and fitness goals take priority over their financial goals. They realize they can’t achieve what they want financially if they’re not physically strong, and that their ability to show up and achieve any life goal is directly tied to their energy levels and vitality. The WHY between the two eventually becomes blended.
As you’re setting your goals, follow up the goal by asking yourself, “Why?” When you can tie your WHAT to a strong WHY your odds of finishing what you start increase significantly. When things get tough along the way (and they will), focus on your WHY. It is the one thing that will carry you through and help you keep your dreams alive.
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