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Finding Your Why(s)

finding your why(s) - road at night with an arrow pointing forward

When you want to make a change in your life, there are times that it can feel difficult. Ask anyone who has made a New Year's resolution only to find themselves among the approximately 80% of people who ditch their resolutions before the end of the month! Change isn't always difficult, though. There are times when you embrace change willingly (newly married, newborn baby, new house) or even unwillingly (global pandemic and safer-at-home mandates). These changes certainly bring their challenges, but they also bring joy, happiness, concern for others, and safety. In other words, there was a "why".

Simon Sinek has a popular book and TED Talk on the theme "Start with Why". He outlines why companies and leaders need to know their "why", and it shouldn't be just about making money. It's their guiding star, their purpose, and the reason for their existence.

So how can we find our why and why should we find our why? Chances are, we want to make some changes or improvements in our lives, and finding our why can help. I came across a podcast episode on this very topic, and the podcaster mentioned that you need a lot of whys. That was an a-ha for me!

As you are trying to make changes in your life, you will run into old habits, thought patterns, and behaviors that might get in the way of making the change you want. Multiple whys can help keep you focused. They are personal and customizable in various situations. Multiple whys can also help you discover your stumbling blocks to change.

One of my life buckets for 2021 is health and wellness. I am overweight. But it's not the number on the scale that is important, it's about how I feel. It's about having the energy to do what is important to me as well as moving freely and aging well. And as Marie Forleo says, "Everything is figureoutable." Let's start the process of figuring it out!

Finding Your Whys: Make A list

Grab a piece of paper or your journal and write down your whys for one thing you want to change in your life. I think it's important to not censor yourself at this point - just write down as many as you can come up with. You can look at short-term, medium-term, and long-term whys. Here is what I have written in my journal:

  • I want to move freely and without stiffness

  • I want to live long and well

  • I want to have the energy to do what I want to do

  • I want to reduce inflammation to help reduce the risk of older-age health risks (cardiovascular, dementia, arthritis, etc).

  • I want to be proud of what my body can do

  • I want to work through stress rather than eat through stress

  • I want to be strong and flexible

  • I want to relax and nourish myself in ways other than food

  • I want to create a new after-work routine

  • I want to find ways to be bored without food

  • I want to see what I am capable of

My whys ten years ago would have included other reasons including I want to look good or wear cute clothes or run a 5K. I have realized that I can have these without losing weight.

Look at Your Whys Frequently

Once you have your whys listed, it's important to look at them frequently as a reminder. Perhaps you want to look at them in your journal in the morning and night. Or perhaps you want to write each why on a Post-it note and place the Post-its around your house. By looking at your whys, you gain clarity on what you are doing and what you might want to or need to change. You can also add new whys or even remove whys that no longer serve you. And remember, this is not a time to judge yourself or "should" yourself or be critical of yourself. Instead, be curious and gentle with your whys!


Are you looking for more ways to learn? Check this out!

Online Program

I like to call this Productivity for Real People – it's not about overhauling everything about your productivity. It's figuring out what works (because there are things that are working okay for you) and asking if we can make it work a little better for you. It's figuring out what you might be struggling with and applying systems and processes. I used to think "I need a deadline to get motivated (and, wow, I'm so focused when that happens)"! I also used to keep Post-it notes stuck to my monitor as reminders of what I needed to do. Now, I've learned a less stressful way to get stuff done. And I'm so excited to share it with you!



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