Any new challenge will test our resolve to keep moving forward. No matter what we're aiming for, we are guaranteed to find a reason to give up. Defining your 'why' before you start to change anything in your life is the strongest way to overcome all your excuses.
Why is it, even with the best resolve in the world, we give up? We make a decison to change something in our life and within a month, week or even day, we have armed ourselves with excuses which convince us we can’t change? Is it because we haven’t got the strength needed to make a change? Or, could it be, we haven’t defined a strong enough ‘why’, to help overcome the excuses.
Any change I’ve wanted to make in my life has been counter actioned with a list of excuses as to why it can’t be done. The mind is so good at self preservation. It creates all kinds of conditions and situations which provide evidence that changing a behaviour or habit is a bad idea. Or even worse, the belief that the things you want are impossible.
We are biologically wired not to want to change. Therefore, we need a benefit (a ‘why’), greater than what the process of changing the mindset costs. Defining you ‘why’ is the most important part of any identity transformation.
But the real question is; How do you create a powerful ‘why’ that commits you to the goal and serves as the carrot during the journey towards it?
Define Your ‘Why’ To Overcome Your Excuses
Reasons V Excuses
Everyone talks about motivation being the one thing people need to achieve any goal. But how far can motivation take you? For me, it always came as an idea or burst of energy that made me take action. However, after the initial rush and excitement, reality set in. The work I actually had to do, was too much of a mountain to climb. So, with a back-pack full of excuses, I would retreat into my cosy camp fire at the bottom of the mountain. Never knowing what marvels awaited me on the other side.
Staying with my mountain analogy for a moment. Imagine I had no more food on my side of the mountain. If I stayed where I was, I would surely die. Eureka! I have a compelling ‘why’. My reason for taking the first step of a very long journey, greatly outweighs any excuse to stay where I am. My ‘why’ is my motivation to take action. My life depends on it!
This is exactly how I approached my weight loss journey. I was desperate to lose weight after my second child and tried all types of diets. However, it wasn’t until writing down a statement about ‘why’ I wanted to shift the pounds, that it became a matter of urgency. I realised if I didn’t do something right now, the quality of my health would deteriorate before the age of 50. Back then, I had no idea how I was going to go about doing it. But my ‘why’ led me to find a way.
In simple terms, my ‘why’ became “I don’t want to die”. (Who could argue with that!)
The Importance of Having a Why
I don’t know about you, but not wanting to die is very good motivation for taking action – even when the excuses come up in your mind!
A strong ‘why’ is all you need to move from being interested in change, to being committed. It has to be powerful enough for your mind to believe not working towards that change, will be putting yourself in danger. Remember, the brain is always trying to protect itself. So if you can convince it that not taking action is harmful, you start the catalyst to make resistance less painful.
In my Goal Setting Planner for Women Over 40, there is a section called Crafting My Journey. This is all about making a true decison by defining your ‘why’ and committing to achieving the result. Cutting yourself off from any other possibility.
It’s such an important part of the goal setting process in developing new beliefs about who you are, enabling your behaviour to change and support the new identity you are creating.
How to Define Your Why
Our thoughts about any situation, shapes our beliefs about the meaning of our experiences. But in reality, thinking is nothing but the process of asking and answering questions.
Asking the right questions is the key!
Before you take action on any change you want in your life, it’s important to think about your past, present and future. When you make a commitment to change, you have to be honest with yourself. Start by asking the following questions:
- Where am I now?
- Where am I going?
- How will I get there?
- Why do I want it?
The most important question is “why do I want it”. Even if you don’t know the how. By expressing on paper the reason for accomplishing your goal, you create images in your mind of who you will become in the future. Describe how you will feel. What you would be doing. What you may have learned. What you look forward to doing next.
Having clear statements of ‘why’, reinforces your reasons to continue the journey of transformation.
Your answers to the four questions above will be a constant reminder of how important it is to take action. Especially, ‘Your Why’.
So many times I’ve woken up not wanting to work out. Times I’ve over indulged in foods that we not the most healthy. Had periods of procrastination. However, each and every time I managed to avoided those self-sabotaging actions, is when I created a big enough ‘why’.
There’s no doubt we all have off days or even weeks. Periods of our life when we find excuses not to do the things we say we want to do. But, creating an unshakable ‘why’ to use as your compass to get back on track, is a sure fire way to stay committed to the journey – no matter how long it takes.
There is only two mistakes we can make along the road the change; not starting and not going all the way.