Is Your WHY Big Enough?
Each year as we transition from one year to the next, many in society take a moment to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments and set new goals for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, it is evident that we all struggle to keep our New Year resolutions past February, let alone January. If you have ever experienced the disappointment that comes from failing to keep your commitment to your goals, do not lose hope. There are practical steps you can take to stick with you new goals throughout the year. The essential ingredient for the attainment of your goals is to have clearly defined WHY.
The hardest part of reaching any goal is the journey from identifying the goal and actually realizing it. There are many bumps, potholes, and detours along the road to success. It is no wonder then that we are encouraged by the Scriptures to stay the course; “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).
A good way to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of your goals is to constantly remind yourself why you have set out to accomplish that goal. Your reason for fulfilling that dream has to be strong enough to help you break through and move past the many roadblocks to your success. Your WHY is your motive, your motivation, that thing that stimulates you, induces you, influences you and incites you to take action. From the word motive we get the words automotive and locomotive. In other words, your WHY is the engine that makes you go! Just as the fastest sports car ever made cannot move an inch without an engine, so it is for someone striving to reach a goal without a strong, clearly defined WHY. They are more likely to throw in the towel in the face of adversity.
The formula for achieving success in any area of life is quite simple: consistently doing the right activity over a period of time. In other words, the right small steps compounded over time always lead to success. This formula is clearly articulated in the Scripture quoted above from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians; “do not get tired of doing the right activity, you will reach your goal if you do not quit” (Galatians 6:9 Paraphrased). It is a simple idea but not an easy feat. Many times we get discouraged, get tired, or get side
tracked whenever we do not immediately see the results we desire. However, it is exactly during those times that we need to be reminded of our WHY.
Your motive or your reason for doing what you do has to be raw, real, and vulnerable. It has to be strong enough to even make you cry! The stronger your WHY, the more likely you are to overcome any opposition to reaching your goal!
“Why do you want to lose weight?
Because I want to lower my cholesterol and be healthy.
Why do you want to lower your cholesterol and be healthy?
Because I want to live a long life.
Why do you want to live a full life?
Because I want to see my grandchildren grow up.
Why do you want to see your grandchildren grow up?
Because I love them dearly and I want to cherish them for as long as possible.”
The series of questions above serves as an example of a practical approach to getting down to the root of your WHY. You can expect this person to stay committed and disciplined even when tempted by a mouth-watering burger and fries or when feeling like staying in instead of going to the gym. This example can be applied to any goal or any dream in any other facet of life. You can identify your motive by continually asking yourself “why” as many times as possible until you can no longer come up with an answer. This will lead you to the nitty-gritty, the bare essentials of your heart’s motive.
I want to conclude with this common (fictitious) illustration of the WHY power. Jane Doe is a Marketing consultant at a prestigious firm downtown Toronto. Her son, Little Timmy, is 4 years old. Jane works in building A and drops her son at daycare every morning in building B right next door. One day, Jane is offered $20 to walk 20 feet across a wooden plank placed at the top of buildings A and B. Both buildings are 80-storey tall structures. She laughs at the offer, “absurd” she says. Then the stakes are raised to $200,000 to do the exact same thing. She admits, “I am afraid of heights so it doesn’t matter how much money you give me, I’m not doing that in a million years.”
Then one day, after ignoring the noise of the fire truck sirens outside for about 10 minutes, Jane finally decided to step away from her computer to find out what was going on. As she approached her 78th floor window, she was terrified to discover that building B had caught on fire. The fire was quickly spreading upwards and the raging flames had already reached the 62nd floor of building B. It did not take long at all for Jane to realize that in a matter of a few minutes the flames would reach the 75th floor daycare where Little Timmy was helplessly waiting for his mother to come rescue him. Jane quickly moved to action. She sprinted to the roof of her building and, without hesitation; she threw down a 20-foot ladder across from building A where she was to building B where Little Timmy was. She moved swiftly on all fours across the ladder all the way to building B, ran down to the 75th floor, put Little Timmy on her back, ran back up to the roof of building B and crawled across the ladder with her son on her back all the way back to building A.
Now, what has changed? How come she could not do the same thing for $20 or even $200,000? How could she do that if she was afraid of heights? The answer is simple. Her WHY had changed. Her motive had gotten bigger and more real once it became about her son’s life.
I am confident that going forward, as you set out to achieve your own goals, you will be unstoppable and unwavering in your commitment as you continuously ask yourself WHY.