I don’t know about you, but I got at least a couple of dozen emails in my inbox about goals and planning for the new year (and the new decade). Many of them had great ideas and were helpful.
So much has been written about resolutions and setting goals, but even if we really want to follow our resolutions or achieve our goals, we often fail. In fact, I recently read that over 88% of people fail at resolutions before they can affect change.
One key factor to that? Having a why.
Starting with the why of your goal doesn’t guarantee success, but it starts you off right and gives you a much better chance.
Why Your Why Matters
Knowing your why means knowing why the goal is important to you. So often advice about setting and achieving goals is about the what and when and how. Don’t get me wrong—these things matter. But too often the WHY gets left out. And without the why, we are likely to fall into that 88% who don’t achieve their goals. Identifying the why for your goal will motivate you over the long haul.
So I’m going to share with you how reflecting on your stories – the good and the hard, can help you figure out what matters to you, your why. And how reflecting on times you did achieve goals can show you the strengths you already possess. This is a different way of approaching goals that can help you persist in reaching them going forward.
Let me get personal
One of my goals last year was to create a new workshop to help people do just what I’m talking about – use reflection and writing to figure out their strengths and what they want. And I did create the workshop (it’s called Write into Joy). In order to do so, I had to write copy for a landing page and emails, create promotional copy to get the word out, write many, many personal emails to ask people to join, create content, practice what I wanted to teach and then teach the workshop. You get it, and I’m still at it.
Yes, there were bumps (I struggle with being consistent with marketing, for example), but I persisted.
Because sharing what I know about building resilience and joy through writing and reflecting on our stories matters to me at my core. I care about helping people connect deeply to what they want so that they have the why to achieve those things. AND creating content that I am proud of and sharing what I know and then seeing aha’s makes me insanely joyful and feel alive and engaged. That makes the hard work so worthwhile and makes me persist at the tasks I’m not so good at or don’t really like doing.
Looking Back and Forward – Getting Curious
Recently I wrote about looking back at our year and getting curious about what gave you energy, made you feel engaged or joyful AND also what helped you get through or even avoid bumps in the road.
That first part, the energizing and joyful stuff, are clues to what matters to you.
Noticing and writing about the times you felt totally alive, energized, happy, engaged, in awe is an amazing avenue for self-knowledge. By getting curious and reflecting on patterns, you recognize what you need more of and what you should include in your finest life. And wouldn’t adding a little bit of those activities into each and every day be amazing?
As for the bumps in the road, the process is similar. Writing down times you struggled, getting curious about how you got through – what you did right – and even how you would have handled it if you had been calm and mindful, is powerful. Knowing, in advance, tools you can use when you are triggered into anger or feel fear or anxiety helps you get through a bump in the road with more grace and a feeling of agency.
Similarly noticing when you got stuck and how you successfully managed that can help you going forward. So often that feeling of being stuck is what holds us back from achieving our goals. Having a plan of how to get unstuck can help you push forward and persist instead of giving up on your goals or dreams.
Excited about the idea of creating a more meaningful life through discovering your Why? You’ll also love my free guide, 3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love. You can start designing your best life today—a life with more energy, engagement, and clarity.