When I’m coaching someone in Grow You about weight loss, she never needs help coming up with her big “why.”
She knows exactly why she wants to lose weight. Her reason will be something like… to live a longer life or to be an example to her kids or to be around for her grandkids.
All very respectable and logical reasons for wanting to lose weight.
But what most of my students in Grow You haven’t thought of and what’s much harder to develop (and often forgotten) is why they’re going to skip dessert at their friend’s wedding or at the big engagement party this week.
It’s the little whys that are left out and that cause the most chaos. So I want to share with you a little secret that will help you achieve your impossible goal this year.
It’s getting clear on your why.
And not just one basic why. A lot of little whys, and also one big helluva compelling why.
Here’s how to do it…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Multiple Whys.
Multiple Whys: Getting Clear on Your Why
You Don’t Want It As Bad As You Think
Let’s start by taking a step back.
Before you can know what your why is, you need to know why it’s even important you have one (or many, for that matter). The reason it’s so important to have a why is because it will keep you going when (not if) things are terribly hard.
What I see from most people is they think they want it, but really they don’t want it enough.
Here’s what I think…
You need to learn how to want your impossible goal more.
You want to know the how.
You think that if you know how to do something, then you will just do it. You can always figure out how to do something new, everyone can. If how was the answer, then everyone that learned how to do something would succeed. But they don’t.
So why do some people achieve their goals, and others don’t? It’s all in the why.
- Related: Check out this podcast on How To Set Goals and this blog post on How To Live An Intentional Life.
The truth is… you just have to get a stronger why. Then you’re all in.
And not just one why… you need to have multiple whys…as in over 21…
- How bad do you want to lose the weight?
- How bad do you want to work less and make more money?
- How bad do you want to meet the man of your dreams?
You also need to want it bad. And you need to know why you want it bad.
You need to feel it in your body. That’s the passion. Feel it.
What I see most is that people don’t want it bad enough.
They think it’s not even possible so they don’t spend time really managing their minds and thinking thoughts that will help them get the thing they want most. They’re stuck in the bad news of the day, the reality of their lives up to this point, and the evidence their brain is looking for to prove their doubts true.
My advice: practice wanting it.
Practice appreciating having it ahead of time. Also know why you want it. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Be all in based on the why. In fact, this is the secret sauce.
Now, a little bit about my story and my why before I share with you how to do this…
When I think back to the days when I was getting up at 4am and working 80 hour weeks between my full-time job and my online business, and everything I gave up during that time, I don’t regret it.
I gave up a year of working out, hanging out with friends, dating, all of it. Yet, I never felt burned out. In fact, I was energized! I also knew my why. I knew this was a season of my life and it was not forever. These were commitments I needed to make to myself in order to achieve my goal that year of going all in on my online business full-time. My why was my fuel. It kept me going.
Some people in those circumstances would have been burned out and tired and maybe slowed down or extended the timeline to make it not so hard, but it’s not your circumstances that cause feelings.
If I had been thinking “this is impossible”, then yes it would have been impossible. But my thoughts and feelings focused on my why, which kept me inspired, committed, motivated, and determined.
Notice this about yourself. Why do you want what it is you want?
Once you have that answer, I want you to take it deeper…
7 Levels Of Why
I don’t just want you to know why you want it. I want you to go deep.
Something that I learned from Dean Grosiosi, a real estate marketer, is the “7 Levels Of Why.”
You ask yourself why you want, what you want, 7 times…
- The first 1-3 reasons that surface are often very rational. For example, it might be “To be an example to my family and kids” or “To inspire women”.
- The next 4-5 reasons why you want those you mentioned in the first one to three reasons, will be a bit deeper. Why do you want to be an example to your family and kids? “So my kids don’t have to experience what I went through”…see how that is deeper? You feel this reason why in your heart more.
- Then, at 6-7 layers deep you get to the real why, the compelling why. Why don’t you want your kids to experience what you went through? “Because you want to be in control of your life because you think your parents did a bad job”.
For you…why do you want what you want? Then write it down.
The real, heartfelt why is more important than what you want or how you’re going to do it.
If you have a compelling why, you’ll work through all the hard times to achieve it.
The women I coach in Grow You want to jump to this place where they’re motivated every day, excited, and really happy about working on their goals. This is what they are envisioning and also what they should feel like and create.
However, what I help them to do is to plan for when they’re not happy, for when something goes wrong, for when it’s really challenging to stick to their plan. That’s what you need to plan for. Not for the happy times.
It’s easy to work on your goals when you’re “in the mood.”
What I want you to do is to anticipate not being in the mood and then have a plan for it. And the best way I know how to plan for that time, is to get your mind right. Part of that is having “multiple whys” .
You have to figure out why it is that you want, what it is that you want. That is the main why. It has to be compelling to you.
So let’s take a look at how you go about getting there.
Why Do You Want It?
First, start by knowing what you want.
This is your big goal. For example, your goal is to lose weight, make more money, work less, have a fulfilling career, meet a lifelong partner, pay off your debt…it can be anything!
Next, identify why you want it.
That thing that is in your heart…why do you want it so bad?
Why? Be able to articulate it. Be honest. Then repeat and ask yourself, why you want that. And then do this again.
I like doing this seven times so you get to you heart.
This is your main why. It’s the main reason for why you want to achieve your big, impossible goal.
Finally, come up with a list of whys that are compelling enough for you to skip dessert.
Basically, have multiple whys for when it’s hard.
Let’s be honest. When you’re sitting there reading this blog post or listening to the podcast, you get pretty inspired and remember your why. Then you’re off to the races and feeling good…at least for a little bit. Having a big why is great, and it’s important, but it’s not enough to help you not eat fries on Friday or go to work on your business on a Saturday morning.
Anticipate the obstacles. Have a strategy. What’s your why for saying “no”? If you have this clearly defined in your head, then you’re prepared for anything.
- Thursday rolls around and you’re supposed to go to the gym after work, but the girls in the office invite you to happy hour and a bite to eat? What’s your why for saying no?
- Or you’re at that wedding on Saturday and everyone else is eating cake? What’s your why for saying no?
- Or you’ve stayed on your food plan and still haven’t lost more weight? Why are you still going to stay committed?
- Or you’ve already gone on 35 dates this quarter and your single friend keeps sending you memes about how dating is the worst? What’s your why for continuing to keep going?
- Or you’ve been in a relationship for 5 years and he ends it? What’s your why for getting back out there and dating again?
- Or your new job isn’t what you thought? What’s your why for sticking it out?
- Or you haven’t made any money from your online business yet? What’s your why to keep working on it?
Basically, what’s your why for when things go terribly wrong?
I want you to plan for when things fall apart, for when you miss the mark, for when you fail. Plan for when you’re full of doubt. What is that why for you? Plan for it ahead of time. It also just has to be compelling to you.
You must have a compelling why (or many whys) that keep you going. So create a list of whys that relate to why it matters to you, that you do the small things.
Every day. Every action. Every thought matters. You need to want it on the Monday and have a strong enough why to stay on track through to Sunday.
- Related: Clarifying Questions For Goal Success podcast
A Compelling Why
One thing to keep in mind here is that your why doesn’t have to be spectacular or altruistic–it just needs to be compelling to you. You don’t have to change the world, save the orphans, and the planet. And there’s no need to judge your why.
It just needs to be compelling to you. That is all.
I’m very clear on my overarching why for my life. My why is to be an example of an amazing human. I don’t worry about perfection (perfect is boring). But I always want to exemplify the human experience to the highest degree I can. This means screw-ups, lessons learned, and being willing to experience pain because I’ll be stronger for it.
For me, I think about my why, as being my highest self. Being a human being. I’m trying to do my best. Be my highest self. It doesn’t mean that I don’t fail.
This applies to everything, including my big goals….
- Going full time on my online business.
- Turning my business into multiple six-figures–on it’s way to seven.
I’m committed. I have a voracious desire. I have grit. I have fire. I’m going to win no matter what.
When I quit drinking (more on that here), I did this cold turkey, and my why is because in my future self letters, my future self is a non-drinker. I was compelling enough for me to just stop. That’s it.
It’s a decision. Decisions are how goals are achieved (check out how I teach decision making in this podcast).
How I Achieve My Goals
I have really honed my decision-making skills in the last few years. Whenever I think about my goals or decisions, I go back to the why. I make decisions very carefully and very quickly. And I never go back on them.
If fear creeps in, I’ve trained myself to remember my why for making that particular decision.
Like getting a puppy! In my mind, my future self has two dogs, and I want that in my life. It’s hard. I’ve never had a puppy before, and it would be easier to push it off and never do it, or just not do it right now, but I decided to do it anyway.
Or when my dad was really sick and traveling back and forth to the hospital in Cleveland, and it was a lot. The doctor would pass by and say, “You’re here as if you live around the corner, and you live in Chicago. It’s unbelievable. We can’t get people who do live around the corner to come visit.” In that moment I realized my why for doing it. I want to be that type of daughter who does that. I want to look back and be the best version of a daughter that I want to be. For me, that meant going to the hospital and being there for him. Now that might be different for you, and whatever decision you want, you just need to like your reason.
I love my reason.
When you are really clear about your reason, and your why, you can come back to that and hold on to it and it will keep you going through the really hard times.
Especially when it pertains to your goals.
- When you’re not losing the weight.
- When you’ve gained weight, and you’re supposed to be losing it.
- When you’re not making any money.
What is your why?
What Happens Without A Why?
If you don’t have a compelling why—or many compelling whys—you’ll fail. It’s that simple. When things get hard or you fail (notice I said when, not if), you’ll self-sabotage (you’ll give up, take a break, or stop).
The how doesn’t matter when you don’t live and breathe your why.
And be careful about listening to people that don’t have the results that you want. They are making decisions based on what they want for their life. Not your life. They might be focused on their why, or have no real why guiding their decisions at all. Be internally balanced and forget externally balanced.
A Really Bad Why
Now I know I mentioned above that it’s okay to have any sort of why that is compelling for you. That you feel in your heart and that keeps you going. But I want to mention one why that is a really bad one to have.
If your why is comfort, it’s not going to work.
When I say comfort, I mean any material thing that adds pleasure externally, also known as a false pleasure, like a vacation, a bigger house, more clothes, a nicer car, working fewer hours, etc. The reason comfort is a really bad why is because achieving a goal requires enormous discomfort.
You won’t be willing to experience the pain and emotional discomfort, that it takes to succeed and achieve your impossible goal, if your why is comfort.
Think about it, if you want to build an online business and make money online and your why is to have nicer things, work less, and live a more comfortable life. You will not give up the things and make the sacrifices you need to make to make it happen.
This is different than wanting to have fulfilling work, have more work flexibility, and being willing to do what it takes to get there. For example, I have complete flexibility now, but there was a time I was getting up at 4am to do this work, then working all day. My life was built on so much discomfort. I’m just willing to experience that discomfort to achieve what I have, my goal.
I was all in. Would I want to do that all forever? No way. But I knew it was a season.
If the only reason you want to achieve your goal is for more comfort, you’re never going to work as hard as you have to work and be willing to experience the emotional discomfort. The journey to get there is the opposite of comfort. You’ll make excuses. You’ll see it in your results. Results don’t lie.
The zero to one is the hardest first step.
- It’s losing first few pounds.
- It’s losing the relationship.
- It’s seeing the first few sales come in.
That’s the hardest part. It takes so much failure and so many obstacles. It doesn’t take the how. You don’t need more of the how. I can tell by someone’s energy, of their level of energy and level of commitment. Bring awareness to what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling and what you’re making all those failures and obstacles mean. And instead of making them mean that something has gone wrong and that you’re on the wrong path and that you should stop.
Make it mean that it’s time to double down and go all in! Be committed. Be clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Additional Online Business Resources:
A Final Note!
This year, I want you to fill your mind with positivity, with inspiring and motivating content that will help you hold tight to your why.
Whether that’s the podcasts, the books, the courses, the coaching programs, the live events… all of it. Whatever is going to help you remember why it is you want what you want, is going to help you take your life to the next level and achieve that impossible goal.
Be a leader of your life.
Know why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Up Next – watch the YouTube video…