Do The ‘Why’ Exercise To Find Your Deepest Motivation

Do The ‘Why’ Exercise To Find Your Deepest Motivation

We all have goals, but it’s important to ask “why.” Why do you want to lose that 10 pounds? To eat healthier? Or to get that promotion? You might fumble for canned answers, but they’re probably not your real “why.” Dig deep and discover the real source behind your motivation, your true “why.” Here’s how.

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Perhaps initially your “why” for some of those questions above was “to look good,” “to attract your desired partner” or “to buy a new car.” A more concrete “why” is a lot less obvious and creates a powerful reason to pursue that which will give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. We call this intrinsic motivation, which will help get you much farther with your goals.

This is a written exercise, so grab a pen and paper to get started. Here’s an example of how it’s done:

  • Start by clearly stating your objective. Let’s say your goal is to lose 15 pounds.
  • Ask “why.” Your answer might be: “So I can fit into my old medium-sized shirts again and not be embarrassed by my love handles when I sit down.” Be sure to write it down.
  • Ask why again: “So I can be more attractive and confident.”
  • Why? What would confidence do? “So I can be more happy with myself and do things I know I’m capable of.”

Your own “why” exercise might be more detailed and take fewer or more “whys.” The point is to keep asking why until you arrive at your ultimate reason for pursuing your goal.

Take your time with this exercise and be patient. When you’ve found it, hang onto that “why.” Tape it somewhere visible and use it as a constant reminder to yourself as to “why” you do something. Return to it when your motivation falters, or when you’re struggling to see the results of your work. Maybe when you hit that plateau and you’re not sure where to go, come back and read your “why” again. It’s surprisingly powerful.

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