Finding My Why
Years ago I struggled a lot with being messy. I still procrastinate a lot on doing chores like washing dishes and cleaning out the garage, but I’m so much better than I used to be. Something that helped me was a book called The Messies SuperGuide written by Sandra Felton. (I think it’s out of print now.) One of the things Sandra said in the book was to decide why you wanted your home clean, neat, or organized. Is it to be able to find things easier? So you’re not embarrassed when someone stops by? To be able to walk through your living room without tripping? LOL For me it was all of those reasons, but even more inspiring for me was Beauty.
I had to find the reason WHY I wanted my home clean and in order to begin the process to a more orderly life. I wanted my home to be pretty. To surround myself with beauty is like giving oxygen to my soul. I can breathe and I feel at peace.
With anything we want to accomplish, we need to find our “Why”. The real reason why. It isn’t enough for the reasons to be external–like to get your spouse to stop nagging you or to get the approval of others. Those reasons are only temporary. When he stops nagging about your overly stuffed closet or if you turn heads at the beach, when the accolades end for the award we won, then what? What will motivate you next week? We can’t depend on others to give us positive or negative reasons to accomplish our goals. Motivation has to come from within to be lasting.
Find Your Why
Is there something you’re wanting to accomplish? What is it and why? Here is a simple way to get to your “Why” and it involves asking yourself some questions.
Write down what it is you want to accomplish? Don’t have a pen? Type it in a message to yourself.
Next, ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” Write it down.
Then ask yourself again–Why is that important to me?
How does that make me feel?
What will be the short-term benefits or rewards of meeting this goal?
Are these rewards worth the effort?
What are the long-term benefits or rewards?
Why is it worth the effort?
Who will it benefit besides me and why is that important to me?
Keep asking why to find your real reasons and motivation for change or to accomplish a goal–BEFORE you get to the how or what. We all need this internal motivation before we can ever accomplish goals with lasting effects.
Why did I want my house beautiful? My first response was for my own emotional well-being, but there were more reasons and it wasn’t just for myself. I wanted my family to enjoy living in a beautiful, peaceful home. I wanted a place that was comfortable for extended family and friends to visit. I wanted to be able to display special things of my Grandmother’s which made her feel close. I wanted art supplies, books and toys easy for my children to find and use. I wanted to be able to find what I wanted without hunting through piles of junk. You see what I mean? There is more than one “Why”.
Turn Negative Thoughts and Reasons into Your Positive Why
Some of our external and much of our internal reasons to change come from negative thoughts and opinions. But if we take these negative reasons and turn them into positive ones, we are much more likely to respond to that positive motivation. If someone is nagging, you can turn your reason into promoting a happy, fun relationship. If you are trying to exercise more, instead of thinking of how out of shape you are, think about how you love your body and want to take care of it. Even further, think of all the things you will be able to do when you accomplish your goal like if you get in shape, you will definitely take those skiing lessons next winter. Maybe you want to Start thinking positively about your situation.
I had to do this with my house. I had to stop thinking of it as a disaster area and think of the possibilities. I had to stop thinking about hating the mess and instead see the possibility of the beauty. Hope is our ally when we face change. When we find our motivation for change, it helps us to see a positive future. We have to stir up the hope in us for positive results and believe that it can happen for us. We only do this by keeping our “Why” in front of us.
Ask Yourself Why
So ask yourself, Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to save money? Why do you want to get a different job? What do you want to eat healthier? Why do you want to stop arguing? Why do you want to make more money? Why do you want to go back to school? Why do you want to start a business? Why do you want to travel? Why do you want to be a volunteer at the animal shelter? Or whatever you are wanting to do. Why do I want to ____________? You fill in the blank.
Include Others in Finding Your Inspiration
When faced with a family task, change that includes the family or a common family goal, asking these questions with your family can not only help with motivation and inspiration, but it can help you and your spouse or children to get on the same page with goals. Finding a family reason “Why” for cleaning out the garage or saving longer for that vacation can make the pain of the effort worth it and can bring unity in your relationships.
Write It Out
After you’ve found your “Why”, write it on a notecard or piece of paper and put it on the frig, on the bathroom mirror or above the TV–somewhere you will see it often. Read it, remember it, talk about it. Keep your “Why” in front of you and on your mind until it becomes a part of you. When I discovered my “Why” for cleaning and organizing my house, I didn’t forget it. I told family and friends and kept the concept on the front of my mind. Sometimes the path to change is long and takes a lot of hard work, but keeping our “Why” before us helps us be persistent and to see it to its completion.
Take a Step
Lastly, take steps toward your “Why”. Make your effort visible and tangible. When I read The Messies Superguide and found my “Why” for a clean house, I was still single. I didn’t have my own place yet, but I cleared off my dresser and decorated it. It was my one spot of Beautiful in the mess. It reminded me of my motivation every time I saw it and encouraged me to take another step toward my goal. So ask yourself, “What one step I can take today toward my goal that will reinforce my “Why”?
Find your Why and you will be on your way to accomplishing your goal!