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Unleash your goals: Ask 'why' before 'how'

Friday, December 06, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Tricia Molloy

The next time you establish a goal, stop and ask "Why?” before you ask "How?”

When you get crystal clear about the reasons behind a goal, you will be much more motivated to reach it. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble by not pursuing someone else’s goals. And knowing "why” will keep you going when times get tough.

Think about a goal that’s important to you. It might be a personal goal, like exercising more, or a professional goal, like getting a promotion.

Make a list of all the benefits that come from accomplishing this goal. Don’t edit yourself. Just write. If it appeals to you, you can mind map it. For example, if you want to exercise more, the "whys” might include:

  • Feel better.
  • Look better.
  • Be healthier.
  • Live longer.
  • Think clearer.
  • Be happier.
  • Lose weight.
  • Enjoy more energy.

Then, go a step further and ask, "So what?” For example, losing weight might mean you’ll fit into your favorite clothes you tucked deep inside your closet. Feeling better and enjoying more energy will enhance your relationships with your family, friends, coworkers and clients. You’ll be healthier and that means less time at the doctor’s office -- maybe even a longer life.

Or, let’s say you want to advance your career and apply for a promotion. The benefits of a promotion might include:

  • Earn more money.
  • Lead more people.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Challenge yourself with new responsibilities.
  • The pride of accomplishment.

Go one step further and ask, "So what?” That extra money may secure your child’s college fund, enable you to go on that European vacation you’ve put off for years. or give your spouse the option to retire earlier than planned. Learning new skills and challenging yourself with new responsibilities may spark more passion for your work. As for the pride of accomplishment, that’s priceless.

Continue to ask "So what?” until you’ve exhausted all your benefits. Then, do some affirmative journaling — write about the life you choose to live — the one you enjoy after achieving your goals. You might start: "Today was a very good day. After my regular morning workout at the gym, I changed into my chic, black suit with shiny red pumps. (Men, you’ll have to insert your own feel-good outfit!). I had so much energy and clarity that I accomplished everything I needed to get done by 1 o’clock this afternoon. That left me plenty of time for…” You get the idea.

Our subconscious mind is a powerful goal-getting tool. It reacts to the stimulus it receives -- negative and positive. Positive actions like journaling feed our subconscious with what we want to come true.

In a Ted TalkSimon Sinek, the author of Start with Why, shares how the why-before-how process helps turn dreams into reality. Once the "whys” are clear, the "hows” take care of themselves.

Tricia Molloy is a corporate leadership speaker and the author of Working with Wisdom. She works to inspire professionals to be more positive and productive through keynote speeches and employee development talks, workshops and webinars.

Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and sponsors.

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