When tackling a big change… it is CRUCIAL that you find your BIG WHY and help it align with who you are.
For most of us, even positive change can be very uncomfortable and many people stay stuck in painful patterns because they haven’t found a way to tie the changes they WANT to make to their values and who they are fundamentally.
When you align your goals with who you are, that’s when the real changes can be made and this drives us to keep going when the going gets tough (as it usually does).
That’s where your BIG WHY comes in.
Digging deep, and discovering what it is about who YOU are that aligns with the person and goal you are setting out to acheive.
But … hold the phone…telling people to find their big why is just the beginning. Most of my clients look at me with glazed over looks as if I just asked them to solve a complex calculus equation….
“How in the world do I do that?”
Well, after researching, pondering, and reviewing what I’ve done with clients in the past, I’ve come up with 6 ways to uncover the notorious “BIG WHY”…
- Tap into your intrinsic motivation.
Social psychologists describe this as your internal source that guides you. Juxtaposing the “extrinsic sources” such as peer pressure, gifts & rewards, etc. It’s the thing that motivates us when no one is watching… what drives YOU to do it despite what others may think? It’s about finding joy in the task (or “joy in the journey”) itself. The activity that gets you to your goals is it’s own reward. (I.e. reframing exercise as coveted “me time”). When you find your intrinsic motivation you’ll begin to feel more energy and drive around the actions of your goals.
Side note: I sometimes use measures like the Enneagram to help people learn more about themselves when they feel stuck or are unsure. Learn more here.
2. Create a mission or vision board.
Put this into action. Grab some markers and paper and create a personal mission statement that is intrinsically fueled. This mission must stand on it’s own and not be another “means to an end”. Additionally, your mission should be attainable and reasonable for your current competencies & ability to commit. Set small, explicit, and attainable goals.
3. Cultivate Your Passion.
The word passion holds a lot of energy. Passion is what fuels people to do things they never thought they could do and keeps us focused.
To tap into your passion ask yourself — 1. What do you really want deep, deep down? 2. What did you want and enjoy doing as a child? 3. Brainstorm and list all the things you are PASSIONATE about, even ideas and beliefs (i.e. equal rights), and 4. What are you afraid of doing that you want to do and what comes naturally for you?
Writing all of these items down will help you understand your passions, desires, and what is fundamentally YOU.
4. Personal Resonance.
Personal resonance, as described by author Peter Hutton, is about the power of “identification and belonging” — very big motivators especially for the givers out there. When you are fully and unapologetically YOURSELF, like minded people are drawn to you. This part of your BIG WHY is crucial and takes #3 a step further by getting clear on your values, beliefs, causes, and believed purpose in life.
5. Find your Opposing Views.
Although finding who you are is very important, it is also important to draw distinctions on what or who you are not. It helps you finalize who you want to be and makes it clear to others. It helps you build healthy boundaries, when peer pressure sets in to get margaritas and tacos on Tuesday and then Wednesday, and Friday when you know that will sabotage your goals. It’ll help you be strong in your sense of self, your sense of saying the oh-so important word, “No.”, and increase your resistance to FOMO (or fear of missing out).
6. Last, and certainly not least — APPLICATION.
Apply these beliefs, values, and your vision to your goal. For instance, I had a goal of getting better at CrossFit and really had to dig deep to find out why that mattered and aligned with me, Jenny.
What I discovered was: I believe in empowerment, female equality, self betterment, challenge, “me time”, self care, trying new and novel things… and that’s just the beginning of the things that also correlated to getting better at CrossFit (i.e. the large female presence and equal treatment in the sport, the importance on recovery and self care, always trying new movements and challenges… etc.)
Tie your internal motivators and who YOU are to your goals. I assure you they have time and time again held MUCH more weight than “I want to look a certain way” or “I want to get to a certain number.”
At the end of the day, your goals become who you are. And the first step is to match those concepts in your brain so you can put it to action and have your own built-in back up when the going gets tough!