What do I mean when I say your ‘why’? Well, your ‘why’ is the reason you’re doing what you’re doing. It is the end goal, result, or emotion you want to feel. That simple ‘why’ will keep you focused and on track, and especially empowered with motivation on the days you need it the most. Your ‘why’ will be yours and yours alone, so the more specific your mental image and desire of it is, the more effective it will be. The simple wonder of creating a ‘why’ is that it can be applied to virtually anything in life, from eating healthier in order to lose weight, taking time for yourself every day to become a better you, traveling to some exotic location, or buying your dream house.
But before we get into how to make your specific ‘why’ a viable process, let’s step back and lay a foundation for creating it. Say you are working overtime and picking up extra shifts. What’s the reason you are doing this? It could just be that you need some extra cash to pay off bills, but that isn’t as strong a motivator as having a specific ‘why’ in mind. Most people actually do have a target goal outside of their daily grind that they long for deeply, but they often (wrongly) believe it is an unattainable fantasy.
Perhaps your dream is to have an amazing house in a postcard setting (that’s definitely mine!) There are three ways you can go about conceptualizing, visualizing, and creating your ‘why’. The first is the mental image, the second, a vision board, and the third, journaling. Set aside a specific time during the day (with no distractions) when you know you can relax over a cup of tea or take a walk in the woods; this is the prime time to launch your ‘why’ project (just don’t forget a small notepad!)
Let’s start with the mental image phase. This is a necessary anchor for your process:
- mental image
Begin by visualizing that house in as much detail as possible, so that when you close your eyes, you will be transported there. For example, my dream house might look something like this:
A Mediterranean style house in the Pacific Palisades with a beautiful garden, a pool and large patio out back where you can overlook the ocean and mountains. A kitchen covered in white marble with gold cabinet fixtures. Flowers and fresh fruits on the counter.
Now it’s your turn. Close your eyes and try focusing on your personal image for about three minutes to set it firmly in your mind. Go from the big picture to individual details throughout each ‘session’. Keep coming back to it for that 3 minute power focus whenever you feel yourself short on motivation or losing your way. Think about why this is so important to you, how it makes you feel, what you plan to do there, or who you plan to share it with (and yes, pets count too!)
While I work well with abstract concepts, I really thrive with visual prompts. Over time I’ve come to realize that this style works best for me. Finding out which method animates your ‘why’ is a gradual process and you might end up mixing and matching them to achieve that great balance for success.
- vision board
If you find it hard to stay mentally focused to visualize the ‘why’ in your mind, you can create a vision board. This is my go-to method and it’s really easy and fun to implement. I have my board in my bedroom so I see it first thing in the morning and when I close my eyes at night. Simply print or cut out images from magazines that represent your ‘why’ and display them on any kind of board, wall, or refrigerator. Using the dream house example, you can put up pictures of various rooms in that Mediterranean style house along with color choices, furnishings, or whatever else will bring it to life for you. Bring as much detail as you can to your board and highlight favorite parts with attention grabbers like colored pins, swatches, or ribbons. Your board should mirror the image in your mind as closely as possible. Searching for new materials to flesh out your ‘why’ is a challenging and fun way to stay engaged for the short and long term. Remember, your board is organic and should flow.
- journal entry
If you aren’t into creating a board, but the mental image isn’t enough, you can write a journal entry describing your ‘why’. Try working with bullets, short paragraphs, quotes, or even key words. Access your creative inner self and be generous with your descriptions! Use colored pencils, fountain pens with beautiful ink colors, bold markers, or decorative tape. You can also turn your journal into a story about an ideal day in your dream house. This will make it come alive in a truly personal way.
No matter what method or methods you choose, what’s important is that you have a clear, meaningful ‘why’ and keep coming back to it to keep you positive and motivated. Just think how amazing it will feel when you’ve finally made your ‘why’ a reality!
-work for the goal, love the journey–
Solid suggestions for creating and keeping that ‘why’ in life. It’s especially pertinent now, when we really need to rethink and refactor so much and keep a positive, moving-forward attitude. Keep the inspiration coming!