So far in March we have covered Strategic Goal Statements in terms of identifying what needs to change and our vision of the future. Both gave us an opportunity to do some self-assessment and dreaming which I hope that has gotten you ready to take the next step: Identifying your Why.
Over the years, I have set many goals for myself. From the typical New Year’s resolutions, to long-term goals, goal setting is something I am familiar with.
I am also all too familiar with the concept of failing as said goals…
Maybe you are too?
This past September I enrolled in a course that Michael Hyatt offered called “5 Days to your Best Year Ever.” In this course I learned something that has changed how I approach any change I want to make in my life: the concept of the Why.
The Why is the reason we want to do the hard work of change. It’s the thing we cling to when we get stuck in the “messy middle”; that place where things are no longer what they used to be, but aren’t quite yet what we hope them to become.
The why is what gets us past the struggle and into the triumph.
Think of it in terms of a home renovation project. We see that the kitchen, for instance, doesn’t fit with how our family needs to live within the house (self-assessment). We dream and work with a designer to create a plan to bring that dream into a reality (vision). In the middle, though, is a ton of mess and frustration due to increased costs, extended deadlines, lost product and who knows what else. It gets messier as we live without a kitchen, increasing our eating out and on-the-go meals. Anyone who has ever gone through a kitchen renovation knows it is one of the toughest remodeling project to take on. In the middle of it we don’t just call it quits, though do we? No, we push on to get to the goal of that new kitchen.
Because we must get back to some sort of working kitchen; we need a stove and refrigerator and counters to effectively feed our family. That’s what keeps us going through the mess and frustration. When we start out the renovation we focus on the end result of the dream kitchen but that’s not enough. When things get really tough we can choose any quick fix just so that the mess will end, but we don’t. We focus on the dream.
Because the dream is based on what it can accomplish for us when it is achieved. In this case of the renovation, it could be a better work-flow in the kitchen, more space for everyone to gather or to create a safe space. That’s the why that keeps us going.
In our lives, the why is just as important to taking us through the mess within us as we make changes.
Finding the Why.
Break it Down. One of the goals I have shared is that I want to feel confident in a swim suit by the time summer hits. My vision is based on feeling confident. My self-assessment revealed the pattern of behavior I had been living with was based on a lie that told me I was only acceptable if my body looked a certain way in a swim suit. This behavior had produced condemnation within that caused me to strive for my ideal image in all sorts of unhealthy ways.
Identify the Root Need. This has been something I have struggled with for years and, honestly, I am tired of the struggle. I am done with feeling like I don’t measure up and feeling like I can’t enjoy myself and our friends around the beach or the pool. I am also nearing the half-century point and I do not want to carry this behavior into the second half of my life. I need to feel safe in who I am.
Articulate the Reason: Once I got to this point on my goal setting I stopped and asked myself a series of questions: Why do I want to be free of this struggle? Why do I want to be confident in a swim suit versus some other goal? Why do I want to change what I have been doing? Once I framed my struggle in this way the answer became clear: Because living in the fear of condemnation is not living in the freedom of Jesus and if I am not living in His freedom but profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ I am engaging in hypocritical behavior.
That is my why. It’s the thing I hold on to when making choices about how I treat my body. The thought I shout back to the condemning voices when they try to rear their ugly heads again. It’s what is keeping me going through the messy middle when I am no longer what I used to be but not yet where I want to be.
What about you? Why do you have the goals you do? Take time this week to break down your goals to reveal the root need and then articulate the reason. It matters and has a direct impact on your success.
Next week we will bring all that we have covered about Strategic Goal Statements together and create an action plan. In the meantime, join the conversation: Share one of your Why's.