The Why Matters as Much as the What!

The Why Matters as Much as the What!

December 15, 2015

If you read my last post then you know I am spending some time researching and inquiring into the nature and methods of New Year resolutions.  There is actually a fair amount of scientific research into this ritual, and some of it can help in determining how likely yours will be to succeed.

Of course, most resolutions are not successful.  There are probably lots of reasons why they fail:  lack of willpower, no support, laziness, or just a lack of time.  I’m sure that you, like me, have a retort to each of these explanations, and may even think that they are excuses rather than “reasons”.  But that’s not my point here. Let’s assume they are all valid. Even so, they may not be the most insidious sources of failure.


One of the most important harbingers of failure is a bit more subtle and surprising.  It seems that in many cases, not long after making a resolution, we simply cannot remember or conjure the reason we made it in the first place.  I know that sounds weird. After all, we all know why we want to lose weight and get fit. Right?  Or why we want to make more money and gain respect at work. Right? Well, maybe it’s not quite so clear. Maybe we don’t really know why we want to do those things — or we know why, but haven’t brought it to the foreground so that the goal and the why are truly linked in our minds.

In sales, one of the most important thing a good salesman learns is to sell benefits, not features.  What does that mean? Well, it means that the cool remote that comes with your stereo may be less tantalizing and less likely to make you buy it than the ability to turn on a Barry White song as you and your date enter your house after dinner.  In other words, the remote feature is only important to you in the context of the benefit it gives you in wooing your love!

So it is with resolutions too.  We need to have a “why” in mind before promising and committing to a goal.  What is in it for you really? Why lose weight? Why get fit? What can you do or feel, have or experience when you are lighter, fitter, lither?  Will you wear different clothes or have more fun? Will you go on a trip or feel more confident?  The more texture, detail and reality you can craft into the benefit of achieving that goal, the more likely you are to pursue it.  What’s interesting is that when our why is sufficiently strong, the earlier obstacles I mentioned, like time, willpower and energy, somehow become less obstructive. They get out of the way, sometimes even disappear…just because our stake in the outcome has become more deeply personal. We are invested in the benefit more than the goal. So as you craft your resolution, start by digging into why you want to do that. It may make a difference when you look back on how you did.

Read to craft your 2016 resolutions and have your best year yet? Visit my website and contact me for a free consult!