Connecting With Your Bigger WHY
It’s a new year and another chance to approach life with a fresh perspective. This is commonly the time of year when we start taking stock of how we are living our day-to-day lives, and whether the habits, attitudes, and practices we are cultivating serve our larger values as well as how we want to show up in our lives.
At the beginning of this new year, if you have larger goals or habits you are wanting to implement in relation to any aspect of your health - your physical, emotional, psychological, or even spiritual health - I think it’s useful to consider your larger why in relationship to your short-term and even longer-term goals.
Oftentimes we set out with the intention of reaching a goal or changing some kind of behavior or habit without really fully understanding all of the underlying whys. Let’s use eating healthy as an example. Why do you want to start eating healthier? Is it because your doctor recommended you need to, or because of something you read in a magazine, or something Oprah said? Is your partner or spouse wanting you to eat healthier? Are you wanting to eat healthier in order to reach an ideal body weight or self-image? Do you even really want to eat healthier?
There are many reasons to consider and reflect on the larger why as it relates to our health and wellness goals. Sometimes the people in our lives (partners, loved ones, medical professionals) may want us to have certain goals for our health for their own particular reasons, but they might not be our own reasons. Oftentimes our larger health and wellness goals rely on some kind of external acknowledgement or reward. Many times we set goals because we think we should be doing certain things, or because we are trying to avoid or outrun a sense of shame or unworthiness we feel about ourselves.
Why does this all matter? There are a few reasons. If you are setting out to change a habit, implement a practice, or make any important change in your life, it takes a lot of work - planning, thoughtfulness, self-reflection, fortitude, anticipating future obstacles. Intuitively we all know this. So when circumstances get tough and there is every reason to give up, you need to connect with your larger why to carry you on through those rough patches, otherwise you are more likely to set the whole thing down and give up. And as much as we may love and want the respect of those around us, oftentimes other people’s whys are not always enough to carry us on through. We need to connect with the larger values, reasons, and visions in our own hearts and minds.
Ultimately you want to live your own life and not someone else’s life. Give yourself time and space to reflect on these topics. It can take a lot of self-reflectiveness patience in order to connect with these larger answers. Talk about these things with other people you trust and can thoughtfully engage with you around this. You will most likely surprise yourself. Your own personal why may be incredibly unique, thoughtful, and eccentric. If you can make a strong personal connection with your own internal values and your own internal why, it will serve as a powerful ally and motivator in living the kind of life you want for yourself.