Article at a Glance:
- If we want to change our behaviors, we have to get clear on WHY we want that change.
- The part of the brain that drives behavior is concerned with feelings, not language.
- Great leaders and companies know how to communicate their WHY, or the purpose behind everything they do.
- Understanding your deepest values and beliefs can help you live a life of authenticity, that’s aligned with what you value most.
Did you set New Year's goals, intentions, or resolutions?
If you did, have you stuck to them, or are they already a distant memory now that we’re more than halfway through January?
Now think about this: did you think about WHY you set those goals? Did you consider the purpose behind them? Did you set out to change behaviors alone, or change who you are?
This is the key to lasting motivation!
This month, we’re talking about Simon Sinek’s TEDx Talk “It Starts With Why” (which is also a book).
While this talk is mostly geared toward businesses and organizations, there’s a lot to take away as an individual as well. Watch it here:
What This Means for YOU
Let’s review a few key takeaways and how they might apply to you:
- Understanding and communicating the why behind what you do is the key to inspiring yourself and others. (This means more motivation to create the changes you want!)
- If you feel inspired by a leader, organization, or company, it’s because you connect with their why (aka their purpose, cause, or beliefs).
- By starting with why, with the purpose or emotion behind an action, you’re communicating with the part of the brain that drives decision-making (aka the limbic system or subconscious). Then, the neocortex can start connecting the how, or the actions that support that decision.
This means that understanding your why, your motivations, and your deepest beliefs, is the key to behavior change.
How to Start With Your Why
So, if you want to inspire yourself to take action (and possibly get others on board too), you’ve gotta work from the inside out.
You can do this in a few different ways. Let’s explore two main ways you can align your WHY and behavior.
Option A: How to Change Your Behavior (aka set a habit or reach a goal)
If there’s something you KNOW you want to do, start with the why, the purpose, the identity you want to adopt, your values, and your beliefs.
Look at a goal you’ve set for yourself or a habit you want to make.
Now think about WHY you want those things. Not the results you want, but the why, or the feeling you’re after.
For example, if you want to start a side hustle to make $1,000 extra dollars per month, think about why you want that. The extra money isn’t your why, that’s a result. What feeling do you want?
Maybe you want to raise that money so you can take your family on that trip to Italy you’ve been talking about for years.
But that’s not your why either. Go a little deeper.
Why do you want to go on that trip?
Maybe you want to spend quality time with your family, give your kids an eye-opening experience they’ll always remember, etc.
In this case, your why might be connection, family, and personal growth.
Now that’s a why.
When you’re motivated from within rather than from external pressure. You’ll be able to put a lot more power behind that side hustle!
Option B: Aligning Actions With Your Beliefs
“Your actions prove what you believe.” - Simon Sinek
You can also get to know your deeper values so you can make decisions that are in line with your beliefs. That’s the key to living an authentic life that reflects what’s most important to you!
How do you find your deep values, beliefs, and whys?
You can start by looking at the actions you are taking and ask what you get out of them.
How do you spend your time? Your money?
What do you like about the things you do?
Now ask yourself…do your actions line up with your values? (This might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a good question to ask!)
If you say you value health but you haven’t exercised since…well, you can’t remember when, maybe that isn’t a real value for you, or maybe there’s something you value more. There’s no right or wrong here! It’s just a matter of digging deep and finding what really matters to YOU.
If you say you value family but consistently blow off family dinner to get extra work done, either you don’t value what you think you do, or it’s time to log off early so you can make family game night a priority.
With your values in mind, who do you want to be? How would you act and live if your actions and values matched?
For example, if you realize that connection and family are deep values for you, you might decide you don’t actually want to start a side hustle because that would take time away from your family. You might decide to delay that project for a year when your youngest will be in school. (There’s no right or wrong answer here, by the way. Go with what feels right.)
Wherever you are in your life, this is always a good exercise. Our WHY can serve as a compass that guides you in every area of your life, motivating you when things get rough, or pulling you back on track when you get distracted.
This might sound like big stuff after last month’s topic, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be perfect at this! Oftentimes, our whys unfold as we live our lives. Make a habit of noticing what’s important to you, where you put your efforts, and whether those things match up.
We hope this helps you have a happy 2023 that’s aligned with what you value most!
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