It’s that time of year…summer is almost over (well at least here in Toronto) and it’s back to school, work and more regular routines. It’s back to reality.
This time of year is also like a second January. People are getting back on track and recommitting to their goals – hoping to still accomplish what they had set out to achieve starting back in January – only now there’s even less time and the clock is ticking down to that January 2016 deadline.
So where are you on this spectrum? Are you one of the very few who has a long term vision and plan for your life and stays steady on your path working towards that regardless of circumstances and challenges? Or are you like most – on a rollercoaster struggling to be consistent with the habits you want to implement to achieve the goals you say you most want. If you’re like the majority of the world, it’s the latter. You start out with the best of intentions but before you even have time to blink, you’re back to your old, comfortable and familiar ways which are keeping you stuck and frustrated.
Why is this? Why is it so difficult to consistently change your habits despite your incredible and real desire to achieve the outcomes you want? The reality is – there are a multitude of reasons – maybe you haven’t been realistic about the time frame for achieving your goal, or you’ve taken on too much too soon, or you don’t have a personalized plan or strategy of execution, maybe you don’t have the physical or mental energy needed right now, maybe you’re on crystal clear on exactly what it is you want, maybe you don’t have the resources or support you need or maybe you’re just not connected to why you’re doing this in the first place.
It’s this last reason I want to focus on this week. The reason you want to achieve or change something in the first place? Your WHY? Why is this goal or outcome so important to you? Why do you want it now?
And this is most often where things break down. People aren’t connected at the very core of their being as why they want to achieve a certain goal. They have a somewhat superficial, logical, extrinsic sense of why they want something but they haven’t connected at a deep an emotional level to their goal. And when you don’t have this emotional depth of understanding as to why you want something then as soon as things get challenging, inconvenient, routine, hard, lonely… you give up. Circumstance wins!
So how do you connect to the real essence of why you are setting out to accomplish something, to start a new habit, to create something different in your life? You dig and you dig and you dig – in fact you dig 7 Levels Deep until you hit that emotional nerve that yells out: “Yes! This is why I am doing this and nothing will stop me!”
I learnt this strategy from one of my mentors, Dean Graziosi. Dean is one of the most respected entrepreneurs and businessmen I know and has inspired and impacted the lives of millions of people around the world through his trainings, programs and multiple NY Times bestselling books.
So how do you go 7 Levels Deep? You begin by asking yourself why you want to achieve a certain goal. Then you literally go 7 levels deep, continuing to ask yourself why 7 times until you get to that deep and emotional reason that you know will survive any challenge along the way.
Here is an example of what happened when I did this exercise with a client I was working with a few years ago and it will also illustrate how you can do this yourself.
“John” came to me wanting to lose about 40 pounds. He had been trying for about 7 years with no luck and had no identified health issues. For all intents and purposes he was a healthy 56 year old man. So I after going through all my regular intake questions I asked him why he wanted to lose the weight. In a much condensed version of our conversation, this is essentially what he discovered…
- “John”, why do you want to lose weight? To be healthier…I’m not getting any younger…
- Why do you want to feel healthier? So that I feel better, feel more vibrant and alive…
- Why do you want to feel more vibrant and alive? I want to have more energy and not be exhausted so often.
- Why do you want to have more energy? I want to be able to do more with my kids grandkids – they live an active and adventurous life and I want to be a part of that.
- Why do you want to be so involved active with them? I want us to create memories together that they will have for a lifetime.
- Why is creating those memories for them so important to you? Because I don’t them and I don’t want that for them.
- Why don’t you have them? Because I never knew my grandparents, they passed away before I was born and my dad passed away from a heart attack when I was 7. So all through my life I saw and felt what I was missing out on and I don’t want that for any of my children or grandchildren. I want to be at my grandkids weddings – celebrating and enjoying those life moments with them….
I’m sure you can clearly feel and see the difference between “John” wanting to lose weight to feel healthier and wanting to lose the weight so that he could be at his grandkids weddings one day. Needless to say he lost the 40 pounds in just under 4 months because now when temptation crossed his path, saying no wasn’t about just being healthy but about celebrating milestones with his kids and grandkids. And so no longer did eating healthy seem like a punishment but more of a gift he was giving both himself and his family.
So now…what is your WHY? Whatever goals and ambitions you have, why do you have them? And is your why 7 Levels Deep? If not, I’m going to encourage you to dig deeper and find that real emotional truth for yourself. And then notice how your discipline and commitment “miraculously” shifts.
Until next week – embrace your inner truth, live your purpose and make your contribution in the world.
With gratitude and appreciation,