Know Why You Want What You Think You Want

A new year is upon us. A fresh beginning. Twelve whole months to achieve this, become that, and acquire the other. Whatever your goals or resolutions are for 2007, be they overwhelmingly gigantic, or very reasonably attainable, the secret to achieving them is to take consistent steps in the direction you want to go in.

And believe it or not, the first step is to know not only what you want, but why you want it. This is important because it goes to the heart of your motivation. If you’re not crystal clear as to why you want what you want, then when the usual procrastination triggers occur you’re very likely to fall prey to them. This may sound a little off the wall, but you may not want what you think you want, or you may not want it for the reasons you think.

It is a very common experience among coaches to have clients show up with a particular agenda, and for it to emerge some sessions down the line that the real agenda is something else entirely. Why? Because for the most part we live our lives unconsciously, and we set ourselves goals and follow them unconsciously. When we get in touch with what really matters to us, we often discover that what we really want is much more simple than what we thought we were after all along.

Or indeed it may be much more complex and challenging a prospect than what we wanted to take on, and therefore we were trying to convince ourselves that we wanted something else, something easier to achieve. Knowing what we really want, and why we really want it, can be unsettling, but it is also energising and motivating. When it’s a deeply felt authentic desire, pursuing it will be a joy in itself.

When you get down to the essence of what you want, you can tell immediately if it supports your core values or is in conflict with them. If there’s a conflict, you can be absolutely certain that you will sabotage yourself along the way, even though you might not be consciously aware of why you’re not seeing it through. When your goals are in alignment with your values, you’ll have the commitment to see it through despite the difficulties you’ll encounter.

One of my major ambitions for this year is to start running personal retreats helping people to learn how to be truly happy. I want to build outdoor adventure activities into the mix, and make these workshops a significant part of my business. I don’t know when, or where exactly, or the precise how-to’s yet. But none of that worries me because I do know why I want to do it.

I want to do this because I want to combine group coaching with fun activities, as I come across people all the time who are prepared to spend more money on holidays than on their own personal development, and yet they are asking themselves why they aren’t happy. And I am committed to helping people to realise that they can be happy right here right now, without the perceived perfect life conditions they wish for.

I want to do it because it will be fun for me too, and I am totally committed to having fun in my life at all times. For me, fun isn’t about frivolity, or at least not exclusively! It’s about thoroughly enjoying what I’m doing at the time I’m doing it.

I also want to feel free at all times. Freedom for me is about always feeling that I have a choice, never doing something out of a feeling of obligation, but rather because right now it’s what I want to do.

I want my life to be a continuous adventure. The fact that right now I just have the bare bones of a plan, with all of the details still to be fleshed out, scared me at first. But now I view it as an adventure. I know what I want and why I want it, and I’m going to give myself as much time as I need to discover exactly how to, rather than pressurising myself to deliver it as soon as possible. To do that would be to make it too much like hard work – the opposite of fun and freedom! Hmm, I might even need to head off on some personal retreat for myself as a first step – what a thrilling idea…

And along the way, I might discover that what I really want to do is something else entirely. That would be absolutely fine with me, as I would make that discovery doing what I really, really want, which is to explore possibilities with a sense of fun and freedom.

So, my point is, before blindly chasing your goals, know why it is you’re going after them. What will having achieved that give you? Stay focussed on the essence of what you’re after, and if you end up taking detours along the way, or even changing course altogether, it really won’t matter. You’ll have enjoyed the journey, which at the end of the day is what life is all about.