How to Discover the Why Behind Our Goals

With any goal, there’s always a why behind it. That “big why” is the driving force that keeps the wheels churning and the lights on. It’s the thing that gets us excited to jump out of bed in the morning, go do that thing, or go work on that project. It’s the big kahuna, the big reason why. So in deciding to put heart and soul into something big and go all in, determining the big why factor behind it is hugely helpful. It can be hard to do this sometimes, and the only reason for that is because sometimes the big why is hidden deep under a few layers of surface level fluff. 

Determining your “big why” sometimes takes a little digging and prodding to get it to reveal itself. So that’s what we’re going to do today. Woop woop! So I’ll walk you through this process, and I think you’ll find that it’s pretty easy, and can be repeated over and over with many different goals that you have. 

Luckily, it really is super simple to find your biggest, deepest, most amazing “why” with this exercise, so grab a pen and paper (or download and print out the sheet below) and let’s dive in. 

Get the free worksheet to accompany this exercise below!

 
 

Determining Your “Why” Exercise 

Figuring out what that driving force is beneath a big goal is as simple as asking yourself a few easy questions. The process is simple, but that doesn’t mean the answers won’t be huge! So this exercise is comprised of a series of questions that prompt you to dig deeper into what it is that you want and why you want it. When I first did this exercise, it really surprised me! I think so often we think we know exactly what it is that we want and why we want it, but there’s usually something much bigger underneath. 

Here is an example of how this exercise looks and works so you can see it in action and get the gist of it before we dive in.

Example “Why” Exercise

1.) What do you want? / What is the goal that you have?

To earn a million dollars a year. 

2.) Why do you want that?

So my family and I can live the lifestyle that we want.

3.) Why is this reason important to you?

Security, comfort, sending our kids to college. 

4.) (Remember, dig deeper!) Ok, so why do you want that?

We would never have to worry about the finances anymore. 

5.) And what will that bring you?

I can finally do the things I want, I can spend more time with my family, and we’d be free to travel more.

Bingo.

So it’s not that the million dollar goal is a bad goal to have, it’s a great goal!! Who wouldn’t want a million dollars? But the point of uncovering the big why is to sync up with the heart of it so that it’s part of the whole process from start to finish. It’s sort of like a tree, where the outer goals are the branches and leaves and the trunk of the tree is the why. So focusing on a leaf or branch goal is great, and that can be so much fun! But it can get tangly when we ask those goals to become the trunk of our tree. It’s like asking the leaf of a tree to do the job of the trunk, they’re two different things.

So in this example the true goal, the why, was that freedom to spend time with family, enjoy life, and travel. It wasn’t necessarily the million dollars. And it has to be said that a million dollars is an amazing goal! But it’s also super enlightening to discover the feeling of the real goal underneath, because that helps take the pressure off of the million dollars, and also helps to open up to other options as well.

Your Turn!

So, let’s turn this exercise over to you! Let’s find out the root of your motivation, your big why, shall we? Either follow along with the worksheet if you’ve downloaded it (simply subscribe above!) or pull out a sheet of paper and follow along.

Discovering Your Why

Answer these questions below on a piece of paper or on the downloadable worksheet (above.)

  1. What do you want right now? / What is the goal that you have?

  2. Why do you want this goal?

  3. Why do you want that?

  4. And why do you want that?

  5. Why do you want that? What will that bring you?

If you need to continue with further “why” questions, keep going! Dig deep. Don’t give up. Keep asking why until you can’t ask anymore, and when that happens, you’ve nailed. it. There may be a “ping” feeling of resonance or you may realize “Aha, that’s it!”

I think we can all agree that lightbulb moments are the most fun.

So with that big why in mind for this goal, keep that in the forefront of your journey, because that’s the space where everything stems from. It’s the trunk of the tree. And leading with your “why” opens up to not just that one leaf, or that one goal, but all of the other hundreds of branches and thousands of leaves on that same tree. 

Was this exercise helpful? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about your experience.