Don’t Lose Track of the Why: A One Minute Exercise You Can Do to (Re)Gain Clarity & Focus

Since starting this blog, I’ve asked myself once or thrice, why I’m bothering to do this?

  • I don’t have that many readers (~60)
  • My subscriber growth has flat lined
  • I sometimes spend hours per post (research + writing)
  • I don’t get paid anything in exchange for my time
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, who am I to share life learnings and health advice?

I’d lost track of my why.

Usually, at least for me, this lost kind of feeling seems to come at a time of anxiety, boredom or struggle. I was beginning to think short-term. I was constantly looking for external validation. I was losing motivation.

But, recently I was listening to a journalist and New York Times best seller, Charles Duhigg, talk about a professor and researcher’s struggle with this.

He hated grading his student’s exams and essays. So much so, he came to question why he was still teaching instead of focusing on what really mattered to him: Cancer research.

But his rationalization of the situation was important. He thought:

By grading student papers > Students get feedback/learn > University gets paid tuition > Funds his research on Cancer > Saves lives

So, by doing this thing he hates, he saves lives. That’s his why!

It’s simple but brilliant. He’d simplified a seemingly complex frustration and turned a chore into a choice.

And while it isn’t by any means on the same scale, I felt like I could apply that to my life and to my “why” for this blog.

So, I thought through it. Why did I really start this blog?

  • I genuinely wanted to start this blog to try and help one person each week with the things I learn. And when someone replies letting me know something helped or was interesting, that reminds me of my “why”. That’s my #1 reason by a long way.
  • I kept emailing and sharing articles, videos and podcasts with friends and family. This format provides me an easier way of sharing things each week (without annoying them…hopefully)
  • To improve my writing skills
  • To record my thoughts like a public journal
  • To hold me accountable to writing regularly and to any challenges I set myself

Perhaps your frustration is…

Why am I bothering to train for this marathon?
Why do I wake up at 5AM every single day to work a grueling job?
Why am I trying again even though I’ve failed many times before?

Think through your [fill in the blank].

Why are you really doing it? How can you link it to a value of yours, an aspiration or something you care about?

What is your why?

Now you have it, don’t lose sight of it.

 

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