Yeah, yeah, it’s the time of year and talk about resolutions. By now, we’re one week into the new year, and most resolutions have been blown or long forgotten. That’s why I don’t believe in them.
What I do believe is everyone should have goals. It is important to continuously grow, learn, and challenge ourselves and goals help us set that path.
Goals should stretch us, not be something that can easily be accomplished. This is our life we are talking about, so why not live and dream big.
But, just like resolutions, goals can easily be ignored, forgotten or killed through excuses. So how do you keep that from happening? You gotta go deep.
Too often we create what I call surface goals. There is no real depth to them. For example, a surface goal may be, “I want to eat healthier this year” or “I want to make more time to see my friends”. These are great at the surface, but without going deeper they are more likely to fail.
We need to go deeper and explore the true “why” – why do we want it? What is the true motivation, reason and transformation you are looking for?
In Dean Graziosi’s book, Millionaire Success Habits, he shares an exercise, “Seven Levels Deep” that he was introduced to by Joe Stump. HUGE thanks to Dean Graziosi and Joe Stump for sharing this powerful exercise.
I find this exercise extremely impactful in getting the heart of what drives me, and I think it will for you as well. I say heart, because as you do the exercise, your answers begin to move from your head to your heart. If you are honest with yourself, and why shouldn’t you be, you discover the true motivation to achieving the goal. With that in hand, you are much more likely to succeed.
The exercise can be done on your own, but it can be helpful in partnering with someone, and I highly recommend recording the answers either by having them written by your partner, or on a voice recorder.
Here is the basics of how it works. State a goal – something you would like to accomplish. Then have your partner state back to you your goal, and ask you why it is important to you. After you answer, your partner should read back your answer and again ask you why it is important to you. You continue you this exercise for seven levels of why. As Dean says, he’s not sure why seven is the magic number, but it seems to be. As I mentioned earlier, I believe it takes that many times for us to move from our minds to our hearts to answer.
Here is an example where Cathy and Jim are doing the exercise:
Jim: “Cathy, what is a goal of yours?”
Cathy: “I want to eat healthier.”
Jim: “Cathy, that’s great that you want to eat healthier. Why is that important to you?”
Cathy: “I have more energy and feel better about myself.”
Jim: “Cathy, I understand you want to eat healthier and that it makes you have more energy and feel better about yourself. Why is that important to you?”
Cathy: “When I have more energy I don’t come home and want to just collapse on the couch and watch t.v.”
Jim: “Okay great, I understand you want to eat healthier this year because it gives you more energy and feel better about yourself, and because of that extra energy you won’t come home and flop on the couch and watch t.v. Why is that important to you?”
Cathy: “If I come home from work and have more energy then I can go out with friends for a walk or meet them for coffee.”
Jim: “Cathy, that’s fantastic. You want to eat healthier so you have more energy and feel better about yourself. And when you have more energy you will be able to come home from work and spend time with your friends on a walk or having coffee. Why is that important to you?”
Cathy: “Weekends are so busy it’s hard to find time to spend with my friends unless it is during the evenings of the week.”
Jim: “So Cathy, when you eat healthier, you have more energy and feel better about yourself, and with the added energy you come home from work and rather than collapse you can meet your friends for a walk or coffee, and since weekends are so busy it’s difficult to find time with friends, now you’ll have time to spend with them. Why is this important to you?”
Cathy: “I really miss spending time with my friends and feel detached. I want to feel connected to them and share what is going on in our lives, laugh and have fun because when I do it makes me feel supported, and the challenges during my day seem easier.”
Can you see how by Cathy focusing on the true reason for eating healthy is to be able to have energy to spend time with people she feels are her support group and make her days more enjoyable? That is a stronger reason to tap into each time the temptation is there to pick up a donut or hit the fast-food drive-thru.
When we go deep we truly find what motivates us and when we connect to that as our goal, then we are more likely to be driven to achieve it. I will share with you that when doing the seven deep whys, it may get emotional because you move from what is in your head to what is in your heart.
If emotions to come up for you, sit with them, and recognize you are getting to your truths. This is a powerful thing. If on the other hand you get through the whys quickly and easily, ask if you were protecting yourself, or if you were truly opening your heart to what motivates you.
Share with me what you thought of this exercise and what you discovered.