How knowing your ‘why’ will help you achieve your goals

My social media feeds are absolutely littered with motivational posts. I can honestly say that not an hour passes without at least one of the accounts I follow posting a quote or a meme aimed at motivating me and all their other loyal followers.

The intention is obviously to motivate and also to inspire – because when things get a little tough, lots of people do turn to meaningful motivational quotes and memes for psychological help.

I totally get this.

I’ve posted motivational material myself in the past to inspire my students – but now I’m of the opinion that motivational quotes aren’t particularly helpful when posted day after day, without any other real, informative, thoughtful content to back them up.

I’ve come to this conclusion for two reasons.

Firstly, because those who always feel inspired by simple motivational phrases will always find them way more resonant than those who don’t find quotes and memes particularly meaningful.

So a simple quote might help one person whilst doing nothing for the other!

And secondly, because it’s all very well telling people things like:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


 “Aim for the moon. If you miss you may hit a star” – W. Clement Stone

But where’s the actual ‘help’ here?

Where’s the information telling the reader how to keep moving forward or how precisely to aim for the moon?

Importantly, for motivation to kick in at all, a meme or quote cannot be wholly relied on. Simply because we all need a ‘why’ to motivate us in the first place.

If you haven’t got a ‘why’ or to put it another way, a ‘purpose’ then it doesn’t matter how many motivational posts you read or feel ‘inspired’ by because they will help you do precisely nothing.

That’s why you need to work out what your why is!

Life is full of distractions and we all get sidetracked by things that are not important. The trouble is that often those distractions ensure that we never live our lives to our full potential and we don’t do the things we really want to do simply because we have been taken off course by those other things – even if they are completely unimportant

The simple solution to this would of course be to ignore those distractions, focus on the task you wish to accomplish and so achieve something. But we all know it’s not that easy.

What’s interesting though and what I want to share with you, are the reasons behind us sometimes being unable to ignore distractions and focus on other things and at other times seeming to be more driven. It all comes down to your sense of ‘purpose’.

Think of it like this…

Most of us will have unfortunately experienced some sort of crisis – big or small – in our lives.

During that time, you will most likely have experienced a huge sense of purpose, found strength and energy you didn’t know you had, drawn on courage to get you through it, focused solely on the problem and pushed forward to a clear goal – the solution.

You were probably on a mission so concentrated that it was all you could think about at the time. And everything else took second place. There were no such things as distractions.

The reason? Because at that time it was what mattered most to you, so you were compelled to keep moving forward and maybe even take risks that you wouldn’t normally take to ensure a positive outcome.

The fact that this really mattered to you was your ‘why’

Your ‘why’ was the reason you were able to completely focus on the task and so that made you even more determined.

So, on this basis, knowing your ‘why’ is of massive importance when you are working out how to achieve your goals in life. Your ‘why’ is your reason for wanting to do something. Your purpose. Whether that’s in business or your personal life it doesn’t matter. The point is that when you know your ‘why’ then you’ll find the courage to be positive, pro-active, take risks, stay motivated and move forwards.

You also need to think about whether your ‘why’ is big enough

For example, you may wish to start your own online business – but what’s your reason, your ‘why’? It may be that it’s to be financially stable, or that you want independence, or that it will give you satisfaction or simply that it will give you freedom.

But is the reason big enough to drive YOU to success? Your ‘why’ has to be the right reason, the right purpose, be unique and mean something to you.

If your ‘why’ isn’t big enough, you might give up trying to become an entrepreneur at the first challenge you face. It’s hard work, it’s something else to fit into a busy day, distractions happen – your ‘why’ simply isn’t big enough and your sense of purpose not enough to make it through.

If your ‘why’ is not big enough or if it’s not your true purpose, then your ‘why’ won’t motivate you to take action. If you aren’t fully committed to reaching your goal, you won’t be passionate enough to work through the challenging times. That’s why businesses fail.

So, the message here is that you 100% need to know your ‘why’ – your purpose – and it should mean a great deal to you.