To Know What You Want, Ask the Right Questions

Goal setting can be tricky. We may want to make a change but following through is the challenge. This post covers the three steps we need to reach our goals.

I recently saw a TEDxSF with Mel Robbins speaking on “How to stop screwing yourself over”.

Mel Robbins’ claim to fame is her “grab-em-by-the-collar” advice and tough love. She hosts her own syndicated radio show, the Mel Robbins Show. Airing on A&E the summer of 2015, she will be staring in her new series In-Laws. As a married, working mother of three, and Ivy-League criminal lawyer, she is seen as one of the top career and relationship experts in America.

During the TEDx talk, she stressed that we must make ourselves do what we want to do because we will never “feel like it”.

Have you really feel like going to the gym? Do you really feel like picking up the phone to call a prospect that may say ‘no’ to you? Do you really feel like going for a run in the freezing cold at 5 a.m.? Do you really feel like working 18 hours to finish a project?

I asked myself: Am I feeling too much and thus not allowing myself to reach my goals? Is it really about feelings or is it more about action? What really stops me in my tracks?

Have you asked yourself these questions when it comes to reaching your goals? Are you ready to stop wondering?

Three steps to reach your goals

Step 1 — Know What You Want

How important is knowing what you want? If you do not know what you want, how are you going to get there?

Think about one thing, yes, only one thing that you want. Now, write it down or set a note in your mind. Got it?

Many times we say to ourselves:

  • I want to lose weight.
  • I want to make a quarter million dollars.
  • I want to run a marathon.
  • I want to get married and have a child in the next two years.

These are all very specific things that you may want. You know what your tangible end goal is. Now, how do you get there? Move on to step two.

Step 2 — Ask the Right Question

John Maxwell has a recent book that’s titled “Good Leaders Ask Great Questions.” He states that you will only get answers to the questions you ask. The more profound the question, the more clear and focused the answers will be.

The greatest question that we can ask is Why?.

Why do you want what you want?

If you understand why you want what you want, it will be a motivator to actually take the steps needed to get there.

If you look at your Step One of knowing what you want, you now have to ask:

  • Why do I want to lose weight?
  • Why do I want to make $250,000 a year?
  • Why do I want to run a marathon?
  • Why do you want to get married and have a child?
  • When you know why you are doing something, you are more likely to do it.

If you want to lose weight, you must understand yourself, why you want it, and what is truly going to motivate you.

Say this out loud: Why do I want to lose weight?

Now, be selfish and think about why you really want this one thing.

Is it because you want to show off to your ex and make her be sorry that she left you? Is it because you are getting older in age and you want to prove to your neighbor that you are as fit as he is, even though he is 20 years your junior? Or, as Mel bluntly put it, stating that we should not say that we want to be healthy and that we must be honest and say what we mean, “Say that you want to lose your man-boobs so that you can hook up with somebody. Now that’s motivation.”

If it is making more money, ask yourself: Why do I want to make more money?

Think about your why. Is it because you want to have freedom to work from anywhere in the world? Is it so that you can take care of a loved one? Is it so that you can get out of that tiny apartment that you dislike? Is it to show your ex-boss that you can do better than where you were?

You get the picture. Ask: Why do I want what I want?

Once you know that ‘why’, you can move on to step three.

Step 3 — Take Action!

If you do not act on what you know you need to do immediately, the probability of you doing it diminished exponentially.

That action does not have to be huge. It can be one small step. For example, if you go for a walk around the block to get you started today, tomorrow you can walk two blocks, the following day three, and so on. Before you know it, you’ll move from walking to jogging, to running, to increasing your endurance and speed, while starting to see a difference in how you feel.

A member of Toastmasters had a presentation in which he was trying to make a point on procrastination. When he got to the slide where he was supposed to have a picture, he had a blank screen, with a caption at the bottom stating “Add picture here later…” Seems that the later never came and he made his point that if we do not take action, we are probably not going to do it later.

Mel stated that you need to stop snoozing and simply pull the covers off of yourself in the morning and get up.

Are you ‘snoozing’ in the sense that you are not taking the necessary steps to move towards your goal? Are you not working out when you know that you should? Are you not making the calls that you know you should be making?

How do you stop yourself from inaction?

Each person is different in their motivations. However, it is human nature to want to feel good or avoid pain. Which of these two will keep you motivate?

Frankly, I do not like running. However, I know how I will feel after I’ve gone out for a run. I know that it will wake me up, it will get my day going, and I am more likely to eat healthy so as not to spoil what I just worked out.

How about you? Can you do the same with your goal? Can you see the way that you will feel as you get closer to your goal? Can you sense how it will feel once you have reached that goal?

If you know what you want, if you understand why you want it, and you take one small step every day, you will be able to reach that one goal that you have been snoozing for the last few years.

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