“Why…..” any question that starts this way is a justification question, whether we are asking it of ourselves or another, it immediately has the person (including ourselves) defending their position and/or behaviour. It doesn’t look to explore the situation, it simply seeks out reasoning and usually that of a negative context.
So recently when during several separate Kinesiology balances clients stated “I can’t understand why I’m doing <x> behaviour”, I started to wonder how important is it to know the why or is that line of questioning simply a sabotage pattern keeping them stuck.
Whilst questions can be a positive tool which can send our mind in search of new insights, such questions are more effective when they start with a pronoun that explores the situation or behaviour such as:
- “how is this situation/behaviour of benefit to me?”
- “what are the hidden benefits that stop me from changing?”
- “how would I like to be?”
- “what would it take in order for me to change”
- “when is this situation / behaviour more prevalent”
Consider these questions versus “why do I do this?” and it is easy to see the difference in the answer that the question elicits.
In having a necessity to understand “why” it maintains a person’s focus on the current behaviour and whatever we focus on, we tend to do more of. Therefore rather than move forward, needing an answer for “why” preserves the status quo and impedes change.
Whilst questions which give insights to a situation or behaviour can be helpful, it is not necessary to have that insight for transformation to occur. When we want to transform ourselves there are other strategies that better empower us and move us towards what we desire.
Have a goal
Goals give us a destination in which to arrive, something for us to focus on and therefore direct our energy to. Ideally a goal reflects the preferred behaviour or situation a person desires and is more effective when written as a positive statement.
The word motivation is derived from the Latin term motivus “a moving cause”, so a well defined goal can move us to take action towards that cause / goal. Which means we are now moving forward, towards something important and the why is no longer significant.
People who write down their goals increase their likelihood to achieve the goal by 42%, however when we tell someone else about our goal we increase that likelihood to 78%. By going public it increases our desire to succeed, because success makes us feel good about ourselves.
Yet too others, who love and support us, want us to succeed so they will keep us to task by checking in on us, increasing our accountability to the goal.
Identify your triggers
You may be already, yet if not, bring awareness to what triggers your behaviour or situation. What are the internal or external factors that activate and prompt this behaviour or put you in the situation you don’t want to be in. Sometimes it will be one thing or it may be several.
Once identified write the trigger/s down as the next step is to now create strategies to combat them. As Olympic champion Mark Spritz said “If you fail to prepared, you’re prepared to fail”. Having strategies 1. prepares yourself for how you can act differently when being triggered, giving yourself greater references and thus choices, 2. awareness of what people, places or situations to avoid and 3. to create and reinforce positive internal framework to minimise or cease internal triggers.
Care for self
Not eating well, drinking enough water or getting enough sleep are indicators of a lack of self esteem, unconsciously reinforcing we are not good enough. It decreases our energy, making us vulnerable for relapsing and old habits.
However when we care for ourselves, by eating life-giving foods, drinking enough water to be hydrated and sleep well we now tell our unconscious mind that we are worthy and deserving. At a physical level we’ve now given our body the fundamental stuff it needs to create energy. Energy creates the strength and vitality needed not just for the physical action yet also mental activity so our focus remains where we need it.
The best way to make lasting change is to make minor changes regularly. The change is gradual however not overwhelming. When change becomes too overwhelming it becomes too hard and most people give up. So do change in a way that you don’t even notice and overwhelming doesn’t have a chance!
When you reward yourself for the positive changes you have made, the milestones you have achieved, you are giving yourself positive feedback and reinforcing that making the changes are worthwhile.
So rather than be pre-occupied with why you are where you are at, get busy with being engaged with where you are going and more importantly where you want to be.