How to Find Your Why for a Happier New Year

Tree in Savannah, GA

Around this time of the year everyone is pushing the idea of a new you. We’re all encouraged to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the coming year.

I sincerely believe that 2020 is going to be great. IF we allow it to. If we stay stuck in our old patterns and habits, and refuse change, then it could be just like every other year.

This is not meant to discourage you by any means. These words are meant to encourage you to do one thing, find your why.

This is the one thing that I think everyone forgets about when they are making New Year’s resolutions. We make a wish list of things that we would like to happen in the New Year, but we don’t take the time to figure out why we even want those things in the first place. Do we want them because that’s what we’re supposed to want? Do we want them because that’s what we’ve always wanted? Do we want them because those are the things that everyone else wants?

Take the time this week to think about why you want to do the things that you do in 2020. Of course we want to lose weight to feel better about ourselves, but go deeper. Why don’t we feel better about ourselves now? Why don’t we feel like we are enough just the way we are?

We all want to pay off debt, but why? Because paying off debt allows us more freedom with our money. Paying off debt allows us to use our money for things that we actually enjoy doing, rather than using our money for interest and payments. Go even deeper: what would you do with that freedom? What would that freedom look like for you?

Dock on the ocean

The thing is, if we don’t figure out why we are doing the things that we are doing, we won’t stick to them when the going gets tough. This is the #1 reason that people don’t follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. People have great intentions when they make the resolution, then life happens. We make these resolutions during a time when we’re feeling our best or when we want to feel our best. We’re coming out of the holiday season, and we’re ready for new things.  Or we’ve had a crappy time and we’re ready for a change. Either way, when we get back into the routine of life, those resolutions don’t look so shiny and exciting anymore. If we haven’t taken the time to find out why we even want the things we say we do, then our resolve slips. Whereas, if we know why we’re doing … (insert resolution here)… then we can refer back to this to keep us motivated.

I’m not suggesting that knowing why you’re doing it will always make it easy. You’re still going to have to put in the work to accomplish your goals. But if you know why you’re losing weight, getting a new job, paying off debt, etc. then you will have something to hold onto. When you’re having one of those days where you’re not feeling so motivated, you can refer back to your why and it will help you stick to the plan.

If you’re goal is to pay off debt, then you know you’re likely going to have to work some overtime, or buckle down and not spend so much money. On those days when you’d really rather not work overtime, or those days when you’d really like to splurge on something, you can think about why you want to pay off debt, what you’re life will look like when you do, and it gives you the motivation you need to get the job done.

Lake with trees in the background

This is not just about New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s is a great time to go through and re-evaluate, to find your why in areas that you may not have, but this idea pertains to everything in life.

Think about why you do what you do on a daily basis. I don’t mean, “I’m grocery shopping because I have to eat”, although that is a good reason to do so. I mean, why do you work? Go beyond the superficial, “we work because we need money”. Get down a little deeper. Do you work because you want to provide nice things for your family? Do you work because you want your kids to go to a nicer school? Do you work because you really love vacations and you need to fund them? At this point I just want you to think about why you work, as a whole. Why you do what you do specifically will come later.

Finding your why is also important because it also helps us identify places that we may be doing things just because someone else does, or just because that is what our families have always done, or just to please others. Then, we can start to identify what we actually WANT to be doing.

Be that little kid who is always asking why. I go to work every day. Why? I want to lose weight. Why? I want to cook at home more. Why? I want to save money and get out of debt. Why?

You get the point.

Take the time to write your why’s down somewhere. It doesn’t have to be anywhere that anyone else will see. Or you can write it on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you will always see it. Physically writing it down helps to solidify it in your brain.

Put a reminder on your phone for certain times each week or each day. Maybe set a reminder for right before you walk into work, to remind you of the true reason you’re there. Or set one for when you wake up in the morning, to remind you of why you’re waking up earlier to exercise.

You could even find a picture that embodies your why. Financial freedom can allow you to travel more. Put pictures of the places that you want to travel where you can see them throughout the day. Keep a picture of the job you would like to have somewhere. If you’re doing it for yourself, to better yourself or your situation, place a smiling, happy picture of yourself up. These things serve as visual reminders of your why.

My why involves spending more time with this guy, going on crazy adventures like the one below (yep, that snow on the beach), and traveling to all of the beautiful places that are pictured. It also involves everything that is on my Mission Page.

I would love to hear your why’s and your resolutions. I challenge you to put a picture each day of your whys on Facebook or Instagram and tag The Novel Turtle. Or just post it straight to our page.

If you’d rather keep it more private, send us an email at thenovelturtle@gmail.com, or a private Facebook message. Sharing your resolutions and why’s with people also helps to keep you motivated. (Note: Only share them with people who will encourage you along the way, not those who will tear you down or berate you for having an off day.) It helps others to be inspired and find their why’s as well.  

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