What is your Why?
I’m a big fan of multi-tasking; as are probably most parents out there. Yes, I know that studies are now showing that means I might be less effective in the long run but … hard habit to break. Anyway. I love multi-tasking expressions; hey, if I can be a multi-tasker, why can’t a phrase, right? I love it when a phrase transcends its original purpose, and can apply to multiple aspects of your life. (as an aside: I also love Jillian Michaels: she’s a hard-ass, yes, but she also gets results. Isn’t that what we are after in a work-out? You are not looking for a best friend; you are looking for someone to get you over that hump, get you motivated, and get you into whatever shape/space/mental mindset/etc you are seeking. The other day, we were doing one of JM’s dvds and she used a phrase that really resonated with me: What’s your why? … bet you thought the Jillian comment was totally off track, right? ;)) So. Your why. Really, what is it? Why are you working out? Why are you trying to eat healthy? Why are you trying to help your kids to understand long division? Why are you working on finding your calm? Why are you working on your parenting skills? These aren’t just questions to fill paper. These are important guiding ideas that construct the backbone of your Why, give you reason, and focus your purpose.
Friends, aim is important. Your Why is your aim. You can be working on several aims at any given time, although if you have too many, it is not necessarily a good thing, as it spreads your will thin. Focusing on your Why, figuring it out, defining it, and adding details to it… this is your guiding statement. In parent coaching, this is one of the biggies that we work on. You can’t just have random and vague thoughts like ‘I want to be a better mom or dad’ or ‘I want to yell less’ or ‘I want to have happier days’. WHY do you want to be a better mom/dad? WHY do you want to yell less? What are the methods you will use to get there? How committed are you to the cause? How often will you practice? What will you do to support your Why? What will you do to help your self to achieve that Why? And once you figure that out, once you write it down (because that is a big and important step and commitment), you will be able to see it. You can really envision it. Knowing your Why and knowing that it is important is a huge frist step in achieving that goal. In that same sense, know this: Your mind is also amazing at coming up with reasons for NOT achieving your goal, for taking the easier route, or turning in the face of challenges. Your mind will forever produce negative thoughts. It is impossible to get rid of all your negative thoughts. Instead, focus on changing your response to them.
So. What’s your Why? Is there something that is holding you back from attaining it? Or from figuring out what it is in the first place? I know, it goes back to being so busy; we all are. This is part of your self-care, though. Taking the time to sit down and figuring out WHAT it is that you want, and what it will take to get there – THIS is about YOU. Because you are important. Yes, I know work is important, and I know that family is important. I understand that friends are important. But remember this, too: YOU are important. Before everything else, you are important. Self-care is that urgent, friends. Because without it, none of those other things will benefit, and none will have you. What do you need? ‘Busy’ is just an excuse. Take the time to sit down and write it down. Perhaps not in one go, but over a week, work on what your why is, and flesh it out. Writing a statement about it will make it that much more real and attainable. Taking the time to focus on your Why is a very vital part of understanding and focusing your self-care; without self-care, we wither. And you are too important to let that happen.
A Why isn’t a permanent thing: It changes as you change, morphs as you grow and shift your focus. As your kids grow, doesn’t your parenting style change? Don’t your skills morph as your kids do? Their needs are met in different ways throughout their life; you can see it in your own children much more clearly than you might in your own changing needs. But the same concept applies. Perhaps your Why as you are pre-kid/newly married would include more self-awareness and actualization goals than one post-kid (especially that first mind-blowing child who might leave you reeling back to the bottom-rung basic needs whys). Everything gets a bit uncomfortable when it’s time to change. That’s just a part of the growth process. Everything you have right now is in the process of changing again. Look around, and be thankful for your life right now. For your health, your family, your friends, and your home. Nothing lasts forever. Just like your Why; it changes as you do. This is why regular self-reflection is so important.
A couple of additional thoughts about Why:
When you hear only what you want to hear, you’re not really listening. Listen to what you don’t want to hear too. That’s how you grow. Difficult thoughts are just that: difficult. They bring to surface things we do not necessarily want to face, but ‘difficult’ is not the same thing as ‘impossible.’
One can spend a lot of time waiting for the ideal path to appear. It doesn’t though, just appear, especially if you are sitting and waiting. Paths are made by walking, not waiting. Additionally, patience is not the same thing as ‘waiting.’ Patience is the ability to keep a positive, focused attitude while working hard to move your life forward. Patience is important, and so is perseverance, determination, and flexibility. And creativity.
Your response is always more powerful than your circumstance. A tiny part of your life is decided by circumstances beyond your control; the vast majority of your life is decided by your responses. If you always play the victim, you will always be treated like one. Life doesn’t always give you the circumstances you want. Life isn’t fair. Life will take things from you, and give things to you, gradually and continuously. But you don’t have to let the past define your future. Try to take life day by day and be grateful for the little things. Don’t get caught up in what you can’t control.
Your kids will see your responses to challenges and complications. They will note your reactions. And they will learn from them. No pressure.
So, go to it. Your WHY is waiting for you. And to find them, you don’t need to get any Jillian DVDs, although I can highly recommend a number of them. Figure out your Why. And go from there.