Asking why is central to getting things done, and was popularised in the business world by Simon Sinek in 2011. I believe there is a clear parallel between running your life and running a successful business. Your why serves as a guiding compass; giving you reason and purpose and forces you to be self-motivated.
Developing a why should be the starting point for all of your projects. Having a clear why will distinguish the average goals or the ones that someone else wants you to achieve from the ones that inspire you and ignite your passions.
WHY did I start this blog?
First I had a vision of what I would like my life to look like. I want to be well rested, physically fit and healthy. I want to be engaged in my community, working towards financial independence and making a difference by helping others.
Looking at what I wanted my life to look like the why behind writing this blog became quite clear and can be described as;
- Keeping myself accountable for my goals AND
- Helping others create a lifestyle they don’t want to escape from
Whenever I feel myself procrastinating writing a blog post, or getting frustrated with understanding technology, I look back to my why and remind myself of why I started down this path in the first place. Am I still interested in this goal? Does my why still resonate with me? I encourage you to do this with each of your own personal goals regularly.
Note: I post an update each month on how I’m tracking with my goals. You can check out and example update here.
Not hitting your goals?
If you are feeling overwhelmed, or like you are spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, take a step back and have a look at your why. Is it your goal or someone else’s? It might have sounded like a good idea in the beginning or you might have felt pressure from friends, family, society in general to be a certain way and have certain things.
While you may see some importance in doing what is the ‘right’ thing to do if your goals don’t deeply resonate with you and your life plan you won’t naturally gravitate towards them. In fact if you feel resentment or are disgruntled towards any of your goals you may even be actively moving away from them.
Other examples of WHY
Of course, being nosy naturally interested in the minds of other fellow humans, I wanted to know why others decided to start their blogs and if this has helped motivate them to keep going. I reached out to our ever giving community and heard back from 5 Australian and New Zealand bloggers who write about a range of topics, but all touch on personal finance.
Their answers – I started my blog because….
“I felt like I was running in place – I figured putting it online would make me accountable, and also force me to analyse my money each month to actually understand what was going on.” – LadyFIRE, FIRE_By_35
“Everyone kept telling me that I have a gift when it comes to bargain hunting (probably because I actually enjoy the research and the ‘chase’ more than the actual act of saving money) and I should share my knowledge with the world.” – Michael, Spending Hacker
“I loved reading other people’s blogs. I thought that by starting one I might be able to contribute back. The more of us there are on the internet, the better chance people will discover Financial Independence Retire Early. I also use it as a place to work things out for myself, and learn from the comments and thoughts of others.” – Mrs ETT, Enough Time To
“My dad passed away when he was 55. He was not close to retirement and never got to enjoy all he had worked his whole life for. So from 20 years old I knew that I wanted to become financially independent at an early age and started my investment in learning all I could about my finances. Since then my close friends and family have always looked for me for advice. Having worked in marketing for financial institutions I got so sick of writing articles that were positioned as educating people on their finances but always having to tie in a product sell with the message. So I decided to start my own blog and hopefully inspire some young people to realise they don’t have to follow the traditional path of working in a job for 45 years.” – Cath, Get Money Wise
“I started it on a whim one day after discovering other blogs especially PF ones, and the MSN Money boards (now dead)! I blog because writing is in my blood, and it’s how I work things out in my head. My current tagline is ‘real talk on money and life’, was previously ‘oversharing about feelings and finances’ – for me it’s mostly about emotions and mind stuff, and not so much numbers. The PERSONAL side of PF. Because I think diverse viewpoints are important, as is honesty and authenticity (which is the main thing I get feedback on – my openness). My perspective as a minority female, an average earner who is [the] breadwinner in an expensive country in a creative field, is slightly unusual I think and some of the views I hold, are not always popular/mainstream – not the kind you’ll see on Rockstar Finance ha. /end ramble!” – Esther, NZ Muse
Make it personal, it is your WHY
As you can see from reading the above why stories, each one of them has a personal story and history, something of deep value and meaning. I didn’t see any answers that said – I started a blog…
- To be rich and famous
- To kill time while at work
- Because someone else told me I should
It wouldn’t have the same passion and meaning and they may very well stop writing after a short time.
Explaining your WHY will help others relate
If you don’t have a blog or run a business is this still relevant to you? Absolutely! As I said above, I believe being the master of your own life looks a lot like running a business.
- Explain why you don’t want to go out partying and spending money every weekend. This could help your friends to understand and respect your decision – and stop with the ‘you only live once’ line.
- Highlight why you really want that promotion or new job could lead to greater career opportunities and more money.
- Clarify why you want to quit your highly stressful corporate career to help those in need and you may get more support and encouragement.
Helping people to understand your why will also naturally filter out those who don’t have your best interest at heart.
Starting with why will add value, bring self-assurance and inspire you to accelerate towards your goals at a greater pace. Make sure you check in regularly and ensure your why still resonates with you. This will confirm you are chasing your dreams and not someone else’s’.
Do you know why you are chasing your current goals?