40 by 40: What’s my why?

This article is the third in the 40 by 40 series – 40 goals for my 40th year. I’m blogging throughout my journey to help inspire and guide others to reach their goals.

Read the previous articles here:

40 by 40: Goal ideas
40 by 40: Setting SMART goals

Start with ‘Why?’

‘He who has a why can endure any how.’

– Nietzsche

Understanding why you want to achieve your goals is a key factor for success. Your why is your motivation, which is what drives you to move forwards.

Your motivation will be stronger if you are passionate about your goals.

People feel passionate about their goals because:

  • the goals align with their personal values
  • the skills needed to reach the goals are things that they enjoy doing
  • they are inspired and stimulated by the goals

Research shows that you are more likely to achieve a goal if it is truly personal to you. (source)

So how can you make sure that your goals are right for you?

How to find your why

Take your goal idea and think about why it is important to you. Sometimes it may be obvious, but sometimes it will take more thought. Think of as many reasons as possible for each goal.

My first 40 by 40 goal is to have fun. When I think about why this is important, I picture myself having fun with my kids. I think of the relaxing nature of having fun. We are laughing. I remember reading somewhere how laughing is good for you. I think of having fun with my friends.

As I’m thinking about this goal and all the reasons it is important to me, I’m feeling excited, optimistic and inspired. Pay attention to how you feel when you think about your goal. When your goal is truly yours, it should feel inspiring and stimulating.

Write it down

As you think of all the reasons that the goal is important to you, write them down. This is important because there may be times that you want to give up on the goal.

Having your motivations all written out is something that can help you when you waver.

There is no need to write in any great detail. If the goal is right for you, the keywords should prompt your motivation. From the example above, I’d focus on the words: Fun, Family, Relax, Laughing, and Friends.


You may have noticed in my example above that I was seeing images as I thought of why this goal is important to me. Visualisation is a powerful technique to help you reach your goals.

When you think about reaching your goals (or working towards them), what images come to mind? How do you feel? Who are you with?

To help remind you of your vision, you could create a vision board. This is a board with images and words on that represent your vision. It can be used for inspiration, or to remind you of your motivation when the going gets tough.

You can make vision boards physically or electronically. To make them physically, you need a board, and images or words that represent your vision. These may be from magazines, newspapers or brochures, or printed from the computer. To make them electronically, you can use any programme that will allow you to add images and words. I’ve used Canva to create mine below.

Once you are clear on your why, you can start thinking about how you can reach your goal. Check out the article Small Steps for more information on this, and keep an eye out for the next article in the 40 by 40 series where I’ll work through breaking my goals down.

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Check out the other articles

Take a look at the other articles on the site. You can access them all from the Articles page. 

You may be interested in:

40 by 40: Goal Ideas
Setting Goals

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