Forget New Year’s resolutions – you need to know your WHY first

by | 3 Jan, 2017 | Values, Beliefs & Purpose

Before you waste another minute on New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead, you need to be very clear on the direction you are heading towards. We often know exactly what we don’t want, but have no idea about what we DO want instead. Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher said it over 150 years ago, and it still applies today: ‘If you know the why, you can live any how.’ Struggling managers usually don’t have a clear focus on the outcome, as opposed to inspirational and successful leaders who have a vision and know their goals.

Our brain works like a GPS. If you want to get to a certain place, do you type in where you don’t want to go, or rather a detailed address of your destination? Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to drive around aimlessly, not knowing where and how far away you are from the destination you didn’t even set in the first place? This is exactly how we often communicate with ourselves. “I don’t want to be ruthless.” “I don’t’ want to deal with difficult employees.” “I don’t want to work in a large organisation.” “I don’t want to [insert here…].”

But what would happen if you were very clear on your destination, right down to the Suburb, Street name and house number? Suddenly you are cruising along easily and effortlessly, and arrive at your destination in a calm and relaxed state. Therefore, it is important to take the time to find out where you want to head towards, rather than keeping busy with setting pit-stops that might not even be along your route!

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If you focus on the outcome while continuously keeping the end in mind, it accelerates the results you get. The results you get are based on your thinking and actions of today.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.
It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that
will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
~ Nelson Mandela

So, the most important task is to get clear on your WHY. Ask yourself:

  • What is my purpose, why am I here?
  • What is the legacy I would like to leave behind?
  • How would I like to be remembered?
  • What difference would I like to have made in the lives of others?

I appreciate that most of us don’t like to think that far ahead. But in doing so we can create an important mindset that gives us a clear understanding of our highest intentions, our values in life and what is most important to us. It is also a fact that once we are clear on our destination, the short and long term goals become quite evident and serve us as guideposts along the path.

Time for Action


Take a moment to answer the previous questions:

  • What is my purpose, why am I here?
  • What is the legacy I would like to leave behind?
  • How would I like to be remembered?
  • What difference would I like to have made in the lives of others?

If you want to learn more strategies to understand and set your WHY...

… then let’s team up today and get PROfound Leadership on your support team!


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Martin Probst

AUTHOR | Martin Probst - CEO (Chief Education Officer)


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