Start with Clear Intentions (Find Your Deepest Why)

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I was going to start this year with an enthusiastic message about getting things done. I couldn’t even bring myself to begin writing. Resistance and doubt took over, and I remained uninspired for more than a week.

I kept asking myself: Why am I having trouble writing?

The question was simple but not easy to answer. I thought I wanted to share tips that can help in starting this year with an oomph. It wasn’t enough. As I kept asking why, the answer got clearer.

At the end of all the whys I realized a fundamental truth.

It doesn’t matter what we do, or how much we achieve, if we don’t have a clear internal motive that guides the process. If we’re only doing something for external results, our satisfaction will be short-lived.

Before I give you, or myself any recommendations, I needed to look at my intention—my inner most reasons for not only wanting to write this article, but wanting to write anything.

So instead of starting with action, we need to examine our deepest why. Why do we want to do anything?

The intent behind our desires and actions will be the driving force for meaningful and sustainable progress.

When we answer the question of what our deepest reason is for wanting to have, or do anything, we’ll realize that:

Intention is:

Purpose: It’s the fundamental reason we want anything. This reason is not about others, or about ego. It’s much deeper than that.

For example, writing to make money, or receive recognition, might feel like a purpose. And it will be for a short while—until things work out too well, or not well at all.

Success will bring with it anxiety about future success and whether we deserve it in the first place. And failure will throw us into the abyss of doubt and resistance.

If we dig deeper, we realize that wanting money or recognition is about finding our own value.

What if writing becomes a journey to provide and receive value from others? It’s not about money or fame. It’s a simple exchange between people.

Or what if writing is a tool to express ourselves—just for the sake of expression? Writing in this case becomes an experience of creating cohesive tangible pages out of inner thoughts and ideas.

Motivation: The strongest motivation is our inner reason for wanting to do something. We might feel uncertain, discouraged or scared. But a deeper feeling will drive us to keep going. And that’s our intent.

The New Year’s euphoria will soon wear off, so we need something stronger to keep us going.

I’ve been discouraged by the performance of the stock market this past year, and the first few days of this year. The uncertainty and pain of loss stopped me from moving forward.

I needed to remind myself of my reasons for doing it in the first place and revisit such reasons. Otherwise, it will be too easy to just quit.

Direction: Intentions don’t lie. Our intentions lead us back to whatever we truly desire.

We may stray and allow fear, or ego, to run the show for a while. But eventually the tug of intention will bring us back to ourselves.

I stopped doing what I love to do because of doubt. But here I am. And that’s because I love to write. The deeper truth kept nudging me to get started again.

Now that the holidays are behind us, I invite you to examine your intentions.

What is your deepest why for anything you want to achieve?

Why do you want to eat healthy? Why do you want to exercise? How would you feel when you get organized? What’s driving you to get your finances in order?

Don’t let expectations and obligations stop you from looking for your own unique intentions. The following might help.

5 steps to uncovering your deepest why

These are the steps I’m working with right now. I hope you can join me and explore your reasons before you delve into anything.

Free writing: Take a few minutes, and without thinking, write down what you want. Then write why you want it. Keep going with as many reasons as you can come up with till there’s nothing to add. Don’t overthink it, or pause to think about what you wrote. There is no format, or right or wrong. Just whatever comes to mind.

Time off: Put your written reasons aside and let the whole thing go for a short while. It can be a few hours, or a day or more. We want to create mental space, and open up to receiving inner guidance. So I can tell myself: I’m leaving room for answers about why I’m writing to show up.

Notice: When you least expect it, a thought will appear out of nowhere. Take note of what comes up. There is a deeper part of you that has all the answers.

Reflect: Take a few moments to write about the thoughts you noticed above. Was there any new insight about your intentions, and desires?

Summarize and clarify: After a few days, look at your free writing notes, and any subsequent thoughts and insights. Can you come up with five reasons that this is something you really want to do?

And out of these five, what’s the strongest reason?

Clarity is power. A clear intention is the strongest motivation and the most precise compass.

Beyond goals

Intentions are more than goals. They may not be measurable or time bound. They can be illusive and tucked deeply in the subconscious mind.

But they are our most trusted desires, and they’re worth every effort to bring them up into our conscious awareness.

Look deeply within and find your most intimate why. Your reasons will be about how you want to feel, what you want to express and contribute, and whom you want to connect with. The answers are your core motivations and desires—an essential step before taking any action.

To your inner success!