Nietzsche once said: “A man who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW.”

Nietzsche totally hit the nail on the head. When we want to achieve a goal, no matter how big that goal might be, we often focus on WHAT we’re going to do and HOW we’re going to do it, which can work for a while. But then “real” life happens—you know, those curveballs that life likes to throw at us, and even though we may know WHAT we want and HOW to do it, we still lose momentum or quit altogether.

Why does this happen? It’s actually quite simple.

We often don’t understand and embrace the WHY behind what we want to accomplish. And without a WHY, the WHAT and HOW won’t get us over that finish line when life gets tough.

So, what is your WHY? Is your WHY the same as your purpose?

 

The Story Behind My WHY for Transformation

20 years ago, I helped my friend, David, lose over 400 pounds. Throughout his journey I found my passion for helping others through the journey of transformation. I was guided by my first, real, WHY:

To be a trusted source of inspiration, education, and motivation so that I can positively impact 1 million lives in my lifetime.

This WHY was so important to me that I had the Roman numerals 1, 100, 500, 1000, 10,000, 500,000, and 1 million tattooed down the side of my torso to represent the 1 million people I wanted to impact. Why the tattoo? I wanted this WHY to be something I could not escape from. I had to look at it in the mirror every single day and see those Roman numerals that represented my WHY.

You could also say that my WHY was the first promise I made to myself—a promise to positively impact millions of lives around the world. Little did I realize that the first life I would impact wouldn’t be David’s, but my own. I was that Roman numeral one at the top of my tattoo.

At the time I got the tattoo, I was homeless, living out of my car, 2 months sober, and working to get back on my feet. I had this massive realization that I had to take extreme ownership for the position that I was in. I couldn’t point the finger at anyone else anymore. If I was going to get myself out of that hole, I had to be the one to do it, and I had to change my own life first before I could help anyone else change their life. I had to be the one to take extreme ownership of all of my crap and get back “in the arena”—to actually do something with my life.

“The Man in the Arena,” by Theodore Roosevelt, is one of my all-time favorite quotes. Read it and get inspired here.

 

From My WHY to the Kept Approach

Like I mentioned, my WHY was my first promise I made to myself, and that was a massive promise! The next step was to break that huge promise into small promises that I kept day in and day out to put myself in a position where I could change my own life and positively impact the lives of others.

This process led to daily promise-keeping, which is the root of the entire concept behind the Kept approach. In this new approach to lifelong transformation, we make and keep those small promises to ourselves day after day, month after month, year after year.

Related: Click here to read the top tips for making + keeping promises that transform your life

When we are ready to take on another promise, we simply stack it on top of the base promise. This concept is similar to habit stacking, but places the power where it belongs…in the promises you make to yourself!

Ready to get started? Let’s discover your WHY and create your first promise!

How to Find Your WHY

Step 1: Ask yourself this question: “What is my #1 goal, and why do I want to achieve it?” Then take that answer and ask yourself “WHY?” again. Repeat this process, asking yourself “WHY?” over and over until you cannot seem to go any farther. Usually, your WHY reveals a deep emotional need you may have:

The second step of this is to identify what this achievement contributes to: Yourself, your family or loved ones, your community, the world, etc.

Step 2: Once you have your WHY, create one daily promise you can keep every time that will get you one step closer to your WHY every day. Here are some quick tips for creating your promise:

Keep it simple. I can’t say this enough, but make every promise so simple that you can do it 100% of the time no matter what. If your promise is too difficult to keep, especially on tough days, your promise-keeping efforts won’t be as successful. Some make the promise to make their beds every morning or to brush their teeth at night. Others promise not to use the drive-thru, but order inside instead. Can’t get simpler than that, right?! And while those promises seem too simple, each time a promise is kept, it strengthens their personal integrity, which is the key to living into your WHY and achieving any goal.

Related: Click to read more about the power of personal integrity here.

Do some brainstorming. Take your WHY and brainstorm some simple promises that go with your WHY. For example, some promises that could go with your WHY are to drink an extra quart of water, or spend a few minutes in the sun, or work out for at least 5 minutes a day, and so on. These self-focused promises will help you be the best person you can be, which will then allow you to better serve others and fulfill your WHY.
Make sure your promises are for you. It’s easy to fall into that comparison trap and create promises that are working well for others. And while they might also work for you, since we are each 100% unique, create promises the fit into your unique WHY. You do you!

And here’s one last tip about your WHY: Please remember that your WHY and your promises can change over time, and that’s totally okay! As you transform, your tools might need to transform too.

I know from my own experience and from inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to transform their lives, that this promise-keeping approach works! It changes the focus to what really matters, and puts the power back where it belongs…within you!

Kept promises are now the foundation for everything we do.