Know why you want what you want

by Sara Marchessault

As we move into 2014 there is a ton of stuff out there about what you can do to prepare for a New Year.

There are ideas for release ceremonies to put the past behind you. Journal prompts and suggestions for keeping a record of your goals and intentions for 2014. There are vision boards, collages, special day planners, meditations for moving forward, diets, exercise routines, etc. It’s all “new.”

And it’s really easy to get sucked into the thrill of it all. Because let’s face it; the buzz of a brand new year is just plain fun! Why do you want what you want?

It’s fun to think about the possibilities of what’s to come. To dream about the perfect life partner. The house you want to upgrade to. The clients you will help. The family you will start. The book you are aching to write. The promotion that you deserve that this year, this year, will finally be yours.

We get excited, jazzed even about what we will accomplish and we set out full speed ahead.

With to-do list in hand and clean, unblemished pages in our brand new day planner, we set our alarm earlier and we charge out of bed, ready to change the world.


We keep this up for three or four days. We’re checking things off and we are going, going, gone! Oh baby, we are going to knock this 2014 list out of the water before the first day of spring!

And then something happens.

The kids are up with a fever and we need to sleep in a morning. We sit in front of the computer and get writers block. The night that you are supposed to be at a networking event your husband gets stuck in traffic and is home thirty minutes late.

Before we know it, we crawl up inside our shell and start to judge ourselves. We look at the calendar and start thinking, “maybe I’ll get to this next year” and quietly walk away. Because hey, we weren’t that invested anyway and we need to pay attention to other things in our life right now.

Has this ever happened to you?

This year you can do things differently. Right from the get-go.

This year as you put together your goals, intentions, aspirations, dreams, plans, whatever you like to call them, you can take it a step further.

Go a little deeper.

Look over the list and write down why you want to experience each of the items listed there. Connect with the “why” of it. Feel why you want it as you write it down.

Make a note that you want a new job because your kids are no longer in diapers and it would be nice to earn a little income and have adult conversations for part of your day.

Jot down that the book needs to be written because the story is just too good to be kept a secret that only you know.

Write a love letter to yourself about wanting to start a family not because all of your friends are having babies, but because you and your partner love each other and want to express that love as parents. And besides, you are relatively certain that you will be a kick-ass mommy.

You’re totally right! You’re right about all of it!

Too many years go by when we dump in a list all of the things we want to be, do, or have. And we wear ourselves out before we really build momentum.

When we connect to why we want to be, do, or have something, two really cool things happen.

1. Our motivation becomes both intrinsic and extrinsic. We connect to the internal feeling we are seeking from the external experience. This is a powerful tool to keep us moving forward.

2. We start to look at our list of things to be, do, or have with a new perspective. We might even eliminate one or two things that we think are important to us, but on further reflection, we find they are not. They were based on an old habit of comparing ourselves to others. When we realize that, we connect with our list of wants at a deeper level and it feels even more like our own.

So, as you sit down and get ready to punch out a list of all the amazing things you will do this year – and you will do amazing things, because that’s just the kind of person you are – take a moment to connect with why you want each thing on your list.

Make the “why’s” a side note or a column and keep them handy throughout the year. Yes, they might change. And that’s okay! Goals, intentions, and plans often do. (We are not stagnant beings; it makes sense that the things we want would continuously evolve and grow, just as we do.)

And when you notice that it’s February 26th and you haven’t worked on your book since January 31st, take some time to read over why you wanted to do it in the first place. It just might give you the boost you need.

What other tips and tricks do you have to keep moving forward? Share them with us in the comments below!

Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb: Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit or


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