How To Figure Out Your WHY To Transform Your Life

Whether you are a business or an individual, have a goal of losing weight or stopping smoking, learning how to figure out your why and knowing your why is the single, most important step you can take on your road to success.  It is the first step. As Margie Warrell, author of Stop Playing Safe, once stated in a post for Forbes magazine, “a clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles.”


Now, the struggle to find purpose in life is not new.  We have all experienced these moments of confusion throughout various points in our lives and have found thousands of resources to help us explore and find meaning.  However, at least for me, this idea really did not resonate until I discovered Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, Start With Why

He defined the concept of The Golden Circle after asking himself how did some companies or individuals stand out amongst others similar to them.  While the presentation is primarily geared towards marketing businesses, here’s what we can take away from it as individuals.

The concept is simple: Discover the why in order to generate the how and the what

Generally, it is quite easy to define a what and a how.  We usually begin any tasks this way. “I am going to lose 5lbs by eliminating bread.”  Sure, sounds great! But, what happens if that fresh baguette tempts you?  What helps you to push past that? 

In order to create long-term change within ourselves or with others, The Golden Circle asks you to start with the question, Why am I doing this?

A three ring diagram depicting the golden circle concept about how to figure out your why.
The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek


While knowing your why does not guarantee one outcome or another, it is a powerful tool to use when looking at how to go about achieving your goals and allows you to think about what you are willing to do to get there. 

The why inspires action.

It is the deepest form of motivation that gives you the courage to go through the how and experiment with different methods, actions or routines until something sticks. And, whenever you are up against an obstacle or a temptation, the why helps you to tap into energy that you thought you never had and provides you with all of the important attributes that you need to be successful.

  • Strength 
  • Determination
  • Self-control
  • Will-power 
  • Resilience

It is there for you to fall back on when you need it most.

Life is overwhelming and there are things coming at you from every angle to distract you. Knowing your why blocks out that noise. It infuses you with passion for your goals, sparking an inferno and keeping it lit.  It keeps your thoughts and your actions in the present to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. 

You are able to reign everything in, re-prioritize, and focus when your purpose is clear.


Determining your why may take some time and the answer will be different for everyone.  If it is easy, chances are it is not really the why but the how or the what.  For example, “Because I want to make money or lose 10lbs” is actually a result, a what. You need to dig deeper than that to find what you truly believe in and discover your why.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I believe in?
  • What is important to me? 
  • What do I love doing that makes me forget what time it is? 
  • How much time do I get to spend doing the things that I love? 
  • Do the things that I love get put aside? 
  • Would I like to spend more time doing the things that I love? (Note: This is not what society or your family expects of you.)
  • Why do I do XYZ?
  • Why do I value X over Y?
  • Why am I not happy when X happens?
  • Why am I stressed now?
  • Why do I work every day from 9 to 5?
  • What inspires me to get out of bed in the morning?
  • What are some things that I do to make others’ lives better?
  • Where do I add value?
  • What are my innate strengths? 
  • How will I measure my life? 
  • What am I willing to do even if people judge me and why?

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