Subliminal Style
Effortless. Authentic. Professional.

Catching Rae

Finding Deeper Motivation to Keep Your Resolutions


This week we're talking about New Year's Style Resolutions! I've shared my own goals, and yesterday we discussed why you should set style resolutions in the first place. 

Today, we're going to talk all about your deeper why. 

Before we get into what the heck your "deeper why" is, let's take a second to look back at all those times when you made a resolution (for the new year or otherwise) - but then totally didn't keep it! Did you promise yourself that you'd lose 20 pounds... and gain 5 pounds instead? Did you vow to start dressing like a million bucks... and feel more like a buck and change? Do you constantly feel like you sabotage your best efforts?

One of the most common ways people sabotage their resolutions is by focusing on a superficial why statement. 

A superficial why statement is basically a motivation based on something you don't truly care that much about. It's a loophole built into your internal logic that gives you an easy out - a perfectly logical reason why can sidestep your own best intentions and carry on with the status quo. 

If, for example, you tell yourself that you want to upgrade your work wardrobe to "make more money," then it's easy to come up with all kinds of rebuttals, like:

  • "Wait a minute. If I want more money, then why am I spending it all on clothes?"
  • "The kids need clothes more than I do."
  • "I miss my family. We'd rather go out to a few big family dinners instead of paying for a new wardrobe."

This is because money, in and of itself, is actually a very superficial motivator for most people. It doesn't trigger the deeper why that will truly get you to achieve your goal.

If you find yourself setting the same ol' style resolution year after year, yet not sticking to it, you might need to reframe your resolution with a deeper why.

So, how do you figure out your deeper why statement?

Now is the time where you get to be a child again - just keep asking yourself "Why why WHY WHY??" until it would be ludicrous to go any further. Like this:

Why do I want to upgrade my work wardrobe again?
To make more money!
But why do I want to make more money?
So I can finally afford to take that dream vacation.
Why do I want to go on vacations?
So I can finally relax, goddammit!
Uh, why do I want to relax so badly?
Because I'm working too hard and for too many hours and I never see my husband and kids anymore. 
And why do you want to spend more time with your family?
Because showing them love and attention is actually more important and more rewarding to me than my stupid job is. So there.

In this example, it's no wonder that the monetary payoff fails to spur her to action - she doesn't actually care about the cash! This person is actually most deeply motivated by free time to spend with her family. 

For this person, a better resolution might look something like this:

In 2017, I'm going to invest in my work wardrobe to help me nab a position with more family vacation days.

Framing the resolution in terms of FAMILY TIME instead of in terms of money helps her keep her resolution by reminding her that the wardrobe is part of a larger, more important plan. It also keeps her from shucking off this resolution in favor of tasks that may appear more in-line with her family values on the surface (e.g. clothes for the kids and family dinners).

Now, this person can say to herself, "Yes, buying stuff for the kids is important, but having more time to spend with my kids is actually more important, so I need to give myself the best chance at that promotion and invest in my professional look."

What if there is no deeper motivation?

On the off chance that you really, truly, honestly can't find any deeper motivation to keep your resolution... my advice is to skip that task entirely.

Even if it means that you (gasp!) won't be adjusting your style this year. No, really. 

If you can't figure out a deeper why, chances are that the goal in question will not ultimately bring you much satisfaction, ultimately becoming a needless drain on your time and attention. Ask yourself if you truly want to do it! Sometimes this line of questioning will also help you discover your deeper motivation simply by exposing fears and mental roadblocks. Ask yourself what's holding you back? Why do you already have one foot out the door? What little voice is telling you you can't have it, shouldn't want it, or aren't good enough? 

Freedom Through Focus

And remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with eliminating a resolution! Elimination is part of FOCUS, and the more focused, intentional, and aware you are of your goals and motives, the better chance you have at accomplishing our goals this year!

Tomorrow I'll have another outfit post for you, along with some great examples of resolutions and why statements to help you flesh out your own wish lists and stick to your guns! Stay tuned!