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There is a thing that happens in traditional NLP training where the newbie Practitioners are trained to very rarely ever ask the question ‘Why?’. It’s actually pretty good advice, especially in contexts like therapy, as it tends to result in a sentence that begins ‘Because…’ and what follows will normally be an excuse for maintaining a certain behaviour.

However, another word for excuses is reasons. And reasons are massively useful. Especially when it comes to getting what we want.

When we really want something and can’t hold ourselves back from getting it, you know when your bursting to get something or do something, its because, somewhere inside, we have big,chunky, amazing reasons for doing it. It’s the reasons that give us fuel for our goals. It’s a simple equation, if you don’t have more reasons to do it than reasons not to do it you’ll simply procrastinate and your excuses (aka reasons) for not doing it will win. (NB There is a good chance you’ll then rationalise this whole experience and tell people that you never really wanted to do it anyway! Another sign your ‘not to’s have outweighed your ‘got to’s)

So think about something you’ve been planning on doing for a long time, something you really want to do. I’m thinking things like give up smoking, lose weight, change job, follow your passion or whatever it is that you really want. Now ask yourself, why?

Why do you want it? Do you have 10 great reasons why you will do this that really mean something to you (not to other people). Do you feel like those reasons outweigh your reasons not to? If they don’t, how many more reasons do you need to make it something you really have to do?

For example, does your want for health, freedom, confidence (or whatever it is for you) outweigh your need for the buzz of a fag, your need for crap food or the fear of the gym? Really? The moment it does, you’ll stop what you’re doing and, I guarantee, you will change.

Or another example, does your want for happiness and contentment outweigh your fear of the unknown, anxiety over interviews or the comfortable security of your current job? When it does, I promise, going for that new job will be easy.

The moment of decisiveness in any context, from deciding to make a cup of tea to deciding to change your whole life, is an unconscious measure of reasons. So ask yourself ‘why’ you want to do that thing and listen carefully to your thoughts. Is it the ‘ayes’ or the ‘naws’ that get it?

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