Our ‘why’ motivates action
At the beginning of your Family Footprint Project is important to ask yourself, “What is my why? Why do I want to take my family down this path?” because down the track, this is what will keep you motivated.
At the beginning of a project we are usually filled with energy, enthusiasm and motivation. Anyone who has started a fitness program will know that feeling. They will also know that the energy, enthusiasm and motivation wanes over time.
Sticking with a commitment to change is no easy thing. We need strategies to help us stay the course months and years down the track. One essential aspect is knowing the purpose of your project.
In talking about this I am reminded of Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’. In his book Start with Why, Sinek describes a set of three concentric circles with WHY at the centre. WHAT we do and HOW we do it revolve around the WHY.
He insists that successful leaders and organisations are the ones that work from the inside of the circle to the outside, that is, they start with WHY and from there determine HOW they will achieve the WHY and WHAT specific actions they will take. The far more common scenario is to know what you do and maybe how you do it but not why.
Sinek’s proposition, while directed in the book to organisations and businesses, can be applied at the personal level too. It is about what determines success regardless of the arena to which it is applied. And what determines success is knowing why you are taking action because that is what resonates for us in the deep, primitive area of our brain and motivates action.
Emotional tipping point
Right now, at the beginning of the project, you probably have some very clear reasons why you have decided to reduce your family’s environmental impact. Often decisions to change are prompted by an experience or reaching an emotional tipping point.
For me, the experience was seeing the Great Barrier Reef again after nearly 30 years and being shocked by the change in it I saw. I had been feeling uncomfortable about the degree to which my lifestyle and choices were impacting the environment for some time but the reef trip experience (and the talk by the marine biologist on board) pushed me over my tipping point. My ‘About’ story will tell you more.
My Golden Circle
My WHY for our Family Footprint Project is not ‘to save the reef’ but that experience made real for me the impact that humans are having on our natural world. My anxiety about the state of our Earth intensified and, I have to admit, I felt rather overwhelmed. After some months of brooding and reflecting – and noticing the affect on my mental health – I decided to do something positive within my power. Embarking on our Family Footprint Project and starting the blog to, hopefully, encourage others to do the same is what I decided to do.
My WHY for our Family Footprint Project, then, is to reduce the impact human activity has on the Earth.
HOW do I hope to achieve such an enormous task? By leading a revolution of change at the family and individual level.
And WHAT am I doing to bring on this revolution? Attempting to lead by example, inspire and inform using this blog as the vehicle.
What is the purpose at the heart of your decision to reduce your family’s footprint? What is your why? I know this is deeply personal, but if you would like to share in the comments below, I’d love to hear.