Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Five Whys: The Secret to Setting Effective Goals

Five Whys: The Secret to Setting Effective Goals

Do you have strong willpower to accomplish something in life yet always fail to be successful? If yes, you need to be introduced to the “five whys.”

Determination and intention are not enough. If you wish to reach the stage that you have always been dreaming of, you need to strengthen your goal setting strategy. The five whys are all about defining effective goals that are practical and achievable.

Read on to find out more about this technique and how you can benefit from it, too!

What Are the Five Whys?

Let’s start with an explanation of what exactly the five whys are. It’s no rocket science. The five whys are simply five questions based on reasons. The idea is to dig deep into whatever is going on in your head.

The Main Idea

The five whys method is an interrogatory technique. Imagine being a detective sitting in front of a potential culprit. Just like you would question every single answer that comes out from their mouth, you question yourself as well.

Of course, you’re both the culprit and the detective in this case. So, don’t even try to fool yourself. Be very honest and open. The answer to one question should lead to another question until you reach a crystal clear conclusion.

Being clear with your true intentions is a major part of setting effective goals. Unless you don’t listen to your true self, you won’t know the real reasons behind your goals. Since the true intention will be blurry, your entire path will be full of hurdles. What will that do? It will not just elongate the process and wear you out, but it will also increase your chances of failure.

Advertising

The five whys are questions that vary from situation to situation. Depending on your answers and goals, the exact questions will differ every time. However, the intent is always the same.

You want to find out more about the reasons behind your goal. You may think you know the answer, but once you start digging deep, you’ll learn a lot more.[1] Even if that’s not the case, it’s best to make sure that the reason is well-known and solid.

What to Ask Yourself

Start with the main question of what exactly your goal is. The five whys will follow this big question.

The first why should be focused on why you think you have this goal in mind. Is it going to bring you mental peace or financial stability? Or is it just a hobby you want to adopt.

Next, question its importance. Why did you choose this goal? There are probably many alternative routes available that can fulfill your needs.

For example, if you’re opting for something to satisfy a hobby, you can go for painting, music, dancing, and so much more. So, what makes you choose one of them over the others?

The third why is a continuation of the importance. But here you’ll focus on the ways that this goal directly affects your life. Why is this goal going to be a safe bet for improving your existing life?

Advertising

Moving forward, ask yourself why you can’t achieve what you want without this goal. Here you need to figure out the reasons that this goal makes your life complete or fills an empty spot.

Lastly, ask yourself why this goal will make you feel better. It is a given that if you’re struggling to achieve something, you’re expecting it to make you feel better than you already do. So, why will a new hobby or financial stability or mental peace make you more excited about life?

Once again, these questions are not very strict. You can adjust them according to your situation. The only thing to ensure is that you truly interrogate yourself and leave no doubts.

How to Implement the Five Whys?

You now have a rough idea of what exactly the five whys are and what kind of questions you need to ask yourself. For a better understanding, let’s look at an example so that you know how to implement this technique in your real life.

John is a man in his 30s. He has a decent job in a well-known firm. He lives alone in a rental apartment, uses public transport, and has an average American’s social life. His pay rate is good enough to allow him to live a decent life.

However, John has been thinking about starting a side business. He will initiate a start-up from home, run it online, and gradually upsize it as the business grows. Here’s how the five whys will be implemented in a situation like this:

  • Why does John need a second source of earning?
  • Why can’t John fulfill his financial needs with his pay?
  • Why is a business his choice among many other options?
  • Why is now the right time to start the business?
  • Why will a side business make his life easier and lifestyle better?

John will answer the questions one by one. He may even think of a few more whys as he goes down the road. But in the end, he’ll have a clear picture of what exactly his needs are and what makes him opt for this route.

Advertising

The Analysis

John has a fiancée. He plans on marrying her in the coming year and starting a family in a couple more. When he gets married, John wants to have his own car and house. Although his pay is enough to fulfill his daily expenses even after marriage, there’s a lot of more that he needs to save up for.

A side business will allow him to save enough money for all his future goals including the wedding, honeymoon, house, car, etc. If he lays roots of the business now, by the time he starts a family, his business will be in a position where he won’t have to put in much time to it but still generate decent revenue.

With unexpected circumstances in the times of coronavirus, John was worried that he may lose his job. What if a similar crisis or any other tragedy makes John lose his job when he has kids to feed? That’s when his business will be enough for him to continue his life without any financial worries.

Since John will have all the answers in mind, he can devise a plan accordingly. He knows that his aim is to have a running business in a few years. So, even if the business isn’t profitable for the first 6 months, that won’t be a worry.

Converting the Whys to Step-by-Step Goals

Now, you don’t have to struggle with a mental conversation. If you’re just starting with this technique, try using a flow-chart approach.[2]

Even if you conducted the interrogation in your mind, it’s best to write down the key points. It will help you in this second part of the process. Having the answers and clarity alone is not enough. You need to put this information to use as well.

In the case of John, he knows that he needs a second income mainly for his future. So, it won’t be an issue if whatever he starts will take time to generate profits.

Advertising

At the same time, he knows that he only needs this earning as a backup. His everyday expense can be covered easily with this pay. However, the extra money will go to his savings which he will use in the coming year for his house, car, and wedding.

Since his plan includes a possibility of giving up the job and relying completely on the business, he knows he’ll have to plan something that is profitable in the long-term and isn’t just a short-term fluke.

John’s Goals

Based on the five whys and the analysis, John’s first goal will be to research his options. Since he doesn’t have enough time to tackle a second job, a business is the only way to go. Based on his investment budget, he has to look for something that can be run online by one man initially but also has the potential to grow into a brick-and-mortar business with multiple employees.

His next goal can be to set up the website. If he’s selling a material product, a warehouse will have to be arranged. Moreover, delivery services and other aspects have to be looked into.

Next, he can move onto making enough time in his routine to be able to focus on his business. As John moves on, his goals will change accordingly.

If you also start to think and plan like John, you can easily define effective goals, tackle problem-solving issues, and restructure your life for more productivity.

Bottom Line

The five whys are nothing but extra steps in the process of defining goals. Everybody has heard of SMART goals, but only a few are successful in actually devising SMART goals.

With the five whys, the whole process will become way easier and also more effective. It’s not hard to implement nor is it time-consuming. Just listen to your inner-self so that whatever you end up doing brings you the satisfaction that we all are looking for!

More Tips on Setting Effective Goals

Featured photo credit: Ricardo Arce via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Having Trouble Reaching Goals? This Could Be Why What are Goals? Achieve More By Changing Your Perspectives How Setting Lofty Goals Can Lead You To Unbelievable Success 6 Amazing Vision Board Ideas To Help You Achieve Your Goals How to Create Life Goals And Put Them into Action

Trending in Goal Getting

1 How to Set Goals Instead of Resolutions for the New Year 2 Stop Struggling With Your Goal With This New Way Of Thinking 3 One Simple Trick That Helps You Reach Your Goals Successfully 4 The 5 Unspoken Principles Of Goal Setting 5 Here’s Why Writing Down Your Goals Really Does Work

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 19, 2021

How to Set Goals Instead of Resolutions for the New Year

How to Set Goals Instead of Resolutions for the New Year

For many people, a new year is a fresh start, a do-over of sorts, that motivates you to try something new or to recommit to those tasks you put on hold because you were too busy tending to more important things. When we talk about the new year, one word often comes to mind: resolutions. You may ask your friends or co-workers about their New Year’s resolutions, finding that yours are similar to theirs: lose weight, get out more, save money. But, what exactly are resolutions? To make a resolution is to resolve to do something.The dictionary says that to resolve is “to make a definite and serious decision to do something.” That sounds promising. But, what happens after you’ve made that decision? How do you carry it out?

Instead of making resolutions, setting measurable goals is more likely to lead to success in seeing your hopes and dreams come to fruition. Want to increase the chances of seeing your dreams become reality? Here are five goal-setting tips that will get you started on your journey towards reaching your goals.

Advertising

Be S.M.A.R.T.

When it comes to goal setting, S.M.A.R.T. is a familiar acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive. Too often, people set goals that are vague and unrealistic. Not only does this lead to frustration, but it also decreases the likelihood of actually achieving the goal. The S.M.A.R.T. method can be applied to a variety of goals, whether professional or personal, giving you the tools you need to succeed in your goal setting endeavors.

Write it down

The daily minutiae of life is enough to rattle even the most skilled multi-tasker. With family dinners, kids’ sporting events, and household chores, life is truly a juggling act. Still, we manage to fall into the routine of getting those things done without a need to write them down. When it comes to goals, however, we are not very likely to simply fall into a routine. Achieving goals involves deviating from the daily monotony, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and challenging yourself. Writing down your goals allows you to free up some of that mental clutter so that you can visualize those things that you want to achieve. Also, tracking your progress by checking things off will give you a sense of accomplishment, motivating you to keep going. So, pull out that journal that has been collecting dust and write down those goals!

Advertising

Avoid comparisons

When you are working towards improving your life, it is common to compare yourself to other people. Your perception is that they are superior to you, or more privileged in some way. The social media phenomenon doesn’t help; your ‘news feed’ overflows with announcements of your friends’ new love interests, weight loss, and new jobs, quickly turning you into a green-eyed monster. How does this serve you, exactly? It doesn’t. When you compare yourself to others, you rob yourself of time you could be spending on your own self-improvement. It is also important to keep in mind that everyone’s journey is different; although we have similar destinations, our paths are often quite different. Follow your own path.

Embrace failure

Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki says that “successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it is necessary to learn and grow from.” Setting goals involves learning what you need to do in order to achieve personal growth. Embracing failure by seeing it as a necessary part of achieving your goals will only make you stronger and more resilient as you continue on your road to towards achieving your goals.

Advertising

Enjoy the process

Big success is made up of small victories. If your weight loss goal is 20 lbs, chances are that you will not lose it all at once. Still, you can celebrate your pants fitting a little looser every week. Having goals is important; however, we don’t stop living while we pursue them. Life happens while you are in the midst of seeing your dreams realized. Don’t allow your focus on the outcome to keep you from enjoying the process.

Featured photo credit: Hannah Jacobson via unsplash.com

Advertising

Read Next