Have you ever found yourself excited about a new project, a new challenge, a new goal, a new endeavor; but then, after a while, the excitement faded, and there was little motivation to move forward?

The beginning of the year is a prime time for this to happen. Many people make resolutions and goals for the new year, and there’s a sincere desire to make progress towards them. But, as we all know, the initial enthusiasm can quickly dissipate after a few weeks. And it’s then, when the enthusiasm has faded, that knowing why we wanted to go a certain way in the first place is most needed.

Perhaps when we started out, we had compelling reasons to make certain changes in our lifestyle, or to tackle a big project. But unfortunately, we can easily forget about these reasons when times get tough. Our emotions and feelings will vary from day to day, and some days we simply won’t feel like going on. The question of whether this is truly worth our time, energy, or discomfort, begins to surface.

It’s in those moments where reminding ourselves of why we’re doing what we’re doing is so valuable. Reasons like, “I thought it’d be cool to try,” or “I figured I probably should,” only motivate for so long. But if there were compelling reasons we started down this path, and we can see the real-world benefits of continuing on (or the real-world costs of giving up), we’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision, not one based solely on the emotions of the moment.

This, of course, assumes we had good reasons for our actions to start with. But sometimes the reason behind why we want to do something ends up being an afterthought. Which may not matter much in some situations. But the larger the undertaking, and the more significant the investment of time, energy, or resources, the more important to be clear on the why we want to head that way.

We can have the best plans in the world. But if there’s no compelling “why” behind them, they’ll only take us so far.