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IS YOUR WHY BIG ENOUGH? The secret to success! Blog by Tiffany Barnard

14th of April 2021

I am sure many of you can relate to having had plans, goals or projects that just didn’t go anywhere despite your very best intentions!

The ideas behind them were solid and exciting and a dead cert for success, and yet that’s all they will ever be.

An idea.

Human beings are ingenious. We all have inspired ideas; plans for a better life and goals that we aim to achieve…

Definitely, probably, maybe…

So why is it that we lose interest in these things that so motivate us at the get go?

According to Sigmund Freud it’s all down to the pain-pleasure principal.

Basically, Freud realised that all humans make decisions based on either, increasing their pleasure (especially in the immediate to short term) or (more likely) decreasing their pain.

This principal is the basis for everything we do, for everything we think and for who we are. Fundamentally, we are the sum of all our experiences to date and of how we interpreted and acted upon those incidents of pain and pleasure in our lives.

And yes! This principal guides your subconscious in every single decision you have ever taken or will ever take.

Understanding how this principal can affect our everyday lives can change the way we live and can assure us of success.

Let me explain…

If you make a New Years’ resolution to give up smoking you will most likely be totally excited about your decision for at least (!) 5 minutes. You will be thinking about how your life is going to be so much better as a non-smoker!

Your house and your clothes won’t smell.

Your parents will stop nagging you about the dangers of smoking.

You will be able to walk up the 3 flights of stairs to your apartment without losing a lung on the way and most important!! You will save a tonne of money every year!


Let’s do it!!

But then reality comes crashing in and you start to think about stupid things like - 
‘How do I have a phone conversation if I don’t smoke anymore?’
‘What am I going to do while I watch a movie at night?’
‘I won’t be able to go out because everyone will be smoking!’
‘I will put on a stack of weight!’

I know these all sound ridiculous, but I promise you, those are the thoughts that went through my head just after I had decided to maybe, possibly, try to give up smoking…again.

I knew that smoking was bad for me! I had those awful pictures on the packet to remind me of the dangers every time I lit up! And I really did want to stop! Honest!

But… it just seemed too hard. 

Somewhere along the thought process, I had decided that the pleasure I would gain from being a non-smoker was not a big as the perceived pain I would feel through the process of giving up. 

In short, I had decided that it was too hard and that it just wasn’t worth it.

But then life slapped me in the face and I was given a really big reason WHY I should quit. It was at this point that the pain-pleasure balance flipped. The pleasure of being a non-smoker suddenly and definitely, outweighed the pain of quitting.

This is just an example of how the principal dictated my decision but I promise you! It affects all decisions! Big life changing ones. Small insignificant ones. Changes in our personal life and those in our professional lives!

Any time we have a goal that we want to achieve, we go through the pros and cons in our minds eye. We measure how much better our lives will be after the goal is achieved versus everything that has to be done to achieve that goal; ALL the obstacles in the way of our goal. How long it will take.

Is that pleasure worth the pain we have to endure to attain our goal?

The answer to that question will always be YES if you have a big enough reason WHY you want to achieve your goal. 

That WHY is what will blow all the excuses out of the water and stop you from procrastinating.

That WHY is what will keep you going through the rough patches on your journey towards your goal. 

That WHY is your MOTIVATION!

So, what was my WHY after 20 years of half hearted attempts to stop smoking? 

I lost my husband to cancer and I was not going to take the chance of leaving my kids with no one. 

It was a BIG why and it worked. I have been a non-smoker for 8 years now.

Some people find it very easy to stay focussed and motivated, but for others, this is really difficult but the good news is that we can all learn how to use the pain-pleasure principle to maximise our success!

As Muhammed Ali once told a reporter, “I hate every minute of training. But I said don’t quit! Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion!”

We all have it in ourselves to achieve whatever we want!

The trick is to want it. To really, REALLY want it.

Tiffany Barnard Life Coach Initials

P.S. If you are struggling with your motivation, reach out, I am happy to share my life hacks with you.


Tiffany is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) which was awarded by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the leading global organisation dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards. Tiffany trained at the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Tiffany is also an Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) and a COR.E Transitions Dynamics™ Specialist (CTDS).

Tiffany Barnards's Associate Certified Coach (ACC) badge awarded by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Tiffany Barnards's Certified Professional Coach (CPC) badge awarded by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Tiffany Barnards's Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) badge awarded by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Tiffany Barnards's COR.E Transitions Dynamics Specialist (CTDS) badge awarded by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Tiffany Barnard's International Coaching Federation (ICF) membership badge