Know Your Why

Hand holding young plant

At the beginning of every new year, we hear ‘what’ resolutions our family, friends, and colleagues are making and ‘how’ they plan to implement these changes in their lives. To save money by creating a budget or to lose weight by healthy meal planning. Far less often do we hear ‘why’ they have chosen a particular resolution, which is ironic given knowing your why is one of the most successful ways in making those changes stick all year long (or longer)!

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosopher

“When you know your ‘why’ then your ‘what’ has more impact, because you’re working towards your purpose.” – Michael Jr., Comedian

Even more effective, is asking yourself a series of consecutive ‘why’ questions to unpack the purpose behind those resolutions, and in turn, discover the layers of impact this resolution will have on your life.

This is a technique my toddler has surely mastered. Please get dressed for school. Why? So that you can learn new things. Why? So that you can grow up to be anything that you want to be. Why? So that your life brings you peace, profit, and purpose.

In the qualitative research space, my team calls this “double-clicking”. Digging below surface level interview responses in order to fully understand the sentiment can take many forms: rephrasing the question, restating the question, or simply repeating the response and asking why.

I really enjoyed the flexibility and engagement of qualitative research in 2022 (after working mainly in quantitative research prior) and look forward to learning new techniques that apply to my work and life in 2023. Maybe there is more to learn from the toddlers in our lives than we expect!

Feel free to drop me a note ( about how you are double-clicking to know your why this new year and how that helps you double down on those New Year’s resolutions. Cheers to 2023!

Leah McQuillan – Research Manager