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Routine Reset: Successful Goal Setting with Robert Paylor

With each new year comes new goals and the desire to form new habits.

When developing new habits, challenges are guaranteed. Every day, the opportunity to quit and fall into bad practices will present itself. In order to be able to overcome these challenges, we have to answer one question: “Why?”

Walking quadriplegic Robert Paylor inspires many

The Importance of Your Why

“WHY wake up early?” “WHY work out?” “WHY should I do this?”

The ability to answer this question, although it may seem simple, is the key to developing new habits. If we have an answer, we stay on the path; if we don’t have answer, we fall off. An effective strategy to answer the “why” questions is having a vision -- and I’m not talking about our eyesight. I’m talking about the future we want to see for ourselves.

Nearly four years ago, I broke my neck in the Collegiate Rugby National Championship and lost my ability to move. In one moment, I went from an elite athlete, to being trapped in my body – completely numb and motionless. I couldn’t understand how this happened to me and I was terrified. But I knew one thing… I wanted to walk again. I wanted to do what doctors told me was impossible.

In order to accomplish my goal, I had to understand my vision in perfect clarity. Every day I would close my eyes and think of what I wanted to see in my future. I envisioned myself standing out of my wheelchair for the first time, taking my first steps, feeling what it was like to have my life back, and being grateful to my past self for putting in the work to make it happen.

Tears streamed down my face when I thought of my vision. My appetite to make it a reality was insatiable. When “why” questions came up as I worked on my habits, and they certainly did, I continued to push forward because my answer to the “why” was so clear. Because of my vision, and years of hard work, I can now walk using a walker, live independently, and have done what doctors told me I would never do again.

Discovering Your Why to Crush Your Goals

So I ask you: What is your vision? How do you want to see yourself at the end of this year? What goals do you want to achieve? How will it feel when you achieve them? How bad do you want it?

Think about these questions seriously. Make your vision bold, ambitious, and something you deeply desire to achieve. Find something in your life that you want as badly as I want to walk.

As difficult as 2020 was for many of us, 2021 represents an opportunity for something much better. A year where we grow, cultivate a positive mindset, and develop good habits. 2021 will also be a year with challenges, as every year is, but how we respond to the obstacles in front of us will determine our outcomes. If we enter this year with a clear vision, then we can answer any “why”, and there will be no challenge too great for us to overcome.


Content written by Robert Paylor, a national champion rugby player, inspirational speaker, and walking quadriplegic. It is his mission to share the tools that have helped him overcome paralysis, so others my conquer the challenges they have in their lives