The importance of purpose in achieving goals

If you want to change your habits and improve your health and fitness, you need to create a purpose. But it may not be quite as straightforward as you imagine. Purposes can vanish just as quickly as they appear unless they are carefully constructed. If this happens, you will have no incentive and, as a result, you will fail to attain reach your target.

Layering your purpose

To arrive at a purpose for doing something, you must begin by asking yourself 'why'; why is it you want to raise your health and fitness, for example, to another level. But it's no good asking yourself this question only once. Whatever the answer is, you then need to continue asking why in order to get to the real root cause behind the desire. Layering a purpose in this fashion will make that purpose much stronger and it will serve as a constant reminder of why you are doing what you set out to do.

Carrot or stick

The next thing you need to consider regarding a purpose is what type of purpose it is that you have. I like to think about purposes as either being sticks or carrots. Say, for instance, you visit your GP and he/she tells you that unless you lose weight you are at high risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Your purpose in losing weight in this instance would be considered as a stick.

Alternatively, your purpose for doing something could be an inspiring challenge. Say, for example, you wanted to run the London Marathon and to do so you need to lose weight and increase your fitness level. Now, this would be categorised as a carrot type of purpose.

In an ideal world, your purpose will be both carrot and stick.

Set goals that are easily achievable

The last piece of advice on the subject of purpose is in relation to goal setting. If you set your goals too high, even if you have a strong purpose, you could easily fail. It is far better to set small, incremental goals. These are easier to achieve, and when you do so you will get a feeling of satisfaction and achievement and it will inspire you to set another target, and so forth until you achieve your aim.

For more information about the role of purpose in setting goals, please take a look at my video.

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