Setting a goal may seem like a simple task, but the truth is most of us (92%) never follow through with achieving a goal after we’ve set it.
In our 10-part goal-setting series, we’re exploring how you can become one of the 8% of people who achieve the goals they set. This series is designed to help you get clarity around setting your highest-impact goals — whether in life, health, career, or business — and develop a master plan of action to achieve them.
If you missed the last article in the series, Declaring the Best-Possible Goal Statement: Why It Matters, we suggest you read that first, then follow up here. Today we’re talking about identifying the purpose statement for your goals — and yes, a purpose statement is different from a goal statement!
Here, we discuss why creating a purpose statement for your goals matters (and how to do it).
Identifying the Purpose Behind Your Goal
If you’ve never heard of a purpose statement before, that’s OK. It’s one of the methods we teach at Arootah to empower our clients to accomplish their top goals. The good news is you can apply these methods toward your personal, professional, or business goals in any area of your life.
In order to design a mission, goal, or task that keeps you motivated to complete it, you need a strong purpose. In fact, purpose is the strongest motivator in achieving a goal. For example, if the purpose behind your goal is that it meets a fundamental need (such as a physiological need — food, drink, shelter, clothing, sleep, etc.), you’ll be highly motivated to take action to move towards that goal.
Hopefully, not every goal you pursue ends up being physiological in nature, but perhaps you now have a better understanding of the urgency behind a goal’s purpose.
Imagine if you set a goal that met none of your needs. If your goal is completely detached from your feelings, values, or mission in life, then you’ll have little to no motivation to achieve it.
Many of the goals we set for ourselves pertain to the fundamental needs of belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. When you begin working toward these goals, keep in mind they are real needs, not simply wants.
Now that you know your purpose behind a goal, crafting your purpose statement will help you sum up exactly why you’re motivated to achieve it. In other words, it will help you identify the need you will meet by succeeding at it.
Start brainstorming the purpose behind any goals you’ve set for yourself. If you can’t think of a purpose, you may need to develop clarity on your goal; otherwise, you may find that it doesn’t align with your mission or values.
Why Is Having a Goal Purpose Statement Important?
A crucial part of this goal-setting series is to provide clarity around your goals. Here’s why identifying the purpose behind a goal matters on a practical level:
- Purpose provides inspiration: Most of us seek inspiration as a source of motivation because using it results in minimal effort. When people work through inspiration, they may feel like they have an endless supply of energy so that work barely feels like work. Purpose is a catalyst for inspiration — it makes working towards your goals easy.
- Purpose helps you make the effort: Regardless of how inspired you are, every goal takes effort. You won’t feel 100% inspired every day to work toward your goals — that’s life. It’s much easier to make an effort toward achieving a goal when you understand the purpose behind it and the impact your goal will have on your life once you achieve it.
- Purpose helps you overcome obstacles: Any goal worth pursuing will have obstacles. Knowing the purpose behind your goal provides you with the incentive you need to overcome those obstacles. If you don’t anticipate any reward for your perseverance, it will be hard to muster the energy to work through challenges.
- Purpose helps you fight through procrastination: Procrastination is one of the most common killers of goals. If you’re prone to procrastination (as many high achievers are), it can be especially difficult to see your goals suffer as a result. However, focusing on the purpose behind your goal can provide you with an incentive to power through procrastination.
- Purpose eliminates distractions: A strong purpose will pull you towards the action you need to take to achieve the goal. You’ll be less distracted when you realize that the interruptions you’re facing in a given moment don’t carry nearly the same weight as the meaning behind your goal.
How to Create Your Purpose Statement
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably already brainstorming the different ways a strong sense of purpose can motivate you to achieve your goals. Now, to create a purpose statement for one of your goals, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I need to accomplish this goal?
- What pleasure will I feel if I do?
- What would or could happen if I don’t?
- What pain will I feel if I don’t?
The key to writing a strong purpose statement is to elicit the twin motivators of pain and pleasure. It’s in our nature to avoid pain and seek pleasure. We need to hack our system and use these motivating forces of pain and pleasure to identify the purpose in achieving our goals.
So, for example, if you’ve set a goal to hire a life coach this year, your purpose statement may look something like this:
“The clarity, strategies, and accountability a life coach provides me will keep me on the track towards achieving my highest-impact goals while ending the despair of procrastination.
The Bottom Line
Identifying a strong purpose behind your goal and summing it up in a purpose statement will greatly increase your chances of achieving that goal.
Remember, your purpose statement isn’t just a set-it-and-forget-it goal-setting tool you only use once. Keep your purpose statement in a place you can easily see it. Remind yourself of your purpose every day to keep you moving toward your goal.
Learning from other people who are equally passionate about achieving goals can be a great motivator. You can do that by downloading your free copy of Arootah’s CEO and founder Rich Bello’s playbook, The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula. It’s a simple, straightforward process designed to support you in systematically achieving your goals.
Lots of resources out there on this topic
but I highly recommend: Viktor Frankl’s
Man’s Search for Meaning. Also,
Grit by Angela Duckworth.