We talk a lot about ‘Purpose’ at Be Strong. But what is it?
Purpose is the reason you do everything, your reason for being, and what keeps you going when times get tough and the fridge is calling you to eat it’s contents.
Having spoken to a few people lately, I think lockdown has provided people with the thinking time, to realise what their purpose is in life. The realisation that they can’t carry on as they are making themselves miserable. Covid has given us all a lot to think about and realise what is important to us. And for most I think we realised, what is important is being with our loved ones, being able to go out and exercise in the fresh air, and most importantly it made us reflect on how we stay healthy, to give us the best chance of beating the pandemic, and be around for a long time, to spend time with future generations.
Finding your purpose can be tricky for some. For others, it’s like a light bulb moment, the moment in time when it suddenly all becomes clear. Your purpose is the one thing that above everything else is so important to you, that it means you will sacrifice anything to achieve it. Because you will have to make sacrifices. The benefit of identifying your purpose is that you have something to latch onto when the going gets tough. If that purpose comes from a positive emotional place, it is more deeply ingrained than a superficial goal and you are therefore more likely to find the strength to carry on. However that’s not to say that what might start out as a ‘superficial’ purpose, won’t have some deep rooted emotional connection, you just need to dig a little deeper to get to the real reason that you want to do this.
I have written this so many times before, but my purpose is always to be a good role model for my children, and to ensure they grow up with a healthy body image. My purpose is based on experiences that I had growing up, that I never want my children to face. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it is enough to drive me to be the best version of myself, the majority of the time. That’s not to say I don’t fall down occasionally, because I do, but it absolutely gives me the drive to get back up again. At the beginning of lockdown, I realised my good habits were slipping and old habits were coming back in, but I had a moment of realisation, and that was when it stopped, and I got back on track.
Connecting to your true purpose gives you your most powerful source of motivation. It gives you your reason to wake up every day. It gives you strength when times are hard and it gives you the reason to get back up when you fall off the wagon.
Why should I find my purpose?
Your purpose is more than a goal. It is a deep rooted emotionally driven motive. It is absolutely a reason for being. Finding your purpose keeps you committed to achieving your goals.
Identifying your purpose motivates you to give up parts of the old lifestyle, that you know you need to stop, but don’t really want to. Identifying your purpose will give you the impetus to stop buying rubbish from the supermarket ‘for the kids/guests/husband/dog/neighbours’ aunties’ sister-in-law’ when really it is you that wants it. It makes the new lifestyle more appealing than the old lifestyle. It makes you want to do this, enough to give up those old damaging behaviours, in order to get to where you want to be.
Identifying your purpose, could be an absolute game-changer for you. It could be the line in the sand, that defines the end of the old and the beginning of the new. When you identify your purpose, it gives you the impetus and motivation to take action, and to keep on taking action forever. Because this will be forever, it won’t be till you hit a particular number on the scales, or you summit that mountain, or lose those crutches, because this continues until our dying day, because if we don’t continue we just go back to where we were.
How can I find my purpose?
To find your purpose, you need to set some time aside – probably about 5-10 minutes without any distractions, then you can really think clearly and focus on what you really want.
First of all, you need to know what your overall goal is, and at this stage, I don’t think it needs to be too specific. So that might be: ‘I want to lose weight’.
Then you need to ask yourself why you want to lose weight – and for every answer you give yourself, ask why that is. The more why’s you ask, the deeper you get into your psyche and the closer to your purpose you get. It can get quite uncomfortable when we keep asking ourselves these questions, but don’t be afraid of the answers, because when you find the answers, that is when the magic can start to happen.
You might find that once you have identified your purpose, your goal might reshape slightly, and you can construct a really sound, specific SMART goal. The specifics then give you something to aim for. What you become on the way to achieving your goal, that is fulfilling your purpose. That is what’s important – it’s being the person you are really meant to be, rather than hitting a particular number on the scales or being able to perform a particular skill. Because, once you hit that goal, you will naturally start to search for the next one!
Finding your purpose can mean that you need to do some real soul searching, and deep thinking, which you might not have had time to do before, or you might not have felt comfortable doing. But once you unlock your purpose, that is when the magic will start to happen. Your purpose will give you the reason to stay on track, or to get back up quick, once you fall off the wagon.
In finding your purpose, you need to consider if it’s important to sacrifice and maybe even suffer for it. If you are prepared to fulfil your purpose no matter what, you know you are on the right track. If you think about those incredible athletes like Mo Farah, or Katarina Johnson-Thomson, Mohammed Ali, their journeys weren’t easy, they have made sacrifices, whilst fulfilling their purpose. Sitting in ice baths to relieve tired and aching muscles, training day after day after day, despite being exhausted, hours in the gym, on the track, eating perfectly, all in pursuit of their purpose to be the best athletes in their field.
Keep it Positive
If your soul searching leads you to some negative answers, or centres on negative feelings, flip it on its head. For example if you have reached the answer ‘I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t achieve things anymore’, flip it round – ‘I want to be the person that everyone thinks will achieve what they say they will. I want to be the person that everyone believes in.’ That is much more powerful and uplifting when you need to revert back to it, to give yourself a reason to keep going or get going again. If you focus on a negative purpose, when you fall down, you will just give in and your purpose becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. However if your purpose is positive, just thinking about that positivity will give you a boost, and that mental strength to get back up and carry on.
If you write your purpose down and display it somewhere you see every day, whether that’s a message in the steam on the bathroom mirror, or your screen saver on your computer at work – a regular reminder will give you the focus you need to keep going. You could print a photo or picture off, of something that represents your purpose an display that, to keep it in mind.
Fulfilling your purpose
Your purpose now becomes the over-riding ethos of how you will live your life – above all else you will become your purpose – no matter what! To get us on the right path, we then need to think about how we will become this, every decision you make you needs to fit with your purpose. This isn’t just about achieving your goals, it’s about how you will live out the rest of your life. Doing the things that make you the person you want to be.
Take action – Tell us what your purpose is!
We really want to hear from you on this one! If you haven’t already done so, you can tell us what your purpose in the discussion ‘The Buzz’ forums! We really look forward to reading them, and sharing them, if you allow, so that you can inspire others.