The last question on my client health waiver is always ‘Do you have trouble sticking to a program?’   Why do I ask? It says a lot about who a person is and what their journey has been like so far. If the answer is ‘yes’, it’s a very meaningful question in how to proceed.

What I am actually asking is ‘do you have a purpose to succeed?’

The quote that comes strongly to my mind is “Knowing your purpose motivates your life.  Purpose always produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose. On the other hand, passion dissipates when you lack a purpose”. (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life).  This can apply to many aspects of life, but in my case I am interested in creating health driven results.

Aren’t I Just Talking about Goal Setting?

I want to distinguish the difference between purpose and goals as they are very similar and somewhat interlinked, but purpose will fulfill your goals.

Purpose is personal. It is the deep down reason that you aim to achieve a goal. Goals are the what you want to achieve, but purpose is the why you want to achieve them. There needs to be something beyond the present grind. Purpose should MEAN something to you.

Purpose can also make your fitness goals less overwhelming and stressful. Fitness should not be something else you are cramming into your schedule because you feel like you should do it. With purpose you want to do it, because it now holds a value that is dear to you. Fitness does not fall by the way side because of busyness, it falls because of priority. A solid purpose will be a priority.

How to Get to Your Purpose?
  1. Write out your number one goal of why you are training
  2. Then ask yourself why
  3. Ask yourself why again

For example, your goal may be to get rid of your back pain. Now, sure it would be great to be out of pain, but why? The purpose behind that goal may be rooted in the desire to participate in activities with your children as they grow in order to maintain a strong long-term bond with them, changing the course of your life.

A purpose like that is far more worth sweating for than another workout being checked off or a silly number on a scale.

“It is usually meaningless work, not overwork, that wears us down, saps our strength, and robs our joy.” (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life).

Ask yourself WHY you want to achieve your goals.

Here are a few ideas that may provoke your purpose:

  • Energy to play with your children without pain or being winded
  • Confidence and an increase in self esteem
  • Commitment to a friend, team, program or race
  • Keeping up with your friends in a specific sport in order to remain social with them
  • Respect from your family members, peers or coworkers
  • To set an example for your children

So, if you tend to yo-yo exercise or just simply can’t get into it, don’t blame the trainer, the exercises, the gym or exercise itself. And definitely don’t blame yourself. Take a moment to ponder your purpose. A change in perspective may alter everything. Purpose-driven will always come out ahead. There is plenty of evidence that shows that top grossing businesses have strong purposes, and you should too. Be your own super-hero.

And the next time you are asked if you have trouble sticking to an exercise program, confidently and boldly reply ‘no’!

I leave you with this quote by George Bernard Shaw  “this is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

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Images courtesy of:  girl sitting girl throwing frisbee



Written by Dawn Joseph
Dawn Joseph is an Online Personal Trainer who focuses on form and function! She loves to travel and kite board. Train with her online or ask her a question here.