Living ‘with purpose’ is hard work
But completely worth it when we figure out how
What it doesn’t mean.
There is a convoluted connotation to living each day ‘with purpose.’ Many believe it means that you’re going balls to the wall 24/7. You’re on the go, go, go. You sleep minimally because you don’t want to miss an opportunity. You suck down coffee and 5-hour energy shots just to keep you going so that you’re living everyday ‘on purpose.’
I take it back. That might exactly be it for some people.
But not for me.
What it does mean.
Living life ‘with purpose’ means making up our minds to not waste indiscriminate amounts of time drifting through the day. It means taking control of diminishing the distractions in our lives.
It means no longer being the victim, as in “I want to lose weight but I can’t resist the temptation of the goodie table at work.”
When we give in to the temptation of distraction or lack of willpower, it simply means we haven’t made up our minds to do it yet.
It’s necessary to make a commitment to what’s important in our lives and then pursuing those areas relentlessly. So, if losing weight is important to you or anything else for that matter, follow these steps:
Develop a goal (or at the very least, a direction). — In the case of losing weight, how much do you want to lose and what is your timeline for doing so safely? My sister had a goal of losing 50 pounds in one year. By having a goal and a timeline, she had a much better chance of succeeding (and she did, by the way).
Maybe you don’t need a hard and fast timeline, but you do need a direction. I am in the process of writing my first book. My initial goal was to have it independently published by my 50th birthday (which is in 25 days). It’s taking longer than I thought, and so I have recalculated and now I’m shooting for a publishing date in mid-November.
There’s nothing wrong with needing to revise goals. The key is to not quit. And believe me, I went through the “maybe I should just quit and not finish this book phase.” I would have regretted it though, and who wants to start 50 with regret?
Once you have a goal, put a solid plan together. — This means sitting down and mapping out how you’re going to do what you want to do. In my sister’s case, she mapped out how much weight she wanted to lose each month. She started slowly by first establishing better eating habits and then added in exercise.
In my case, I mapped out when I would write, when to get my drafts to my editor, work out time to collaborate with my cover artist, work through the logistics of independent publishing, and develop a marketing plan.
And then let the execution begin. — It’s all fun and games to have a goal and a plan, but now the work starts. And this is where it gets tough. There were times when my sister hit valleys after a nice weight loss and she got frustrated. She had times when she was challenged with injuries and had to make adjustments to her workout routines. That’s just it though. She established routines and when she had to revise them, she wasn’t crushed. It was a minor setback.
As I said before, this execution has been more challenging for me, because my plan didn’t go as I had hoped. I was tempted to quit. However, I told myself I’ve come this far. No regrets. Recalibrate and move on.
Evaluate and Reflect. — Along the way toward achieving a goal, you need to evaluate along the way. Every 2–3 weeks my sister would take a picture of herself to see how she was progressing. Every 4–6 weeks, she would take measurements. That’s how she knew she was always moving in the right direction. Even though she would plateau, her body looked and felt different. She had picture proof and she saw the inches coming off as the numbers continued to decrease.
And if that didn’t happen, she would reflect to see where she had a misstep and then course correct. Because she wrote down what she ate, she could instantly see if she had given herself too many food rewards or had not eaten enough fruits and vegetables.
My evaluation has come through realizing the steps to publishing a book take more time than I anticipated. There were some things I didn’t realize I needed to do and I added those in, because now I won’t be surprised when I write my next book. As I’ve gone through this process, I’ve reflected on what has gone well and what I want to change in the future.
Living ‘with purpose’ means taking what is important and pursuing it relentlessly.
What are you pursuing?
What is your goal and plan?
Are you executing your plan everyday?
How are you evaluating and reflecting upon your progress?