Motivation and purpose are two very similar terms but when they go head to head, purpose wins every time. Why is that so? How can we use them both to achieve our goals? What is the true difference between motivation and purpose?
Defining Motivation and Purpose
Before we can understand the differences between motivation and purpose, we have to understand what they mean on their own. These concepts are somewhat subjective and difficult to nail down since they are so similar. But here are a few definitions that can help us.
Motivation is your reason for behaving or enthusiasm for doing something. When you’re feeling motivated, you probably just finished reading a self-help book or you saw a YouTube video of someone with a healthy gym habit. It’s exciting and you feel energized when you’re motivated.
Purpose is also your reason for behaving but instead of enthusiasm, purpose expresses itself in the form of resolve and determination. This is an important distinction because purpose is long-lasting while motivation is short-lived.
Why Purpose Beats Motivation Every Time
Whether you’re looking to change your eating habits or you’re hoping to exercise more often, you probably start off feeling motivated and excited about changing your life for the better. The problem is, in a couple of weeks, the excitement wears off and you fall off the wagon.
That’s why we can’t trust our motivation. It’s a fleeting feeling and you won’t always feel motivated to finish what you start. The good news is that this is completely normal and the way to combat a lack of motivation is with purpose.
You can think of your purpose as your “why.” Why do you want to eat more nutritious foods? Why do you want to improve your fitness? Why will you keep going even when motivation fails you? Keep asking why until there’s no higher goal to be achieved.
Your purpose should be something that never changes. For example, your purpose might be:
- I want to eat healthy foods so that I can watch my kids grow up.
- I want to exercise more to improve my mental health.
- I want to explore better nutrition to help prevent disease.
- I want to improve my health and fitness to perform better in all aspects of my life.
Use Both Motivation and Purpose to Achieve Your Goals
The thing is, motivation and purpose can work together. Once you figure out your purpose, you’re more likely to stick with it but finding a motivation that’s based more on short-term rewards helps you start in the first place.
Some things that can encourage motivation might be:
- Signing up to run a half marathon
- Changing your diet to reverse your Type 2 Diabetes
- Losing 50 pounds
- Working out for your wedding day
As you can see, all of these goals are extremely motivational but the problem is, they have an end date. But if you have purpose, you’re more likely to continue on your journey to health even after you’ve met the goal that was motivating you in the first place.
Even if your purpose is really strong, habits must form in order to live your purpose. That’s where motivation comes in handy. Since motivation works with short-term rewards, it’s easier to start a healthy habit when you’re feeling motivated. Then, your purpose swoops in when your motivation fades.
Makes sense, right? Motivation helps us get out of bed and start building better habits, but it only works in the short-term. Purpose, on the other hand, comes to rescue when our motivation goes away and keeps us on track with the habits we built with the help of motivation.
It’s important to get really clear on your purpose and keep it at the top of your mind. Write it down and tape it to your bathroom mirror or the fridge. It’s normal for us to not always feel motivated and it’s essential not to confuse motivation for purpose. After all, we’re not always going to be “in the mood.”
If you’re struggling with a lack of motivation, a personal trainer can help. Our fitness trainer Dubai services not only help with personalized workouts and fitness plans, but we can also help you find your purpose and keep you accountable when our short-term feelings change – because they always will.
Ready to find your purpose?