7 tips on how to become a more purposeful person at any age

Do you need to develop a sense of purpose?

Unfortunately, most people live without a goal. They go to work, relax after work in front of the TV, have a fun or not so much weekend. Sometimes they get sick, sad, have some desires and dreams. Some of them are carried out or come true by chance, but most of them are not. And then to the question “Dreams, dreams, where is your sweetness?” (from A. S. Pushkin’s poem The Awakening) the answer comes to mind: “The dreams are gone, the disgusting remains!” or “Winter has come, old age has appeared.” And the word “dream” is often used together with the words “fruitless”, “empty”, “impossible”, “reckless”.

In congratulations to friends and relatives, we wish them fulfillment of desires and “dreams come true,” but we should wish them to achieve personal goals. A person who lives aimlessly can be compared to a ship that has lost control. No one knows how the journey will end, with salvation or death, whether the weather will be calm or the ship will be caught in a storm that will break it against the rocks, or run aground. The Roman philosopher Seneca compared people who live aimlessly to a blade of grass floating along a river to wherever the waves take it.

Having goals in life means giving it direction. The one who sets goals and achieves them is the master of his own destiny, and this raises his self-esteem, gives him a surge of strength and energy to move forward.

Dreams do not oblige you to anything. But if we want them to come true, we need to turn them into goals and strive to achieve them - become goal-oriented. American author and management expert Zig Ziglar said that “Most people who want to achieve a dream and fail do so not because of a lack of ability, but because of a lack of determination.”

Perhaps for some, such a character trait as determination was passed on with genes. Perhaps children of purposeful parents will grow up to be purposeful. But what should others do who don’t want to go with the flow in this life? American psychologist Orison Marden derived his formula for achieving a goal: “... this is the certainty of the goal, knowledge of what a person wants, and a burning desire to achieve it.”

"I see a purpose, but I do not see obstacles!"!

To become goal-oriented, you need to define your personal goals.

This is already half the success. But for many people, setting goals is a difficult task. When asked about their goals, they answer in a confused and vague manner. The classic of American literature, W. Irving, generally believed that most people live guided by their desires, and only “high minds” are capable of setting goals.

So, if we intend to change our life, if we want to manage it, play a major role in it, we need to answer several questions in writing.

The questions are:

  1. What do I want to achieve before I die?
  2. What to possess?
  3. What kind of housing would you like to have?
  4. Where would you like to visit?
  5. What people would you like to meet in person?
  6. How much would you like to earn?

For each question you need to give detailed, detailed answers (except for the last one, which requires an unambiguous answer). For example, meet with Elan Musk, Richard Branson, David Beckham, Guy Ritchie, etc. Build a country house in the Provence style and describe in detail how we see this house. Or maybe we dream of a city apartment in a house built in the 19th century - what do we imagine it to be? Or do we want to visit the annual carnival in Venice?

The questions are not difficult, and even pleasant, but they require concentration. The experiment showed that out of 10 people who received homework assignments during the training to answer them, only one completed it. How can people want to change and become purposeful if they don’t take the trouble to write down their goals in detail? Most of them are happy to plan their weddings, thinking through the details, but do not consider it important to plan their lives! They will find a hundred reasons not to do this.

Detailed answers to the questions listed above play another role: while thinking about them, we can come to the conclusion that some goal is “not ours”, and we can easily cross it off our list of desires.

The process of defining and forming goals is called goal setting. This term is especially popular in trainings and courses for managers.

For those who find it difficult to define goals, Brian Tracy, author of several books on self-development, advises:

  1. The question about your main goal must be answered quickly - within 30 seconds. What we think about during this time will be the main thing for us;
  2. Answer the question: if we knew that we had no more than six months to live, what would we want to do during this time?

Another experiment demonstrates the undoubted benefits of goals written down on paper: graduates of one of the respected universities were asked which of them had clearly written goals for the future. There were only 3% of these. A few years later, sociologists returned to the fate of these young people, and it turned out that it was those who had detailed goals who achieved greater success and material wealth than others.

What is determination

Determination is an acquired personality quality that helps you set goals and achieve them. The meaning of determination is manifested in the firmness of choice, perseverance, and the desire to do something with perseverance.

This is the ability to clearly move towards a set goal without deviating from the path. Many people confuse determination with fanaticism, but these are different concepts. Fanaticism is the adherence to certain ideas and views taken to the extreme.

A purposeful person is a courageous person with a strong character, he is able to see his goal, think through a plan to achieve it and come to it.

A purposeful person frees himself from uncertainty, he takes the path of awareness.

In the absence of this quality, and, accordingly, goals and aspirations, a person will be controlled by circumstances. Such a person ceases to bear responsibility and manage his life.

Making a tree of goals, or breaking big goals into small ones

For example, we are planning to buy a house - this will be our main goal. From it we draw branches with subgoals. What do we need to make our dreams come true? Solve financial issues. How can we do this so as not to drag out this pleasure for years? Find a job that will pay more. But for this we need to master another programming language, learn English, etc. In order for us to have the strength to withstand the workload, we must take care of our health. For this purpose, we can sign up for yoga classes, swimming, etc. It’s also a good idea to think about proper rest, which means planning a trip to the mountains, to the sea, or somewhere else.

We break all subgoals into even smaller ones. For example, when planning a vacation, we book tickets, a hotel, and buy beach items. As a result, we should get a kind of tree called a “goal tree”.

How and in what ways does determination manifest itself?

  • Professional activity . To achieve heights in your professional career you need determination. Most often, this is the quality that people who want to find a rewarding job indicate in their resumes.
  • Relationship . Determination is necessary to change and develop your human qualities, and therefore improve relationships with people around you.
  • Personal growth . A purposeful person absorbs new experiences much faster, develops and realizes himself in life. As children, we were all goal-oriented as we learned to talk and walk.
  • Psychological health . A purposeful person can change, develop, and grow above himself. You need an inner core and strength in order to know what you want to become and gradually get closer to it.
  • Education . Purposeful people gain knowledge and experience faster. As a rule, such students are the best of their teachers.
  • Physical health . Determination helps a person get in shape faster, achieve results in sports and work on his body.
  • Creation . In creativity, determination is also needed. It is important to bring things to the end, otherwise there will be no sense of completion and result of the activity, creative energy will be spent, but will not find its purpose.

We are engaged in visualization

In short, we can say that it is a mental representation of the desired goal as if we had already achieved it. Before practicing visualization, it is worth mastering muscle relaxation, proposed by the American doctor E. Jacobson - it will help relieve emotional and muscle tension that prevents you from focusing on visualization.

In addition, pictures and photographs with objects of our desires depicted on them or reminiscent of them, which can be hung in a visible place, will intensify our actions.

How to teach your child to achieve their goals

Determination can be cultivated from childhood. We should start by developing patience, because we cannot get results right away. Therefore, show your child that sometimes some time may pass between an action and a reward. For example, a baby behaved well for a whole year, but only received the expected reward in the form of a toy on New Year’s Day. Or in case of lack of obedience, something does not happen.

A simpler option: teach your child to put together puzzles. The result is a beautiful picture. However, in order to get it you need to patiently and actively (!!!) connect small parts.

Why is it so important to develop patience in children? How can a person achieve something global (achieve a goal) without patience? After all, everything significant and expected does not come immediately; sometimes you need to wait.

We use the SMART method

The name of the method was given by the first letters of the words specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timed, which respectively means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, correlated with time.

Achieving a goal directly depends on how well it meets these five characteristics. For example, if we set ourselves the goal of earning money for a new car in a month, then it will be doomed to failure in advance, unless, of course, we accidentally win the lottery. The goal of quickly losing 20 kg without compromising your health will be equally unrealistic.

Setting unattainable and unrealistic goals means dooming yourself to failure in advance.

How to set a goal correctly

But I want to warn you that it is not enough just to develop the ability to achieve goals. You also need to learn how to choose and formulate these same goals correctly.

On the issue of choice: it often happens that a person spends a long, long time trying to achieve his goal, does not sleep at night, does not eat normally, takes a week off a year (and then during the rest he thinks about work). And now the goal is achieved... but there is no pleasure and joy. And after some time it turns out that you didn’t need it at all. Or if the goal was formally achieved, but in reality I wanted to get a completely different result.

So first let's learn how to choose the right goal.

SMART technique:

  1. Set aside an hour of time and write down all the goals that may be relevant to you at the moment;
  2. Then re-read the list and cross off things that may not be important in about 10 years;
  3. Review the list again, perhaps some items can be combined;
  4. Ideally, you should have 4-6 points left (but no more than 10);
  5. Now close your eyes and imagine that 10 years have passed and your goal has been achieved. Try to feel exactly what emotions you feel a few minutes after bringing your goal to life, a few hours, days, months later.

Now it’s simple: if the emotions throughout the entire presentation process were positive, then the goal is worthy of attention and is truly valuable to you. If the expected satisfaction does not appear, then this point should either be reformulated or discarded altogether.

How to correctly formulate a goal

  • Specificity

Don't give yourself abstract direction. Needless to say, I want to have money. At a minimum, it is worth checking the currency, because there is a difference between the exchange rate of the ruble, dollar, euro or pound sterling;

  • Measurability

There must be a number. For example, I want to earn 1 million dollars, buy 2 cars, 4 TVs, and so on;

  • Reachability

When setting goals, don't lie to yourself. There is practically no chance of immediately making a profit several times higher than the costs at the beginning of promoting your business. In this case, we should be glad that we were able to break even;

  • Significance

This is about whether you really need it;

  • There must be certainty in time (deadline, if you want)

For example, you can reach that $1 million goal at the age of 99 and die two days after achieving the goal. On the one hand, it’s great that the goal has been achieved. On the other hand, the person did not have time to rejoice, and he also did not manage to spend at least part of his loved one on himself. What's the use of this million then?

I want to tell you that if you formulate your goals in this way, then achieving them will become much easier. But! No matter how well the end result is described, to achieve it you also need actions.

No active actions - no results. And remember: there are no unattainable goals - there is a high coefficient of laziness.

We don’t tell anyone about our goals

Except maybe for the people we trust. Sometimes it is advised, on the contrary, to involve as many people as possible in your plans. This should supposedly be an incentive to carry them out - who would want to be branded as a windbag!

But there is another danger here: they will ironically tell us something like “well, well, let’s see what you can do,” “if you were going to fly high, it will hurt to fall.” And the spark in us will go out, our hands will give up, and we will not have enough strength to move towards the goal. You can only initiate your plans into someone who says: “I believe in you!”

© Elena Timoshenko, BBF.RU

Examples of purposefulness in life

  1. Mastering the desired profession . For example, in mastering the profession of an actor, it is necessary to constantly develop: study the principles of acting, human psychology, drama, literature, and move from theory to practice. It is important not to give in to temporary setbacks and, despite the high complexity and competition of this profession, to move towards your goal.
  2. Achieving sports results . For example, to achieve results in running, you need to train your body hard, gradually increase the distance, increase the load, and follow the correct daily and nutritional regimen. At the same time, you need to overcome laziness, body pain, and the desire to quit training.
  3. Striving for financial independence . Purposefulness and confidence are necessary for a person who decides to leave the comfort of the office and start working for himself, building his own business. To achieve success, you need to overcome doubts, fears and not be afraid to take risks.

Why should a child be purposeful?

Purposeful people truly enjoy life. They experience pleasant emotions on the way to their dreams. And also the release of happiness hormones into the blood when it is finally achieved.

When a child achieves his dream, he experiences:

  • Feeling happy.
  • Joy.
  • Life satisfaction.

And also gets a good mood. Feels great. And he becomes more confident.

A purposeful child feels that he can independently influence his life. And that to achieve a certain dream he does not need to wait for help from other people.

Meaning of the word

In the literature on psychology, as well as in various personal growth trainings that have become very popular recently, the term determination is often used. Experts understand it as a human character trait, which consists in the ability to plan events in one’s life and not deviate from the intended goal under any circumstances.

At the same time, many confuse purposeful people with real fanatics

The latter become so obsessed with their desire that they stop paying attention to the people around them, to their own other needs, to hobbies. Psychologists call such concentration on a problem painful, and persistence as maniacally dangerous for society.

Movement along the intended “route” must be conscious, and planning always allows for the possibility of adjusting actions taking into account current events.

Determination is a socially rewarded, very important individual, positive quality. It is highlighted when writing resumes and as a main requirement when describing requirements for job seekers, wished for in holiday toasts and considered a significant compliment. The main components of this concept are:

  • will;
  • emotions and ability to control oneself;
  • intelligence;
  • features of perception;
  • character and temperament.

Such a human quality as determination is characterized by a dual nature. To a certain extent, this trait is laid down at birth, along with temperament and other personal characteristics. But throughout your life you can successfully develop this quality in yourself. This requires willpower, a stable psyche and an understanding of the meaning of one’s own actions.

In order for a person to develop the necessary character traits, he must see similar examples and specific behavioral models in his environment. Even with existing inclinations and inclination to be able to achieve the desired goal, it is not always possible to become goal-oriented. The primary role here is played by upbringing by parents, who demonstrate the use of personal qualities in everyday life.

The environment is no less important, starting from preschool and educational institutions and ending with fully grown, formed teams with their own foundations and manners.

How to develop a strong will

This question worries, in all likelihood, every second conscious person, because it is no secret that the bulk of our population has a rather weak will. In order to answer it, we will have to delve a little deeper into this question, but what is willpower anyway?

Willpower is a certain ability of a person to most effectively resist his own desires and, of course, instincts for a certain period of time.

In addition, willpower is temporary and requires a certain amount of emotional effort. Moreover, the more developed willpower is, the much longer and much more powerful desires a person will be able to resist.

As you may have noticed in situations where you are freeing yourself from nicotine addiction or introducing a conditioned diet into your life, such willpower, like the incredible power of motivation, is temporary.

So, in the initial period of “quitting” you are still full of incredible enthusiasm, and therefore you can quite easily cope with such a bad habit within just a few days. But after a certain time, your incredible enthusiasm fades, as well as your motivation weakens significantly, and now you inevitably approach the very moment when such willpower simply ceases to be as strong as before. Now you know how to develop your will.

Exercises that develop willpower

Will does not arise spontaneously; it is formed gradually from individual actions to which volitional effort is applied. A correctly set goal and the ability to motivate one’s actions can force oneself to make an effort. Each person has his own “points” that stimulate activity. For some, the “stick” is more suitable - punishment for refusing to act; for others, the “carrot” - a reward system - is more suitable. To train the will, it is necessary to identify the most effective incentives for a particular person.

Implementation of the decision made must be mandatory.

If you are thinking about how to develop will, you need to think through a program of action that requires the manifestation and cultivation of certain qualities. The program should provide for a gradual increase in demands on oneself. At the same time, the program must be designed for a long time, because the action becomes a habit only after at least three weeks.

“External control”, that is, controlling the actions of another person or keeping careful diary entries, helps a lot in the development of will. Willpower training is a complex process, but it is accessible to every person if he has sufficient desire to do it.

Make an action plan

When the question arises of how to become a purposeful person, advice becomes unnecessary and the consciousness automatically begins to look for global goals. But are they that good? For example, you dream of buying a car of a certain brand in six months. And this is where the fears associated with finding money begin. And you suddenly realize that six months to achieve such a goal is a very short period of time.

And you just need to break the goal into small steps. Study the offer; perhaps some car dealerships have promotions. Or maybe it’s better to consider the option of lending. Then calculate your budget. And start saving a certain amount, based on your own capabilities and the deadline for your goal.

Ways to achieve goals

The implementation of any project or plan involves two stages: the idea, thinking about the details and practical actions.
At the first stage, doubts, collection of information, and analysis are acceptable. You can talk to friends or acquaintances who can give good advice. The second stage is action. Everything has already been decided, weighed and there is no turning back. Only forward, despite difficulties and mistakes - this is the road to success.

You shouldn’t give up if it doesn’t work out the first time or if something doesn’t go according to plan. This is normal and only means that:

  • not all possible resources are used;
  • you need to go to plan “B”;
  • It will take a little more time to achieve the goal.

Purposefulness is not given to everyone from birth, but work on oneself and a great desire can work wonders.


“Most people who fail to achieve their dreams do so not because of a lack of ability, but because of a lack of determination,” says one of the most popular motivational speakers in the world, Zig Ziglar. In his opinion, people who lack determination rarely achieve their dreams. In achieving a goal, it is not ability that plays a huge role, but perseverance. “The secret of success is perseverance in achieving a goal,” said Benjamin Disraeli, an English statesman. He believed that success is achieved by people who are persistent in achieving their goals, who do not give up what they started, who do not retreat from their plans, and, albeit in small steps, move towards realizing their dreams. “The day turns out well for those who can boast of determination or at least simply know what they want,” asserted the ancient Greek politician and poet Chilo. In his opinion, happy is the person who, upon waking up, set a goal for himself and confidently took the first step towards it. The poet is sure that the day will turn out great for such a person. “A person who certainly wants something forces fate to give up,” said the famous Russian poet M.Yu. Lermontov. In his opinion, a purposeful person, confidently pursuing a dream and firmly knowing what he wants to achieve, forces fate to submit to him. “To reach the goal, you must first go,” said the French writer Honore de Balzac. It is difficult to disagree with his opinion. Indeed, in order to achieve what you want, to carry out your plans, first of all you need to go towards the goal, sometimes make an effort, but not stop. “Not a single living person lives without some goal and striving for it. Having lost purpose and hope, a person often turns into a monster out of sadness,” famous Russian writer F.M. Dostoevsky. He was convinced that a person without a goal, without aspirations, is not able to live; he loses his human appearance, turning into a monster. American writer Ayn Rand said: “Only those in whom aspirations are extinguished are lost forever.”

She believed that a person who has no goal, no aspirations, is considered lost, because such a person does not know where to move and why. “It doesn’t matter that you walk slowly, the main thing is don’t stop,” advised the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. On the way to the goal, speed is not important; the most important thing is that a person does not stop, even in small steps, but approaches the target. “People always blame circumstances

I don't believe in circumstances. In this world, only those who seek the conditions they need succeed and, if they do not find them, create them themselves,” wrote Bernard Shaw, the famous Irish playwright and novelist. He does not believe those who, having not achieved their goal, blame various circumstances for failure. In his opinion, in order to achieve a goal, to reach it, you need to look for the necessary means, forces, conditions. A purposeful person, if he doesn’t find them, then creates them himself. “Crazy people are always better than healthy people in achieving their goals. This happens because for them there are no moral barriers, no shame, no justice, or even fear,” wrote the famous Russian writer L.N. Tolstoy. According to the classic of Russian literature, crazy people achieve their goals better than healthy ones, because they do not disdain any, even immoral, means, methods and ways of achieving their goals. A healthy person weighs his actions, words, actions, correlates them with the laws of morality, morality and conscience. “Stay away from people who mock your aspirations. Little people always do this, while great people always make you feel that you too can become great,” wrote the American writer and journalist Mark Twain. According to the classic, we need to avoid people who laugh at our aspirations, because only evil, selfish, callous people do this. Generous people push you toward your goals with words of encouragement and let you know that you, too, can become great.

What kind of person is called purposeful?

Determination is the desire to achieve a goal. A goal is what one strives for, what needs to be achieved. Purpose is as vital to a person as air. No one achieved success without setting a goal, just as no one lived without air. A means is a method of action to achieve something. What kind of person is called purposeful? It seems to me that a purposeful person is a person who goes towards his goal, despite the difficulties and obstacles that come his way. I immediately have a question: does the end justify the means? I think if the means are good, then yes, the end justifies the means. But most people use immoral, illegal, unpleasant means to achieve their goals, justifying themselves by the fact that the goal justifies the means.

So, for example, in A.P. Chekhov’s work “The Gooseberry,” Ivan Ivanovich told the story that happened to his brother Nikolai. Nikolai wanted to realize his old dream - to buy an estate with a gooseberry bush. He did everything possible and impossible. He saved money all his life and even went hungry, saving money for his estate. He married a rich widow, but starved her to death, and she gave her soul to God. And during his lifetime he put her money in a bank in his own name. The goal has been achieved - the estate has been purchased, gooseberries have been planted. When he achieved his goal, he lost the meaning of life. It seems to me that Nikolai Ivanovich can be called a purposeful person; buying an estate with a gooseberry bush was a lofty goal for him, and he walked towards this goal. But by what means? In this case, the end does not justify the means. The most striking examples of determination are not only the work of A.P. Chekhov, but also the work of Richard Bach “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”.

The main character saw in flight not only the production of food, but also art. And then Jonathan began to improve his flight. He began to fly very low over the water and at high speed. Jonathan broke all the laws of the pack. Jonathan was kicked out of the pack because of this. He began the life of a hermit. Jonathan still achieved perfection and lived a “happy life.” And we are not talking about seagulls here at all. In this work, seagulls are people concerned with material wealth. It seems to me that you should always improve and not be afraid of what society will say. After all, there are people who will support you in any situation.

These two works showed me how important it is to have a goal in life, but the most important thing is to use only good means

How to become a purposeful person

Purpose and determination are concepts of the emotional-volitional sphere. It is no coincidence that emotions and will are considered together. In a sense, we can rephrase that a goal is an object of emotion. Imagining it, thinking about achievement and results, a person feeds himself with delayed emotions of pleasure and joy. Purposefulness is the result of volitional efforts, coordinated and consistent behavior. Volitional effort is behavior in which a person acts under self-pressure, and emotions help him withstand this pressure, keeping in mind the result.

And to become a purposeful person, you need to integrate these concepts. Choose a goal that is desirable, inspires and performs consistent volitional actions. At the initial stages, the goal must be chosen, in which there is practically no doubt about achieving it and the actions necessary for implementation are perceived as insignificant. But the pleasure from implementation should be quite subjectively significant. The goal should be environmentally friendly, positive, and when planning, take into account personal resources as much as possible, and not be focused on others, i.e. as autonomous as possible for the individual.

Having completed this step, the goal bar will be raised, and the required actions will accordingly become more difficult. The factor of obtaining perceived satisfaction from the actions performed at a low level of development of the trait of purposefulness is of great importance; subsequently it will be more automatic, remaining an active link in the interaction. Completing the previous task will give you confidence in your strength to complete the next one, the skill will be strengthened in your own eyes, as well as in the eyes of others, the image of a purposeful person will be formed. A person may think that achievements are for others or at some stages become discouraged.

Examples of determination in other people can inspire your own activity. Studying biographies and success stories, admiring the perseverance and dedication of heroes, increases confidence in people's capabilities. And looking at them, we think about how to develop determination in ourselves.

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