We use reminders to wake up, go to meetings, and study for finals. Perhaps, we should also remind ourselves of purpose. Purpose is an intention to engage in something that is meaningful and makes a contribution to the world (Damon, Menon, & Bronk, 2003).
Staying purposeful is not easy because it is a long process. Purpose gives a person a life-long aim that gives greater meaning (Hill, Burrow, Brandenberger, Lapsley, Quaranto, 2010). In this life-long pursuit, people need to choose goals, sub-goals, and daily activities that will lead them to accomplish their purpose. However, people sometimes unwittingly make decisions that are not in accordance with their purpose.
A person should make a habit of reminding themselves of their specific purpose on a regular basis. With this habit, a person will reassess whether his/her plans serve his/her purpose. Deep reflection and discussion on purpose prevents goal-directedness and life satisfaction from declining (Bundick, 2011).
However, to stay purposeful, a one-time reflection is not enough. A habit is more likely form if it is done repeatedly and consistently (Lally, Van Jaarsveld, Potts, & Wardle, 2010). This is why people need to remind themselves to reflect until it becomes a habit.
By Young Heo, Clark University, USA
Bundick, M. J. (2011). The benefits of reflecting on and discussing purpose in life in emerging adulthood. New Directions for Youth Development, 132, 89-103.
Damon, W., Menon, J., & Bronk, K. C. (2003). The development of purpose during adolescence. Applied Developmental Science, 7(3), 119-128.
Hill, P. L., Burrow, A. L., Brandenberger, J. W., Lapsley, D. K., & Quaranto, J. C. (2010). Collegiate purpose orientations and well-being in early and middle adulthood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(2), 173-179
Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998-1009.