Lifestyles Guide

Difference between Purpose and Goals

What is Purpose?

Your purpose is your “why.” It’s what drives you, what motivates you, and what gives your life meaning. It’s not something that you can achieve or complete, but rather something that you live out. Your purpose is often connected to your values, beliefs, and passions.

What are Goals?

Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound outcomes that you want to achieve. They are the steps that you take to move closer to your purpose. Goals can be short-term, medium-term, or long-term. They can be personal, professional, or both.

Key Differences between Purpose and Goals

Characteristic Purpose Goals
Definition Your “why” Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound outcomes
Focus Long-term and overarching Short-term and specific
Motivation Intrinsic (driven by your values, beliefs, and passions) Extrinsic (driven by rewards or recognition)
Examples To make a positive difference in the world To get a promotion at work, to lose 10 pounds, to save $10,000 in one year

How Purpose and Goals Work Together

Your purpose is like a compass, and your goals are the directions that you take to reach your destination. Having a strong sense of purpose can help you to set and achieve meaningful goals. When your goals are aligned with your purpose, you are more likely to be motivated and persistent in your pursuit of them.

Here are some tips for connecting your purpose and goals:

  • Take some time to reflect on your purpose. What are your values, beliefs, and passions? What do you want to achieve in your life?
  • Once you have a better understanding of your purpose, start to think about specific goals that you can set to move closer to it. What are some small steps that you can take today to start living out your purpose?
  • Make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you to stay on track and motivated.
  • Regularly review your goals and make sure that they are still aligned with your purpose. As you change and grow, your purpose and goals may also change.

Benefits of Having a Purpose and Goals

Having a purpose and goals can lead to a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased motivation and drive
  • Greater sense of meaning and fulfillment
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Increased resilience in the face of challenges
  • Enhanced creativity and innovation
  • Stronger relationships with others


Having a strong sense of purpose and meaningful goals are essential for living a fulfilling and successful life. By understanding the difference between purpose and goals, and how they work together, you can set yourself up for success.

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