In Career Coaching & Resumes, Christian Coaching, Life Coaching

Have you stayed on track with your Goals? If not, you are in good company. Consider this, when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% of people who set them achieve them.[1] I would find this rather disheartening if, through my coaching practice, I hadn’t stumbled across a key difference between those who stay on track and those who don’t:

Goals driven by motivation
Goals driven by meaning.

 ‘Meaning’ is much weightier than ‘motivation’ because unlike motivation, meaning is always tied to who we are. It is connected to our purpose, passions, and unique qualities. It arouses our sense of significance, our worldview, and so our sense of what matters.

It is also because of this tie to who we are, that meaning triggers an emotional response. We experience feelings of aliveness, fulfillment, and worth as soon as we begin working towards a goal tied to meaning, not just after we have reached it. Motivation doesn’t generate these same emotions. We feel energized and satisfied only when we see progress or achieve certain results.

Let me demonstrate:

I’m going to be nicer to my Sister so that she will be nicer to me.

  • Motivation: If I act a certain way, I believe that my Sister will mirror it.
  • Meaning: I value family on a very deep level, and I enjoy being a nice person. I want my Sister in my life and, at the same time, I don’t want to act in a mean way. This is who I am. Therefore, being nicer to my Sister means that I am being my best and true self. This may result in her being nicer to me, and I hope so. I am positive, however, that I will feel more fulfilled, stronger, and happier with myself if I choose to do this.

So try this out:

Q1. What do you see as the difference between Motivation and Meaning?

Q2. Think of a goal that you would like to achieve but with which you have struggled. How can you infuse meaning into it? That is, how can you make it an expression of who you are?

To Do. Write down the goal and the meaning behind pursuing it (not achieving it). Then, tape it on the fridge. You can also tape it on your bathroom mirror, by your bed, on your car dashboard, etc.

Then see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.

In it all with you,


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  • Jessica

    I love this Kerri. And so see it applicable to my writing goals. When I have tried setting a goal to ‘write more’ but have had no meaning behind it, my goal never gets past the starting line. But lately I’ve been trying to write more with the meaning of “Christ has called me to do this – and I need to be obedient to Him” … that makes me stick with my goal.
    Thanks for sharing your encouraging words.

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