Welcome to Week 4 of the 4 week Health Improvement Challenge! Today we will be talking about:



Resilience research consistently demonstrates that having a strong sense of meaning and purpose in our life and work provides a powerful stabilising force from which to deal with difficulties. Yet many of us drift through life without any strong focus in our careers and relationships.

If we can find and pursue our true purpose, it can fundamentally change our lives for the better. But how can we cultivate a more meaningful life? The answer is complicated and depends on many factors.

Here are some ideas on how to best set your focus. We suggest writing these down for you to come back to at different points in time to reset your focus.

  1. Knowing What’s Important
    Know what’s important for you. Write down your top 5 things that you believe are the essence of how you want to live life.
  2. Pursue Your Passion
    It’s what makes life worth living, and gives our lives true meaning and purpose. Each time you work on something you love, it creates joy inside you like nothing else.
  3. Discover Your Life’s Purpose
    If you had to give yourself a reason to live, what would it be? What would you stand for? What principles do you hold highest?
  4. Self-Awareness
    Remain mindful of what you do at all times, and make sure you are living life according to your principles, your life’s purpose, and what you are passionate about. Review your actions each day.
  5. Focus
    Focus on one thing at a time. Not only will you alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to juggle so many tasks, you will be much more successful. Try and align your goal with something you are passionate about.
  6. People More Than Things
    Consider carefully what you purchase and think more about spending your money on experiences with friends and family. Not only will this give deeper meaning to your life but you will be a happier person as a result.
  7. Live With Compassion
    Both for yourself, and others.
  8. Find a Way to Give Back
    Do something that both honours your beliefs and passions, while giving something back to the world. By giving something back, we inevitably find purpose in the act.
  9. Simplify Your Life
    By simplifying your life, you’ll have more time to do what fulfils you and gives your life meaning. It can also help reduce stress and make your overall life easier to manage.
  10. Set Daily Goals
    In the morning, before you start your day, create a list of 3 goals that you find fulfilling and meaningful. Tackle the hardest things first! Don’t make this list too long. By doing less, you’ll end up doing more.

Making healthy changes is easier said than done. Even when we’re strongly motivated, adopting a new, healthy habit — or breaking an old, bad one — can be extremely challenging.

A large amount of research has been aimed at identifying those factors that contribute to successful lifestyle change. One problem may be that we’re motivated too often by a sense of guilt, fear, or regret. Experts who study behaviour change agree that long-lasting change is most likely when it’s self-motivated and grounded in positive thinking. The Economic and Social Research Council in 2006, released findings on 129 different studies of behaviour change strategies. They found that the least effective change strategies were those that aroused fear or regret in the person attempting to make a change.


There are however some tried and tested principles that promote and support behaviour change:

1.     Have a plan: behaviour change is a planned process that requires intention and attention.

2.    Goals are easier to reach if they’re specific (“I’ll walk 20 minutes a day,” rather than “I’ll get more exercise”)

3.    Don’t set too many goals. Having too many goals limits the amount of attention and willpower you can devote to reaching any single goal.

4.    You need to have a practical way to reach your goal, for example, if your goal is to stick to the 5:2 diet you will need a strategy in place for quelling hunger pangs (for example, keep a bottle of water or cup of tea nearby, or chew sugarless gum).

5.    Get support, tell others friends, family and colleagues about your goals –the act of telling them anchors your commitment to the change and they can encourage you.

6.     See change as a process: it’s about ‘plan, action, review and learn’; not ‘try, fail and give up’. Change is often two steps forward and one back so it is important to have a strategy for getting back in the game when things are not going well. Any effort you make in the right direction is worthwhile, even if you encounter setbacks or find yourself backsliding from time to time.


SiSU Health Guide to Focussing the Mind