There is no greater feeling in life than waking up knowing exactly what you’re set out to do and actually accomplishing it. In fact, even larger than a “great feeling,” knowing your purpose can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Research shows that one of the reasons these people live longer is because they know their purpose or reason to live. This concept is especially prevalent in Nicoya, Costa Rica (where plant based “Koia” gets its name). A life plan emphasizes having a strong sense of purpose, helps people feel needed, and drives a desire to contribute to the greater good.
In addition to the mental benefits, knowing your purpose can provide numerous other health benefits. Reasearch has shown that those with a strong connection to their sense of purpose tended to live longer than those who didn’t have such a connection. In 2008, one study showed that a lower level of purpose among Japanese men was associated with cardiovascular disease. And another study of thousands of elderly subjects Dr. Patricia Boyle found that those people with a strong sense of purpose were less likely to develop mobile disabilities and daily living impairments.
Here are some methods to help you on your journey to jump out of bed everyday knowing exactly what you will accomplish and end the day feeling more fulfilled than ever…
Get in touch with your passions
Passions are ultimately what drive people and fuel success. It’s almost impossible to wake up feeling purposeful if you can’t put your whole heart into what you do. Get in touch with your passions by asking yourself what you truly love. It doesn’t have to be just ONE thing. In fact, having a multitude of passions can sometimes be even more fulfilling. When you’re going through your day, think about the times when what you’re doing feels effortless and time goes by quickly. Time flies when you’re doing what you love, so this is a good way to hone in on discovering your passions.
Aligning your job with your passions
Jobs are something that commonly give people a sense of purpose and it’s also pretty awesome when you’re job aligns with your passions. Although not everyone is working in a job they’re passionate about or has the flexibility to switch over to one they are passionate about, it might be more feasible to try finding your passions within your job (something called job crafting). For example, if you’re passionate about music, but only have experience in accounting, try looking for job opportunities which can offer both (maybe a cool new production studio is in need of an accountant?).
However, if you don’t have the flexibility to look for a new job, try searching for your passions within your current company. For example, if you’re passionate about the environment, but not passionate about your actual job, try encouraging your company to get more involved in beach clean ups or other volunteer opportunities. This will benefit you because you’ll be more able to hone your passions and your company will benefit by going greener!
We know situations vary from person to person, and not everyone’s lives are as flexible as others, but try testing this mindset out if you find yourself stuck in a position where passion doesn’t strike you (because maybe you can find a way for it to!).
Your plan can change from day to day
You don’t have to wake up everyday with the exact same purpose. If recognizing one single purpose isn’t your forte, instead, ease into discovering your plan by acknowledging one thing you want to accomplish on that day in particular. It can be as simple as, “my purpose for today day is meal prepping/grocery shopping for a week’s worth of food that will leave me and my family feeling healthy and nourished throughout the entire week.” Try writing down your down your daily purpose in a journal when you wake up. Then, after one or two weeks, reflect back on what you’ve written and find themes. Ask yourself which of those ideas truly felt purposeful to you, and that may help you ultimately discover a bigger purpose.
Don’t overthink it, just do it
Thinking about your purpose is one thing, but actually living it out is a whole different ball game. We know it’s easier said than done, but all that thinking can add more stress than simply setting out to achieve your goals.
Again, you don’t have to get stuck on ONE thing that makes your life purposeful. Acting on a multitude of purposes can help you find what you love and what you don’t. If you thought you were passionate about golf and dreamt about becoming a professional golfer, but then spent an afternoon on the course bored out of your mind, hey, now you know being a professional golfer might not be your calling!
As dark as it seems… Ask yourself, if you were to die in one year, how would you want to be remembered?
Okay, we know this might not be the most uplifting approach for discovering your purpose, but thinking about death actually motivates action! Asking yourself how you want to be remembered helps you focus in on what you truly love about life.
Thinking in this light can also motivate a drive to better the world. One common value among people who live a long time is their contribution to the greater good (including practicing sustainability and volunteering), which is also shown to help people live longer and more fulfilling lives. Whether or not your sense of purpose comes from helping people or the planet, simply recognizing how you want to be remembered is a step in the right direction to discover your purpose.
We were all put in this world for one reason- to live! So might as well be present for the journey, eh? No matter if you discover your purpose today, tomorrow, or 20 years from now, don’t waste a single second of that time not living. If you’re frustrated and sitting in traffic, take a breath and look at the scenery around you, if you see your significant other every single day, try noticing something new that you appreciate about them, or if you’re presented with an exciting opportunity that seems scary at first, consider it might be just what you need. Enjoy the little things and make the absolute most of the beautiful life you were given.
We’ve noticed how much happier, full of life, and healthier people are who recognize their purpose. We encourage you to stay in touch with your goals, passions, and the world around you. By doing so, your purpose will follow naturally and you might even elongate your wonderful, purposeful life!