Tips for Finding Your Life Purpose

What did you dream of becoming when you were young? Everyday life is noisy. You may be overwhelmed with the constant, everyday stream of urgent decisions but wish for a life that fulfills you. For many people, practical survival matters such as managing money, finding clients, and family needs can take up all of your energy, leaving room for little else at the end of the day.

However, survival is not enough. More and more, people are waking up to the need to manage their own well-being and create a meaningful life. Having purpose has been linked to both short-term and long-term health outcomes, including better sleep and reduced risk of heart disease and strokes. This was found to impact the longevity of those studied, but also the quality of life in young adults because they were actively engaged in their own lives.

In short, finding purpose in one’s life is a key driver to maintaining good health, and creating meaningful growth for yourself and those around you. In this blog, we walk through why finding purpose is important, how to get started, and how to get out of your own way on the journey.

What Is a Purposeful Life?

frustrated woman sitting at her computer

Developing a life purpose is more than setting a course for your own future. There is a strong consensus among psychologists that the search for purpose or meaning is an adaptive evolutionary trait in humans. For the individual, developing a purpose can translate to fostering community, strengthening bonds, and enriching the group as a whole. There have even been studies suggesting that purpose can reduce heart disease in older adults within a community.

Living according to your purpose means that you have an overarching goal that guides your decisions. This goal is based on your core values – the most important things in your life. For example, if you value creativity, you’re probably happiest with a life that encourages creativity in yourself and others. If you value family, you’ll likely want a career that doesn’t take you away from loved ones too often. A purposeful life considers these values in social interactions, family decisions, and careers. 

Why Is Finding Purpose Important?

Finding a sense of purpose is critical when developing a map for a career path or simply planning your best life. Defining a purpose is also a path entrepreneurs often find themselves on when defining their business’s focus. Without a strong sense of your core values, getting lost in the details can happen easily. A purpose keeps you laser-focused on your goals. Developing a purpose requires a degree of self-awareness, self-reflection, and discipline, all qualities that improve your relationships and career.  

Tips for Finding Your Life Purpose

If you’re tired of living a life that feels disconnected from who you always wanted to be, it may be time to include discovering your life purpose in your personal growth journey. 

Identify Your Core Values

Often, our life purpose ties into our core values. Your core values are the aspects of life you deem most important. There are many core values assessments available, but you don’t need any fancy tools. 

Simply journal about the life you want to live and see what themes emerge. Are your dreams focused on financial success, time freedom, family, creativity, philanthropy, nature, or something else? The categories that appear most often are your core values. 

Practice Self-Reflection 

It’s easy to miss the little voice inside yourself that tells you to move forward through the complicated mess of everyday life. That voice is there to guide you toward your life purpose. Society pulls us away from it. Pushing through that noise, using self-reflection, and asking for guidance are crucial to developing the core values that will shape the path you’re meant to be on.

However, if you learn to take a deep breath, quiet your mind, and ask the right questions, you may discover that you are sitting on gold. Learning to work through the obstacles step-by-step between yourself and where you need to go is the first step to breaking out of your comfort zone. Being able to do so is part of a lifelong journey to create meaning for yourself and others. Some questions to ask yourself about your home life, career, and relationships include: 

  • How do I feel about my life now? What thoughts do I have that reinforce those feelings? 
  • What led me to the place I am now? 
  • How do I want to feel in my life and relationships? 
  • How do I want to think about my life and relationships? 
  • How do I want to behave in my life and relationships? 

Learning to get quiet often starts with meditation, but don’t worry if sitting cross-legged on the floor isn’t your thing. You can meditate while driving or taking a walk. Many people say their best ideas come to them in the shower. The point is to ignore what others are saying and let your mind wander to all the possibilities for your life. If this sounds like daydreaming – you’re on to something. When you were a child, you daydreamed without boundaries. That is when you are most connected to your purpose. 

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

man thinking

Getting out of your comfort zone can be hard. You may find yourself coming up with all kinds of reasons (financial, time constraints, interpersonal) why changing your life with a sense of purpose is not the right call for you right now.

By confronting these issues one at a time, we often find that our support networks can, in fact, make room for developing your goals. Remember, finding purpose brings value to those around you. Developing the best life for yourself will likely bring others to do the same for themselves in your wake. Furthermore, bringing others into the process can bolster your courage to change your life and create new pathways for growth.

For instance: is a training course toward getting a professional license too costly, or perhaps takes up too much time in your busy schedule? Working out a payment plan and leaning on others to manage your workload can be simple solutions. Instead of focusing on the problems, if you simply ask what needs to be done, you can find a solution,

It’s easy to let fear get in the way of moving forward – fear of failure or of letting other urgent things slip. But you can’t change your life if you keep it the same. Stretching outside your comfort zone is vital to reconnect to your life purpose. 

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Here’s the thing about fear of the unknown. It doesn’t go away.

However, as you start working through the steps of developing a life purpose, you create a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that no matter where you are right now, you can learn to become the person you want to be. With the right tools and support, you can overcome any knowledge gaps that stand in the way of building your dream life. 

Building a meaningful life around your core values nurtures your mental health and empowers you to keep going. The empowerment that comes from the knowledge you gain along the way is bigger than any fear. 

Stay On the Path, and Change Your Life

Committing to changing your life won’t produce overnight results. It requires self-reflection, self-awareness, and the drive to take control of your own life. Finding purpose is an incremental process. Once you internalize that you have a great purpose in life, you can let that purpose guide your destiny.

woman sitting and thinking

A mental health professional can help you to identify the first step of the ladder to your dreams, desires, and purpose. Using evidence-based strategies, the clinicians at SMPsychotherapy can help you tune out the noise and pressure from family and society and determine your true purpose in life. They can also help to identify people who can support you and resources you can learn from. If you’re interested in exploring your life purpose with a therapist at SMPsychotherapy, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Want more? 

For more about finding your life purpose through incremental change, read Unbreakable by Soribel Martinez, LCSW, CEO of SMPsychotherapy and Counseling Services. The book releases in Spring 2023. It’s a story of one woman’s journey through adversity and how you can use her principles to build the life of your dreams. Book on pre-sale now!

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