The concept of finding your life purpose can be incredibly daunting. Everyone has talents and passions they can transform into success, but the task of figuring out exactly what those are can take some work, both physically and emotionally. To find your life’s purpose, you’re going to have to start small - it’s not just going to come to you overnight. In this article, we’ll give you tips to help you find your purpose in life, and break down the process so it isn’t so overwhelming. Everyone has something in life that they were born to do, and now is the perfect time to take the initiative and find it.
What is a life’s purpose?
The idea of a life’s purpose is a complicated one. For many people, it ties into their ideas of religion and spirituality, but it definitely doesn’t have to. It’s the driving force behind your life, both the thing that makes you feel fulfilled and the thing that helps you bring value to the world in some way. Those who are spiritual often think about it as the thing they were put on Earth to do. Many people try to make their life’s purpose their job, but it can also be something you do outside of work to feel fulfilled and bring value to the world. It’s also very important to remember that you can have more than one purpose in life, or that your purpose in life can change as you get older.
Curb your expectations
Many of us have this grandiose idea about our life purposes, thinking that our life purpose is supposed to change the world, or at the very least, completely change the circumstances of our life. And while this can happen when you find your purpose in life, it doesn’t always happen. You can find fulfillment in what you’re doing without making huge changes to your life. A lot of the time, these big expectations are actually holding us back from finding the things that fulfill us the most. The first step to finding your life purpose is opening your mind and recognizing that things don’t always go as planned.
Take a forward-thinking approach
While things definitely don’t always go as planned, you shouldn’t be avoiding making plans entirely. While there’s a lot of good that can come from living in the moment, if you live too much in the moment and never think about the future, it’s going to be difficult to move forward and find your life purpose. You don’t need to have your entire life planned out - but make sure you’re always thinking about general steps toward improvement.
Try new things
It might sound too simple, but sometimes the best way to find your life purpose is just to try something totally new. Your life purpose might become completely obvious to you once you find it, but it just hasn’t made its way onto your radar yet. Start by making a broad list of things that interest you - this could be absolutely anything as long as it sparks some excitement. Maybe you like playing with dogs, tinkering with your bike, or doodling when you feel stressed. Try taking a class, going to a local event, or working with a company that deals with your interests. The three things we just listed could turn into volunteering at the animal shelter, joining a local bike riding group, or taking an art class. Investing your free time into trying new things can have a big payoff later on.
Think about what comes easily to you
When talking about finding their life’s purpose, many people will tell you to focus on the things you enjoy. However, it’s equally important to think about the things you are good at. While there’s typically quite a bit of overlap between the things you are good at and the things you enjoy, there might be some things you are very good at that you’ve overlooked. For example, maybe you are incredibly organized, great at dealing with kids, or very athletic, but you don’t think about these things much as part of your daily life. Think about how you could combine these talents with the things you really enjoy. This will help you find the activities where you can make a difference in the lives of people around you.
Bounce ideas off of people you trust
Sometimes it helps to have another person’s perspective on an important issue, particularly when it comes to something as big as finding your life’s purpose. Sit down with your partner, a close friend, or family member to have a chat about the whole concept of finding motivation and purpose. While they can’t do the work for you, something they say might spark an idea that will get you going in the right direction. They can also give you some much needed encouragement to keep working towards your goals.
Journal about your goals and experiences
Consistent reflection is absolutely essential to finding your purpose in life. One of the best ways to ensure you are doing enough introspection is to make journaling a habit. You can use either a traditional pen and paper journal, type your thoughts out on the computer, or even use an app designed for journaling - whatever is going to make you most comfortable with journaling. Let your journal be a place where your thoughts can flow and you can express yourself - don’t try to force yourself to find your life purpose. Just write about what you’re thinking and feeling, and occasionally go back through and look at past journal entries. Seeing things written out on paper can help you see things much more clearly.
Revisit some of your best memories
Another strategy you can use to help you find your life’s purpose is to think about the things in life that have made you the happiest. Go back through your memories and think about times in your life that stick out as being your most fulfilling. What were you doing? Who were you spending time with? Where were you? These can all be clues that can lead you to your life’s purpose. You can also look at this with a forward thinking approach - think about what changes to your life would make you the happiest. It doesn’t matter how large or small these things are, because anything that makes you happy could be a key to your success in finding your life purpose.
Take care of yourself
If you are feeling worn down and overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in your life, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to make progress towards finding your life’s purpose. You need to take the time to ensure that you are healthy both physically and mentally. This means things like getting enough sleep and eating properly, as well as making sure you have time to see loved ones, enjoy your hobbies, and just relax when you are feeling overwhelmed. You also shouldn’t be afraid to go see a therapist if you’re really struggling - or if you just feel like you could benefit from some extra guidance. A good therapist will not only help you feel less stressed out by your problems, but can also help you find the right path towards your purpose in life.
Think about which sacrifices you are and aren’t willing to make
Pursuing any new goal almost always comes with some sacrifices. So when you decide to find your life purpose, you need to be realistic with yourself about what changes you don’t mind making and which ones would just be too much. Sometimes the idea of starting a new project sounds exciting, but once you realize the work that goes into it, the appeal goes away - and that’s okay. When you find your true life purpose, you will be willing to make the necessary sacrifices for it to happen.
Make a conscious change
If you want to find your life purpose, it’s important to actively take steps towards a better life, instead of just thinking about it. There are going to be times when you need to change your environment in order for your circumstances to get better and for you to find your life’s purpose. Sometimes switching up your environment can trigger new ideas and even newfound passions. For example, if you feel like the place you live is holding you back, take steps to move to a new neighborhood or even a new city. If you feel beholden to friends, family, or even romantic partners who are holding you back, start taking steps to be more independent and minimize their role in your life, and put more energy into finding relationships that are supportive and nurturing for both parties. If you feel like your job is limiting your personal progress, it may be time to start looking at openings and test out other options. These are just a few of the ways you can start making changes - there are so many different ways you can go about improving your situation.
Put the phone down
In our current society, we are completely inundated with technology in a way that can be incredibly overwhelming at times. And while the internet is full of helpful resources, we sometimes use it as an excuse to avoid taking real-life steps towards our goals. Instead of just endlessly Googling, looking for more information, try putting your phone away and talking to the people around you. In many cases, it’s our relationships with others that drive us to find our life’s purpose, and it’s difficult to build these relationships when we are too wrapped up in our phones. Challenge yourself to spend more time without technology and enjoying the company of other people. You can also use this as an opportunity to be really cognizant of your surroundings, which can be very stimulating and help you come up with new ideas.
Go back to your childhood goals
We all have grandiose goals and dreams as a child. It’s totally normal to dream big when you’re young, but as we get older, we often let the realities of life deter us from pursuing those dreams, deciding instead to pursue things that are more ‘realistic’ or ‘practical’. If you are struggling to find your life’s purpose, a good way to think about it is to go back to the things that you dreamed about when you were young. Sure, you might not be able to be an astronaut or a professional athlete now, but you can translate those passions into something incredibly fulfilling as an adult. Your love of space might lead you to work in science, and those dreams of playing basketball professionally could translate to coaching kids or promoting a healthy lifestyle. That little kid is still in there, and it’s worth thinking about what could make them happy.
Think about how you want to be remembered
Thinking about the bigger questions in life can feel overwhelming, and many of us like to avoid them for this reason. But forcing yourself to dive deep into your thoughts and feelings is essential if you want to find your life’s purpose. One of the best ways to do this is by thinking about how exactly you want to be remembered after your life is over. Do you want to be seen as kind and friendly, smart and determined, creative and funny? Now is the time to start working on applying those principles to your life. If you’re not already doing things that make you feel this way, now is the time to start. If you are doing things that have these values, hone in on them to see how you can translate them into a broader purpose.
Remember that finding your life’s purpose isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s something that’s going to take time and effort, and your thoughts and feelings about it may change as you age and continue learning. It’s important not to judge yourself - everyone makes their own progress towards finding purpose in life, and it’s okay to go at your own speed.