What does it mean to have a purpose in life? If you’ve never really thought about it, chances are you feel your purpose is to pick up the dry cleaning on your way home from work and then make dinner and then do the laundry and repeat it all again tomorrow. Sometimes life goes on autopilot, but those are the times we need to reconnect with ourselves most. People who have a strong sense of purpose in life live longer, healthier lives than those of us who just go on autopilot day in and day out. The good news is that a sense of purpose is something you can cultivate, starting today, with no special tools or equipment needed.
It’s important to cultivate a sense of purpose in multiple areas of your life so that when one area changes it doesn’t drive away your entire sense of purpose. For many people, their families provide a major sense of purpose. While strengthening those familial relationships is important, it’s equally important to cultivate purpose elsewhere as well. Religion gives many people a strong sense of purpose, but this is another area where you can’t leave all your eggs in one basket. Other interpersonal relationships outside of your family and your religion are just as important to cultivate in order to give yourself a strong sense of purpose in life.
Hobbies and education are two of the best ways to cultivate a strong sense of purpose in your life. A love of lifelong learning can take you more places than you can imagine, and it can help you meet new people while opening up your life to possibilities you never knew existed. Hobbies can also help you to meet new people and deepen your commitment to something outside of your job, your family, and your religion.
For many, a career is probably the single biggest thing in which they intertwine their sense of purpose. Building a career can be rewarding, but there are also setbacks. Take caution when you feel yourself wrapping up your entire identity in your career accomplishments – when there are setbacks it can make you feel aimless, or when it’s time for retirement you may feel that you have lost your sense of purpose entirely.
People who have a strong sense of purpose experience a 15% lower risk of premature death. Sometimes cultivating your sense of purpose means you have to overcome a difficult past and reprogram your brain to be able to move forward with optimism. Setting goals and then working to meet them can actually prolong your life, and it’s something you can start working toward at any age.
Creativity, introspection, and education are the basis for all forms of purpose. Meditating, yoga, reading, and art can all add significantly to your life. It doesn’t matter whether you are interested in scrabble, quilting, ceramics, barbecuing, woodworking, or hiking, find something that adds meaning to your life and go all in.
Learn more about cultivating a strong sense of purpose in your life from the infographic below!