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Published on September 29, 2020

How to Find a Sense of Purpose to Live a Full Life

How to Find a Sense of Purpose to Live a Full Life

A satisfactory life is a “full” life. To achieve a full life, you need to have the right sense of purpose. There’s no “one purpose fits all.” You have to first understand the true meaning of having a sense of purpose, its importance, and the way to find it.

What Is a Sense of Purpose?

A sense of purpose is whatever you believe in. It is your driving force, your motivation, and your guiding light to work towards a life that you think will satisfy you.

Your life’s purpose is very closely linked to your sense of purpose. The only difference is that you only have one purpose in your life. But a sense of purpose is different for all aspects of life. Although, they are all aligned.

Your sense of purpose is what pushes you to achieve your goals. It is completely personal to your lifestyle and preferences. It is what keeps you on the right track in all aspects of life. So, a clear purpose will help you plan your career goals effectively. Similarly, a different sense of purpose for your relationships will encourage you to maintain your relationships accordingly.

While keeping things coherent, different purposes in different aspects of life also maintain a clear distinction among them. If you have completely different work ethics than how you plan to be with your family, your defined purposes will help you maintain the line.

Your beliefs and values play a huge role in determining your sense of purpose as well.[1] If you have clear values in the early stages of your life, you might have a clear sense of purpose at a young age. There is no age limit to when you find a purpose. Some people only get to it after most of their life has passed.

How to Find a Sense of Purpose?

To get the most out of your life and increase your potential, you need to start by finding a sense of purpose. It’s a process that is worth every minute you spend looking for it.

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You need to start with a general purpose at first. This is a broader sense of direction for your life in general. A life purpose is what you need to define foremost. This will allow you to keep everything else aligned with this broad purpose for coherence in your life.

For example, if your general life purpose is to be more at peace, you’ll work in each aspect of life to find a calm outcome. You’ll want to have good relations with your family. Career-wise, you’ll want something that promotes your mental health instead of deteriorating it. A steady source of wealth will also be a vital part of your goals and hence, it will translate to your purpose as well.

After that, you tackle all life aspects one by one. Here are the life aspects that you should go through:

  • Physical Health
  • Relationships, Family, and Social Life
  • Work and Career
  • Wealth and Money
  • Spiritual Wellness
  • Mental Strength

In each of these aspects, you need to look beyond what’s apparent. To find the true purpose in each regard, you have to look for the hidden opportunities so that you can identify your true driving force.

After that, you should invest your time and energy in this direction to reap good results. To do so, you can implement the following methods that will ease the whole journey for you.

1. Incorporate the 5 Whys

The 5 whys are a self-interrogatory technique. They play a very effective role when it comes to discovering your sense of purpose. The 5 whys ensure that whatever you end up finalizing is coherent with your intent.

With the help of the 5 whys, you can find all the answers that you’re looking for. The best part is that you’re the only one involved in the process so everything you end up finding out it 100% true to you. This is why it is a great method to use if you want to find a sense of purpose that will stick with you for life.

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This technique will get you on track towards the direction where you’ll find your purpose. In fact, this is the step where you’ll do most of the work. The rest of the steps are just ways to strengthen what you’ve got in mind.

2. Listen to Yourself

Your mind is very likely to tell you your purpose on its own. All you’ve got to do is listen to yourself. One easy way to do so is to consciously shift your focus to what’s on your mind.

Every morning when you wake up, what are the things that you think of first? Similarly, what are the thoughts that go through your mind before you go to sleep? Or when you randomly drift into a thinking spree during work?

All these thoughts are your mind’s way to communicate with you. Find what’s common in them to give yourself a direction to work in.

3. Meditate

Meditation is not only a great way to organize your thoughts, but it is also a source of encouragement for your mind to define a sense of purpose.[2]

Even a 5-minute session squeezed in your morning or evening routine is enough. It gives your mind the space it needs to get your mental processes in order. Once that is done, you’ll find it way easier to understand them. Extracting meaning out of what seemed senseless previously will be a piece of cake with the help of meditation. However, you’ll have to be consistent.

4. Distinguish the Do’s From Don’ts

Sit down and make a list of what you want to do in life versus what you would never want to do. Be as broad or narrow as you want. Pinpoint all the details of everything you want to steer clear from. These are the things your purpose will be far in nature from. On the contrary, your sense of purpose will be closely related to the things that you are naturally inclined towards.

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With a picture in mind of the dos and don’ts clarified, it will be easier for your mind to establish an idea that suits your life choices.

How to Strengthen Your Sense of Purpose

If you follow these steps to find your sense of purpose, it will be strong enough to stay consistent for life. However, there is a chance that while your purpose was clear at first, you’ve been feeling lost now.

This isn’t something to fret over. The ups and downs in life can shake your circumstances and your purpose too. You can easily re-focus your perspective on your well-defined purpose. You can also find a new purpose that suits your new circumstances.

If it happens to be so, don’t feel like you’ve failed in life. It is alright if you lose your emphasis during challenging times.

Re-Evaluate Your Life

Start with reminding yourself of the sense of purpose you were following previously. Think about it. Think of how it affected your life and decisions. This isn’t an easy thought process. It will take you days or even weeks to come to a conclusion.

You’ll have to go through your desired achievements, short-term and long-term goals, and most importantly, your past. Evaluate all these facts of your life.

Then, question yourself to find out if the same purpose still aligns with your life choices or not.

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If Yes

If the answer to the question is yes, your sense of purpose is perfectly fine. All that you need is some motivation to put it into practical implementation. You need to remind yourself of all the benefits of having a clear sense of purpose.

Everything that you achieved because of your sense of purpose, everything that you wish to achieve will serve as your source of motivation. You can also try some other motivation boosting tips to refocus your perspective.

If No

If you think your sense of purpose has done you no good or will no longer be of any use, you require a new sense of purpose. This is possible in case you went through major changes in life. Your sense of purpose can also get hazy if you failed to define a strong one initially.

Final Thoughts

Having a sense of purpose is a fool-proof way to a fully satisfactory life. It leads to ease in prioritization, strengthens morals and values, aligns all your life goals, and helps you stay focused. The clarity in life is only possible if you have your sense of purpose sorted.

So, get on with the process right away. You’ll have a sorted life in no time once you’re done with defining your purposes in all aspects of life!

More About Finding Your Sense of Purpose

Featured photo credit: Ilya Shishikhin via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Beyond Blue: Sense of Purpose
[2] Intentional Insights: Meditating on Purpose

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 16, 2020

12 Ways to Get Back on Track When Things Don’t Work Out

12 Ways to Get Back on Track When Things Don’t Work Out

Life can be complicated. A few months ago, you felt like you were being extremely productive. You would visit the gym regularly, stick to your healthy eating habits, make achievements at your workplace, and were even getting quality sleep each night. You felt motivated enough to take on any task that came your way and even executed it to perfection.

But all of a sudden, everything is dull and bleak. You got too tired of the hectic schedule and you slipped, making you go down a rabbit hole of demotivation and procrastination. Maybe you suffered from the loss of a relationship, an illness, an injury, or a significant setback. Now, you only find yourself thinking negatively because you feel as though all the progress you had made is now ruined.

However, when things don’t work out, there are things you could do to get your life back on track. Many religions and traditions state that in the end, you will be happy. If you aren’t happy, then it is not the end.

But how does one find the motivation to start all over again when things don’t work out? Simple: you go back to the basics.

What Is Control?

When things don’t work out, the first thought that comes to mind is how to begin from scratch. But before you start figuring that out, it is important to know what control is.

Does control mean having a good work-life balance? Or does control refer to being a quick decision-maker?

The thing is that control can be subjective. Having ‘control’ over your life is important, but it may not always mean the same thing for two different people.

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Taking control of your life means that you are self-aware and confident enough to embark on new journeys. This control allows you to feel motivated enough to believe that if you invest your hard work into something, you will reap great results.

While it is impossible to control all the external factors around you, it is possible to control how you feel about them. Taking control of your life begins with your thoughts and emotions—internal factors—which later translate into controlling your surroundings or external factors as well.

When things don’t work out according to plan, we feel as if everything is out of control. To avoid this, we must remember that taking control is a choice that we make for ourselves and that we can exercise that control over our lives whenever and however we wish.

12 Ways of Gaining Control When Things Don’t Work Out

So, what do you do when things don’t work out and you feel as though you have lost control? You gain it back.

Here are 12 simple ways you can get your life back on track.

1. Reflect Upon Yourself

A thorough life audit can clear your perspective. Since it enables you to focus on each area of your life separately, it gives you a better picture of where you stand at the moment. While you reflect upon your life, remember to include aspects such as your career, relationships, family, psychological and physical health, fitness, and overall motivation. This gives you more clarity regarding where you are and where you want to be in the future.

While you could carry out this reflection yourself, there are also many tools available to aid you in this life audit process. The Wheel of Life focuses on a diagram method to evaluate your life, but there are also multiple different lists of questions available to assess your situation.

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2. Identify the Cause of Failure

You had your life on right on track—then what happened? Before you restart your pursuit of motivation and productivity, you must identify the cause of what led to your downfall in the first place. This serves as an extremely important factor in the healing process, especially to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

If you dig deep enough, you will find that some common triggers led to your spiral of negativity. Once you reflect on these triggers and what causes them, avoiding them becomes much easier. This way, you can easily get your life back on track when things don’t work out perfectly.

3. Be Confident

Confidence is the key to your success, especially when it comes to having control over your life. While showing up for work every day is important, showing up to achieve something is much more important.

When things don’t work out perfectly and continue to spread far beyond your control, it can be because of your lack of physical and mental confidence. To regain your confidence, think about the things that provide you with the most confidence and engage in habits that correlate to that. For instance, if you feel confident when you are physically healthy, go to the gym to retain your fitness.

4. De-Clutter

For a clear mind, you must have a clear plan. On average, every individual has around 70,000 thoughts per day. While it is impossible to keep a close record of every single one, it is highly recommended to list down some of the thoughts that are most important to you.

This may be a thought about cooking pasta for dinner tomorrow or that work meeting you have been constantly rescheduling. Maybe it is a project idea you had right before you went to sleep, or maybe it is about that old friend that you thought of while you sip your coffee.

This method of brain dumping will help you bring important ideas and tasks onto paper while making room for your mind to focus on each item individually.

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5. Condition Your Mind

When things don’t work out, you may think that you need to start building your good habits back again from scratch. However, that is not true. There are many habits and routines that one follows subconsciously—and you can easily make use of your current habits to restart different sorts of healthy behavior to gain control over your life again.

For instance, if your current routine is to come home from work, change into comfortable clothing, and watch Netflix—you can use that to condition your brain into a new habit. By changing into workout clothes instead, you may be motivated enough to head to the gym before getting to that TV series.

6. Start From Little Things

Each droplet makes an ocean. When things don’t work out optimally in life, remember that you still have control over the tiny little things that are around you. This could be as insignificant as organizing your drawer or cleaning your house—but it will surely help you regain control over your life. Remember that even tiny things can accumulate into massive life-changing momentum.

7. Be Patient

When things don’t work out, it can be very tempting to get back on track as soon as possible. As a result, you may find yourself rushing through everything and trying to do too much too fast. However, it is time to slow down and be patient with yourself. If you have lost control over your diet, it is easier to get back on track by starting to track calories again instead of meal prep and strict diets.

8. Remember Your Purpose

Self-awareness is necessary. To regain control over your life after you have slipped once, you need to take a step back and reflect upon the purpose of why you wanted control in the first place. Even in the harshest of weather, trees still stand still. This is because they have strong roots—or a strong purpose.

Magical sayings are essential for reminding yourself that even if you don’t know how what you’re hoping for will appear in your life, everything is possible—something that can be easily forgotten when things are not working out.

When things don’t work out perfectly, go back to finding your purpose and why you started. Let that bring you back to gaining control over your life.

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9. Time Management

This is an important life skill that takes years to master but is necessary for getting your life back on track. One of the possible reasons why you slipped in the first place could be because you were too overwhelmed by your surroundings. If there are too many things on your mind at once, you are subject to a mental breakdown sooner or later.

To avoid that, you need to focus on managing your time more efficiently and stressing yourself out less. While it is okay to engage in multiple projects, remember to be moderate with rationing your time, and be responsible enough to keep some time for your self as well.

10. Create Healthy Boundaries

Regaining control over your life requires you to prioritize the things that are most important to you and discarding the few that only stress you out. To do this effectively, it is recommended to set healthy boundaries around yourself that help you focus solely on the important things in life.

11. Breathe

When things don’t work out, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. One of the easiest ways to relax is by taking a long walk and reconnecting with the outdoors. Don’t focus on your speed, distance, or surroundings—just breathe and focus on yourself for this moment.

12. Give Yourself Time

When things don’t work out and you spiral down that hole of negativity, you could be quick to start blaming yourself for everything. As a result, you may also feel pressured to get back on track immediately.

However, you need to give yourself time. Healthy routines are built through consistency and patience, constant reevaluations, and learning how to do things differently. Since this process may take time, you need to be kind to yourself.

Final Thoughts

While there is no single solution to getting your life back on track immediately, you should know that there are multiple smaller steps you can take towards achieving your ultimate goal. Just follow these 12 ways of gaining control when things don’t work out, and you will eventually feel the improvement in your quality of life. After all, having control over our lives is the key to feeling content.

What You Can Do When Things Don’t Work Out

Featured photo credit: Jamie Street via unsplash.com

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