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Last Updated on October 2, 2018

How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

Some mornings, you may feel that there’s something deeper you could be a part of. You feel the pull towards something but you can’t exactly pin it down—it eludes you and frustrates you.

“What is my purpose in life?” You wonder.

You might have heard stories from writers or musicians who have felt their calling their entire lives; the Mozarts of the world who have pursued their passions from the moment they were out of the womb. Deep down you wish you had this “knowing” to pull you forward.

Frankly, you do: all it takes is a little digging to uncover the truth.

Think of uncovering your passion like the work of a master sculptor, slowly chipping away the stone to reveal the masterpiece underneath. Your life’s purpose is this masterpiece, simply lurking beneath the surface waiting to be released.

The fastest way about how to find purpose in life is through the art of introspection: diving into the deeper essences of who you are to pull out the pieces to assemble the purpose puzzle.

Think of your life’s purpose as a golden thread; for some, that thread comes in the form of a certain career or profession, while for others it looks like a way of being or expression.

Let’s use the analogy of an epic quest across the ocean to take you on your journey of uncovering your sense of purpose.

Why you want this in the first place?

Ultimately you’re trying to improve your life and live a meaningful life. You want more zest, more flavor, more fullness. In the strictest sense you want to become a better person. You want to wake up in the morning excited, jumping out of bed with a thirst for life that you haven’t felt since you were a child.

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Your purpose can be the driving force of this. Your purpose can be your connection to something larger, something that will allow you to make your mark on the world, to truly make a difference. Still, your WHY might be different. Before we even leave solid ground you need this as your anchor, just in case things get a little foggy. To find it just answer this question:

Why do you want to find your purpose in life?

Write down or remember whatever comes up. It might be some of the above reasons or it might be something entirely different. Whatever it is cherish it, nothing is too far left field.

The tools for your journey

Before any great adventure, you want to make sure your tools and supplies are in working order. For this quest the tools are simple: You’ll need a pen and piece of paper, a working memory, and the drive to uncover what you set out to find. That’s it—you’re ready to set off.

Before we go, there are a few things you’ll need to embrace beforehand. Think of these items as the underlying code of conduct for your journey.

  1. I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
  2. I know my purpose might not be directly obvious, but I will put in the time to find it.
  3. I believe finding my purpose is entirely possible.
  4. I know that finding my life’s purpose may lead to some drastic (positive) changes.
  5. I know that finding my life’s purpose will leave me with the power to shape my own destiny.

Once you’ve let the above affirmations settle, you’re ready to free your ship from the dock and set sail. Your tools are sharpened and your mind is prepped: congratulations! You’ve come farther than most people ever do.

Slaying the inner dragons

When you first set sail into uncharted waters there will be an initial resistance; a pervading fear, a fear of the unknown. If you feel this, great: you’re human.

The first dragon you might face will likely be your internal beliefs. They might try to stop you in your tracks, or tell you you’re crazy for trying to find your purpose in the first place. They might say harsh things like “you don’t deserve to have a purpose”, or “you’ll never find what you’re looking for”. What you have to know is that this inner dialogue isn’t true—it’s more afraid than you are. Its main goal is to keep you comfortable.

To combat your inner dialogue you have to first realize it’s happening. When you start to actually pay attention to the thoughts as they’re spiralling  then they lose their power. They get their evil force by operating below the scenes, so when you shine a spotlight of awareness upon them they lose their control over you.

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Once you’re familiar with these inner dragons it will be easier to slay them.

Next, you have to swing your sword of action. The best way to stop these beliefs from stopping your journey before it begins is to study them. To know them inside and out, and to act in spite of them when they occur. That way you build power: true soul-baring force.

Try this on for size: When you’ve come across a belief that is threatening to stop your journey, take a breath and look it square in the eye, then act anyway. You’ll know what actions to take after the next section, so hold tight. Just know that you’re going to act in spite.

This will teach you to develop your courage muscle, and its heart-centered courage will give you something to lean on throughout your uncertain quest.

To re-cap, when a limiting belief comes your way like “I don’t deserve to know my purpose” you’ll first shine your light of awareness on the belief, look it square in the face, then take action right over it.

Questions for the great dig

Now that you know why you’re doing this and how to overcome any hurdle, you’re ready for the turbulent seas. You’re preparation is done, the shore is now out of sight. All that remains is you and the seas of your soul.

Get ready to dive deep. Keep in mind that we’re going to analyze common threads in your life and the deep desires you have currently to give you a one two punch to finding your purpose.

Step one, the soul-baring questions:

If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?

What would your perfect day look like? Describe every detail.

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What activities set your soul on fire?

What do you love to do?

These should be enough to get you going. Don’t be afraid to dive deep with these questions, and write down whatever comes to mind.

Make sure you create some space to ponder these questions. Nothing is too outlandish, so do your best to turn off your mental filter. The best answers will come when you can turn off your self-judgement.

Once you have these answers in hand, we’re going to take a little stroll back into your memory to dig up some more answers.

When you’re a child, your life experience is more freeing, playful, and alive. Your whims direct your life and you’re more plugged into a deeper current. At this stage in your life, the outside world hasn’t shaped you dreams yet, you have direct access to your passions and purposes.

We all had things we loved to do as kids but ended up giving them up for the sake of practicality. What we’re going to do here is take a stroll through your memory banks and try to gain some glimpses of this childhood wisdom.

Step two, connect with your inner child:

What brought you immense joy as a kid?

What were you doing when you lost track of time?

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What did your parents have to drag you away from?

What did you love deep down before the world told you to get practical?

Once again, keep your mind in an open place. If you’re having trouble, it may help to look at a picture of yourself when you were younger, or grab an old stuffed animal or other item that sends you back into the memory banks.

Write to your heart’s contenteven use crayons if you have to!

Building your golden thread

Now that you’ve braved the epic seas, the other shoreline is in sight. The last stretch of the journey is to string all the bits of randomness together and find the common themes. The digging is done—great work.

Your job now is to take a hard look at all your answers, and see if you can pull out any common ideas that are in both lists.

Maybe you’ve wanted be a writer since you were a child, and committing words to a page every day really sets your soul on fire. There’s a good chance that writing may be involved in your life’s purpose.

Maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the stars and the cosmos, reading textbooks on the subject in your spare time, and you’ve always had a deep connection to spending time outdoors. You could combine this into an excursion where you lead groups of people into the wild to stargaze and contemplate their place in the universe.

Let your creativity reign, and don’t fret if you can’t make a connection right away. Sometimes, it helps to sleep on it and let your subconscious work on the solution for you.

If you’ve done the work, then you’re on your way to finding your life’s purpose. When it’s there, you’ll feel it deep down in your bones.

Featured photo credit: Burst via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kevin Wood

Poet and Writer

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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