Do you wake up every morning with excitement for your workday ahead? Do you get anxious at the end of a long vacation because you don't have anything meaningful to get back to? Do you have a clear sense of what your path is and what it takes to get there? If you don't, it turns out you're not alone. A groundbreaking study by William Damon, author of The Path to Purpose, suggests that as much as 80% of young adults today are struggling to find a life pursuit that inspires them.
Meanwhile, new research suggests that people who wake up with a sense of determination may in fact be happier. According to Business Insider, those who feel that they've found their purpose live longer, healthier, and happier lives. People who have a high sense of purpose in life also lower their risk of stroke, spend less time in hospitals, and are less likely to experience depression. While fear and indecisiveness may be holding you back, you have everything to gain by starting to actively pursue your life's purpose today. Don't be alarmed: A few high profile names didn't pursue their passion until later in life either. We can help you get there. Follow these science-based steps to discover how to lead a more meaningful life.
The first step to figuring out your purpose is to pinpoint what makes you happy on a daily basis, and what drains your energy. Do you get energized by a good sweat session? Are you inspired by cooking? Each night for a week, set aside 10 minutes before you to go to sleep to do some reflecting. Write down which activities from your day were life-giving and which were life-draining.
Once you've figured out what brings you joy and what doesn't, jot down a few ideas on how you can get more of the former and less of the latter. Can you delegate the tasks that feel draining to you? Can you take up a class to hone your skills in what you are passionate about?
At the week’s end, reread your notes and reflect on the positive changes you’ve been attempting to make in your life. You can repeat this step weekly as many times as you want—it will help you redefine your purpose and set your intentions for the years to come.
Don’t just think—actively try to do the things that are appealing to you, and avoid the things that are not. This is not meant to be an instant solution, but more of a work in progress. Start taking to steps to live a more purposeful life and you'll find that it will soon become second nature.
Not everything in life has to be challenging, so don't force the things that don't feel natural to you or that you're not great at. Are you a computer whiz? Find a way to connect your passion with your knowledge of computers. Aligning passion and skill is an easy way to find a meaningful life purpose.
Imagine the end. Picture yourself as an old person looking back over your entire life. What brought you the most happiness? How have you lived your life? Paint a clear picture of how you envision the future. After all, if you don't know where you're going, how are you going to get there?