Finding Your Purpose in Life: How to Accomplish This

Finding your purpose in life isn’t always that easy. Research, though, informs us that it helps us live longer and happier.

How can you find your own life purpose? In this post I’ll offer a sampling of opinions on ways to go about this. If any strategies catch your interest, you may want to click on the related sources for more details.

On his website Steve Pavlina advocates the following steps toward finding your purpose in life, calling it a “20-minute” exercise (while also acknowledging some will need longer):

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

Psychologist Douglas LaBier, PhD, Psychology Today, outlines five steps to “reveal your life’s purpose”:

  1. Back Off and Tune Inward—“By tuning your focus inward rather than seeking your purpose from something new ‘out there,’ you’re more likely to discover an inclination or leaning that’s always been inside you.” Look for what’s valuable in and of itself, not just for what you can get.
  2. Learn From Your Choices And Their Consequences—look more closely at your previous life experiences and what they can teach you.
  3. Get On The Path—“When you feel pulled towards some purpose more in synch with yourself, go after it with strong intent…”
  4. Stretch Yourself—“Create momentum towards your emerging sense of purpose by pushing yourself to stretch towards it. Create a vision of what it would look like. Imagine it’s like a powerful magnet that keeps pulling you along a path towards it. Identify what you can do each day that brings you closer.”
  5. Pursue It With Love—“The more you infuse your thoughts, emotions and behavior with life-affirming energy – love, kindness, compassion, generosity, justice – you keep your self-interest at bay, and you’re more able to find and achieve your true purpose.”

On Psychology Today Susan Biali also prescribes a few guidelines. Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do you love to do, that you would do even if you don’t get paid for it?
  2. What do other people say you’re really good at?
  3. What is the one thing you want to experience, or do, or accomplish, before you die, so that on your last day on earth you feel satisfied and have no regrets in that area?

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