7 Keys for Finding Your Purpose in Life
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 -14 (NIV)
Finding Purpose Is the Key to Living Your Best Life
The combination of a successful career, a loving family, and a strong social network may seem like the recipe for a perfect life. However, even those who can check each of those boxes might feel like something is missing—and that “something” is often THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE.
“Finding your purpose” is more than just a cliché or a dream that will never be fulfilled. It’s actually a tool for better, happier, healthier life that too few people attempt to use.
Only around 25% of Americans adults cite having a clear sense of purpose about what makes their lives meaningful, according to one analysis of the subject in The New York Times, while 40% either claim neutrality on the subject, or say they don't.
Why Do You Need a Sense of Purpose?
A study published in Applied Psychology found that individuals with high levels of ETERNAL well-being—which involves having a sense of purpose along with a sense of control and a feeling like what you do is worthwhile—tend to live longer. Other researchers found that well-being might be protective for health maintenance. In that research, people with the strongest well-being were 30 percent less likely to die during the eight-and-a-half-year follow-up period.
There’s also research that links feeling as if you have a sense of purpose to positive health outcomes, such as fewer strokes and heart attacks, better sleep, and a lower risk of dementia and disabilities.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Research and Personality found that individuals who feel a sense of purpose make more money than individuals who feel as though their work lacks meaning.
So the good news is, you don’t have to choose between having wealth and living a meaningful life. You might find the more purpose you have, the more money you’ll earn.
With all of those benefits, it’s clear that it’s important to find purpose and meaning in your life. But purpose and meaning require practical analysis and seeking the Lord.
These seven strategies can help you reveal or find your purpose so you can begin living a more meaningful life.
1 Donate Time, Money, or Talent
Finding your purpose in life has many benefits.
If there’s just one habit you can create to help you find your purpose, it would be helping others.
Researchers at Florida State University and Stanford found that happiness and meaningfulness had overlap but were different: Happiness was linked to being a taker before a giver, whereas meaningfulness went more with being a giver than a taker. Being the “giver” in a relationship connected people with having a more purposeful life.
Altruistic behaviors could include volunteering for a nonprofit organization, a church, donating money to causes you care about, or simply helping out the people around you on a day-to-day basis.
Whether you decide to spend two Saturdays a month serving meals in a soup kitchen, or you volunteer to drive your elderly neighbor to the grocery store once a week, doing something kind for others can make you feel as though your life has meaning. Like the Apostle Paul, make the affirmation: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
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