As we enter 2022, it’s helpful to take some time to decide on our purpose - for our life, not just for the year. Then, setting meaningful goals and creating a vision of how to achieve them can help ensure that we live our purpose and create a truly meaningful life.
Find your Purpose in Life
At the start of the year, it’s traditional to make New Year’s resolutions with goals to achieve during the next 12 months. While goals yield a sense of achievement and are essential to living the life you desire, renowned coach Tony Robbins observed, purpose takes those goals to an even higher level.
To get from New Year’s resolutions to figuring out your purpose in life will take reflection and a little time. Still, it can be more straightforward and faster than you might imagine.
Start by thinking about what brings you the most joy in your life, both at work and at home. As well-known coach Jack Canfield puts it, explore what you love to do, what comes easily to you, and what the world would look like if it were operating perfectly according to you. You can use this to figure out where your
Then, identify about five people you admire the most and the characteristics that make you value them. It could be the passion Tom Brady has for football, the caring nature of Mother Theresa, the dedication of your mother or father to their work or family, the creativity of Steve Jobs, the hope for nature of Jane Goodall, or someone else. When you reflect on the commonalities in the characteristics of these five people, you can figure out the key qualities that can help define your own purpose.
Next, decide where you add the greatest value and how you will measure your life. Deciding how you want to measure your life means making a stand for something, Forbes contributor Margie Warrell suggests, and then living your life in alignment with it. “Ultimately, living with purpose means focusing on things that matter most.”
Finally, use these steps to consolidate your insights and write your life purpose statement. The statement describes what you want to achieve and the direction for your life. It should be short, sometimes five words or less. It is also incredibly important, as it will guide what you do in life. Examples include:
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” – Oprah Winfrey
“To make people happy.” – Walt Disney
Follow your Purpose to Create a Meaningful Life
The first step in living your life according to your purpose is to create a plan to turn purpose into reality. To do that, take time to reflect on where you are in your work and your personal life, and where you want to go. This step will help you identify whether what you’re doing aligns with your purpose and whether to make changes.
If you need to make changes to align your work and personal life with your purpose, set goals for taking action. Then, turn those goals into clear steps with timelines for taking action to shift towards the work and personal life that reflects your purpose. Some steps can be small, such as talking with colleagues to improve your work relationships or volunteering with a conservation non-profit. Others can be so life-changing that they involve deliberate steps that take time, such as changing your career. One millennial left his job developing financial plans for the ultra-wealthy at a multinational bank after he realized it did not match his purpose, for instance, and joined a start-up delivery company so that he could focus on his purpose of helping blue collar workers gain the skills they need to succeed in their career.
As Jack Canfield puts it, “Once you know what your life purpose is, organize all of your activities around it. If an activity or goal doesn’t fit that formula, don’t work on it. You don’t need to overhaul your life completely all at once. Instead, start living your purpose a little more fully every day.”
If you need some assistance, there are a variety of resources. Designing Your Life by Stanford University Life Design lab co-founders Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, for instance, provides ideas and tools that people can use to design and build their way to a well-designed life that they love.
While creating a purpose statement and making changes to align your life with it may take some effort, it can be truly life-changing. Going beyond New Year’s resolutions to find your purpose and live it will enable you to lead a truly
Richard is the Managing Director of Transcarta and a freelance writer for Today, Challenge, The Asian Banker and other media, as well as corporate clients. He is also the author of Changing Lanes, Changing Lives. Richard is a consultant in retail banking, focusing on payments strategy and efficiency, with more than 20 years of experience in Asia.
Note: This article originally appeared in the Dec 21/Jan 22 issue of Living in Singapore magazine.