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We talk about a variety of things here on DGH, but a lot of it comes down to one common theme: how you can improve your sense of fulfillment in life.
Think about it, we’ve talked about:
And that’s only to name a few. The reason for developing good habits in the first place is so you can live a fulfilling and successful life–and only you can define that success.
While some people may see success as an early retirement to be able to spend time with their children, others may have no desire to have children and may perceive success as finding a way to create a career out of their hobby. Because different people are passionate about and find fulfillment in different things, success can be defined in many different ways.
You can think of your definition of success as your “why” in life. What is the end to all of these means? What ultimate outcome are you searching for and working toward? The answer to this can be found in your life purpose statement, which we are going to talk about today.
But first, let’s pause. When considering what the purpose of your life is, you may feel overwhelmed. You’ve got this one life to live and you don’t want to mess it up, so what are you supposed to be doing with it?
When you look at it like that, it certainly does feel overwhelming. You need to let go of the idea that you were born with one specific purpose to live out and you need to identify what that is in order to do yourself justice. The truth is, we all exist for however many years, during which, we spend our time doing some important and some unimportant things. The important things that we do help add meaning to our lives and make us happy, while the unimportant things really just help pass time.
So when defining your purpose, you’re really uncovering the ways in which you can spend your time that are ultimately important to you.
Thinking of it this way will do a few things for you. Not only will it take some pressure off, but it will also show you that you can have more than one life purpose statement–and your life purpose statement will likely change with time.
So whatever you end up with today isn’t set in stone for life. But, it will be a good motto to keep in mind for the time being as you’re making your daily/weekly/monthly schedule and prioritizing your life.
Let’s get started by looking at a definition of a life purpose statement and why you may want to write one. Then we will go over a step-by-step process that will guide you through creating your own. Finally, we will review 5 different examples of what a life purpose statement could look like.
What Is a Life Purpose Statement?
Far too often, we end up chasing after dreams, goals, and careers based on other people’s expectations of us. But when we focus our energy on things we’re not passionate about, we end up living a complacent, unfulfilling life without even really knowing why. There are very few things that are worse than going through years of hard and demanding work, going nowhere while pursuing the wrong goals.
Living your purpose is a critical part of achieving success and living a fulfilling life. Your purpose connects you to your mission for making your impact on the world and leaving it just a bit better than how you found it.
A life purpose statement is one that clarifies your reason for being and why you do what you do every day, helping to direct your decisions and priorities. After reading your statement, anyone should be able to explain back to you what the reasons are behind your actions and what goal(s) you hope to achieve during your lifetime.
Having a life purpose statement can benefit you because it can help you focus on your goals and change your outlook on life. While your everyday routine may remain the same after writing your life purpose statement, your attitude behind it and your sense of motivation can shift as your priorities become more clear.
Finding your motivation and channeling your energy into turning your dreams into a reality is easier when you have a specific and explicit statement that helps guide you by communicating what you want to achieve.
You may also begin to find more opportunities to live out your purpose in small, everyday moments that can help boost your confidence and motivation to succeed. So to start actualizing your long-term goals, consider crafting a life purpose statement. Let’s look at how you can do this.
How to Write a Life Purpose Statement in 4 Steps
1. Identify Your Strengths and Skills
While the terms are often used interchangeably, your strengths and your skills aren’t quite the same, and you want to identify both. Your strengths are your innate abilities that come naturally to you. You can use your strengths to your advantage and you can build upon these personal characteristics to increase your sense of accomplishment in life.
In fact, research has found that people who recognize and intentionally use their strengths in their everyday lives are happier and less depressed than those who do not.
Some examples of personal strengths are:
While your strengths exist within you, they’re also refined by your life experiences. For example, let’s say you were born with a knack for creativity. If you don’t find yourself in creative environments very often, this strength may not shine through.
On the other hand, with practice, you can cultivate strengths that don’t come naturally to you. Neuroscience has found that with enough practice, our brains can build new neural pathways throughout our lives that help us excel in new behaviors. And while it may take thousands of hours of practice, neuroplasticity and determination make it possible to develop and adjust your ingrained strengths.
Oftentimes, people are unaware of their strengths. If there’s something that you find to be easy, you may assume that it’s easy for everyone without recognizing it as a unique strength. You may not realize that something that comes naturally to you is a strength until you’ve taken some time to do some self-reflection or you’ve been exposed to situations in which the strength really worked to your advantage.
For example, you might not know that you’re very good at keeping things in perspective until you witness just how much someone else allows some of life’s minor, everyday inconveniences to negatively impact their attitude and wellbeing. And as you experience this more throughout life, you’re able to pinpoint your ability to cope and your refusal to allow minor setbacks to derail you as one of your strengths.
When it comes to your skills, unlike your strengths that may be part of your persona from day one, your skills refer to the expertise that you develop through education and experience. You can always learn new skills, which is important because some of the skills that you have today may be irrelevant in the future with evolving technology or simply due to your evolving interests.
When writing your life purpose statement, you need to be realistic about the skill set that may be required to have in order to be successful. And, if there are skills that you need that you don’t have yet, you will need to formulate a plan to cultivate them.
To write a truly effective life purpose statement, there needs to be some congruence between your strengths, skills, and purpose. Otherwise, you’ll experience conflict between what you’re trying to do and what comes naturally to you.
2. Identify Your Values and Passions
Your core values are the things in life that you refer to when determining your priorities, and they’re probably the factors you take into account when you’re doing a quick inventory on whether or not your life is going the way you had hoped.
When your actions and decisions align with your values, you’re probably pretty satisfied with your life. However, when there is conflict between your everyday routine and your values, you may start to feel discontent.
You have values, whether you recognize them or not. And knowing your values is a great way to help you make decisions that will make or keep you happy in the long run. For example, if you value lifelong learning and self-improvement, you probably won’t choose to spend a whole lot of your time sitting around watching reruns of old tv shows unless you’re stuck at home sick, as this is not an activity that will help you progress in life.
Or, if you don’t value a competitive working environment, you probably wouldn’t be satisfied with your job if you worked in an extremely competitive sales position.
It’s best to understand your values when planning your life in this way because it can help you make decisions that align with what’s important to you and what fulfills you and help you avoid getting into situations that don’t make you happy.
Your passions are a little more short-term than your values, in that these are the things in life that really interest you, you want to devote your time to, and you feel like you’re in your element while you’re engaging in them. Consider the following:
While your values aren’t likely to change too much throughout your life, your passions may change quite a bit with age and experience. However, if you’re disconnected from your passions, you will probably feel unfulfilled. So by identifying the things that motivate you at this point in your life, you can pinpoint ways that you can make some changes to increase your contentment by spending more time engaging in these activities.
When you identify your values and your passions, you’re one step closer to knowing your purpose, which will help you live an intentional life and set goals that are aligned with who you are.
When your strengths, skills, values, and passions all line up, you’ll live a life of purpose that will be fulfilling both in the short- and long-term. Alternatively, if your days are spent doing something that is not on a relevant path, you will not feel satisfied with life.
3. Determine Your Desired Result
When all is said and done, what do you want to be remembered for doing? What outcome do you want to produce from all of your passion and hardwork? What direction do you want your story to go?
Researchers studying the correlation of happiness, meaning, moods, relationships, health, etc., found that one’s sense of purpose in life generally comes from the act of giving to other people–while happiness derives from what other people give to you.
So what can you give to the world? What problem can you help fix? What difference can you make? The feeling of making a difference is critical to feeling a sense of fulfillment, as it will help you feel important, which equates to having a purpose.
4. Create a Draft
When you’re creating a draft of your life purpose statement, don’t overthink the process or your wording. Allow your thoughts to flow freely on paper as you’re drafting, knowing that you will come back later to clean it up and make your purpose statement more concise.
Write in the present tense and use an active tone. Rather than writing about things that you will avoid doing, focus on what you plan to experience and achieve starting today.
Getting your thoughts and first draft on paper will give you a launchpad for writing your life purpose statement, which shouldn’t end up being more than a sentence or two. Your final statement should be clear, concise, inspirational, and realistic.
Before you get to work, let’s take a look at some examples of life purpose statements that you can use to help guide you in writing your own.
Examples of a Life Purpose Statement
1. “My purpose is to become an expert in my career and add valuable contributions to the field. I hope to feel fulfilled with what I have accomplished when I retire.”
Many people find satisfaction through career success and their personal contribution to their field of practice. Having a career that fulfills your desire to do meaningful work will keep you intrinsically motivated to get up and get moving every day.
Finding purpose in your work may result from dedicating your life to something aside from just climbing the corporate ladder, which is how many professionals feel more content in a position where they can make some kind of unique contribution.
This is especially true in positions that focus on helping the community and those which are more oriented toward service than simply building the bottom line of the company. Finding purpose in your career comes from doing something that you’re passionate about instead of simply finding a way to clock in and out every day to earn a paycheck.
If your life purpose statement is centered around your career, consider what it is about your career that gives you such a deep sense of purpose. This way, you can make sure to not lose sight of this aspect of your career as time progresses.
2. “My purpose is to foster meaningful relationships with other people by loving unconditionally, practicing generosity, and always being open to form new friendships and connections.”
If you find satisfaction through your personal relationships, having a purpose statement like this may feel right to you. Research has found that the intensity and quality of people’s friendships is directly associated with life satisfaction. The more social integration that one has in their everyday life, the more satisfied they will be.
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that many people may revolve their life purpose statement around their relationships with other people.
3. “My purpose in life is to be a positive role model for others. I will empower younger generations to be independent, confident, and self-reliant through supportive individual and group activities.”
If you’re a great leader, you believe it is your purpose to inspire and motivate other people to become the best version of themselves. This life purpose statement likely resonates with people who care about and are hopeful for future generations.
Spending time helping our future leaders with their personal development is a very important task that many people could find meaning in doing. Being a mentor is a great way to not only improve the lives of other people, but to also set yourself up for a life filled with learning yourself as you meet and interact with new people and hear about other people’s experiences and struggles.
Working with people on a regular basis with whom you have no natural connection by offering guidance and support will help you continue to hone your leadership skills and self-growth as you help people figure out their best path forward.
4. “My purpose is to instill healthy eating and exercise habits in children to help protect the physical wellbeing of our population.”
Encouraging positive lifelong eating and exercise habits at a young age can help set children up for a healthy future. Children who give their bodies proper nutrition and plenty of exercise are building the foundation for healthy growth and development, leading to lifelong wellbeing. And these days, too many children aren’t receiving the proper nutrition or getting enough physical activity during the day, which is allowing the obesity epidemic in our country to continue.
The national prevalence of obesity in children lingers around 20%, which puts kids at risk for health complications once they get older. Those who are passionate about physical health and disease prevention may feel it’s their purpose to make a difference in this sector of society, which would make this an appropriate life purpose statement.
5. “My purpose in life is to motivate and inspire positive change through my writing.”
If you’re passionate about writing and communicating with people in this way, you may feel that your purpose is to make a statement and a difference in people’s lives through the written word. Whether this is by doing research and writing peer-reviewed publications to share your findings or you feel that you can be inspirational through more subjective writing, this purpose statement demonstrates exactly how one may want to make a difference in the world.
Final Thoughts on Writing a Life Purpose Statement
In summary, your life purpose statement will be unique to you–not catered toward the expectations of others. Your life purpose statement will guide your time and attention and help you determine what goals to set and how to spend your free time. By creating a life purpose statement, you will be able to understand yourself better to help you become the best version of you. (To learn more, check out our post on mission statements vs. goals.)
Follow the step-by-step process laid out in this article and use these examples as a guide to write your own statement. Display it somewhere that you can see it often to remind you of why you do what you do every day.
If you need more inspiration, check out our roundup of the the best Find Your Why worksheets to get started. You can also read this post on how to manifest something by writing it down if you are interested in law of attraction.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.