The new year is right around the corner, and so is the opportunity for a fresh start. For some, 2021 may look like finding better balance between their beliefs and how they live their life every day. Aligning your life with your purpose can result in greater satisfaction at work and home because you’re focusing on the things in life you believe to be most important.
Living your life with a clear objective may feel like a daunting task, especially if your purpose is currently undefined. If you’re unsure of your life calling, ask yourself these questions to begin to uncover it.
- What interests you?
- What skills are you good at that come naturally to you?
- What were you passionate about as a child?
- If money wasn’t an object, what would you do for a living?
- What activities do you do that make you forget the world around you?
Once you have a clear vision of your purpose or have, at the very least, begun to uncover it, the work can start to align your life with it. The important thing to remember is that the process of alignment is continuous. You’ll have to be intentional with your actions and work each day to get a little closer to that thing that fills you up.
Aligning your life with your purpose requires authenticity and vulnerability, but there is tremendous fulfillment in feeling like your actions and contributions add value to a greater cause. If you have a defined purpose but are struggling to live with it at the forefront of your life, start with these action items.
Reflect on the Past and Present
To begin living your life intentionally, start by taking stock of where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go in both your personal life and at work. This will help to evaluate where things are working well, where your actions and values are misaligned, and where there are opportunities to improve. Some questions to mull over as you reflect on your past and present include:
- What are my favorite and least favorite things about the work I do and why?
- Where do I see myself in five years and are my actions today helping me get there?
- Does the work I do excite me?
- Do I feel like my work has value?
- If I could change anything about my job, what would it be?
Plan for the Future
Once you’ve taken the time to reflect on your past and present experiences, it’s time to look towards the future. Since you’ve already identified your purpose, you should have a good idea of where you’re going. But if you want to clarify further, think about the answers to these questions:
- Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years, and beyond?
- What one thing can you do today to move one step closer to your goals?
- What can you accomplish this year that will set you on the path to where you want to be?
With a clear purpose in mind, the objective is to set actionable goals to establish a clear path between where you are and where you see yourself in the future. Do this by identifying three SMART goals (i.e., Specific, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) that will help you get there. Write down your purpose and these goals on paper and keep them where you’ll see every day as a reminder of your destination.
Pivot as Needed
Alignment is a process. You can set yourself up for success by reflecting and setting goals, but there’s guaranteed to be ebbs and flows. It’s likely that along the way you’ll need to pivot because your purpose can change as you move through different seasons of life. Adjustments will need to be made to accommodate for events like moving, starting a new job, getting married, and having children, among other things. You may always be driven by one central motivating factor like empowering women, for example, but the means of how you do that may change. Be OK revising and renewing your purpose as you evolve and grow.
Since the journey may be a long one, take time to be thankful along the way. There are numerous benefits of practicing gratitude, including reduced stress, increased happiness, better relationships, and improved health. Start by writing one thing you’re grateful for today. Recognize the growth you’ve made, no matter how big or small, to get you closer to living your life in alignment with your purpose.