January is International Quality of Life Month. This first month of the year symbolizes a new beginning and is a great time to reflect on the quality of your life and its purpose.
Closely related to quality of life is life purpose. Identifying your life purpose is a key part of celebrating what you bring to the world and how you contribute to your own and others' quality of life.
We all have a need to find purpose in life. Some people find a way to express their purpose in their jobs; others seek opportunities outside their daily work. Regardless of how we do it, we all seek to find how we can best contribute to life.
Dick Leider, author of The Power of Purpose, asked adults 65 and older, "If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?" The answers consistently included these three themes:
- Be more reflective
- Be more courageous
- Be clear earlier about purpose
Following up on the idea of purpose, Leider learned that:
- People seem to have a natural desire and capacity to contribute to life.
- Purpose is unique to each individual.
- People can learn from, but not adopt, the purpose of another.
- People typically bring up the question of purpose about every 10 years throughout their lives.
- Working on purpose gives people a sense of direction.
- The key to acting on purpose is for people to bring together the needs of the world with their unique gifts in a vocation.
Take a minute to reflect: What do you think your life purpose is? Where do you, or where could you, bring your unique gifts to help others?
How to Identify Your Purpose?
At this point, you're nodding along and thinking "Sure, this sounds great, but where do I start?"
Identifying your life purpose is not a quick, easy task. It's big. It's important. But not to worry. Here are some ideas to help you get started on your life purpose journey:
- Reflect: Review the day's events each evening for five or ten minutes to determine which experiences were life-giving, and which were life-draining.
- Meditate: Meditating can be another path to self-knowledge and it has numerous other benefits. Modern technology actually shows positive changes in the bodies and brains of meditators.
- Journal: A journal can be a good way to reflect. You might write about some basic questions: What experiences give me life? What experiences drain life?
- Document Your Dreams: While very few dreams are prophetic, they can provide precise insights into personal needs, desires, and concerns.
- Pray: Research shows that prayer, in whatever form you use, benefits health through the physiological effects of positive emotion. You might select a daily reading (for example, a psalm or an excerpt from a book of meditations).
Read more about how to identify your life purpose.
Life Purpose Resources
Spirituality & Health http://www.spirituality-health.com/spirit
The Purpose Project http://purposeproject.org
Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health http://www.spiritualityandhealth.duke.edu
Life Balance Institute http://www.lifebalance.org
Meditation Society of America http://www.meditationsociety.com
Spirit Rock Meditation Center http://www.spiritrock.org
Worldwide Online Meditation Center http://www.meditationcenter.com
The Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD) http://www.asdreams.org
The Twelve Peace Prayers http://www.csle.org/peace_prayers.htm
The World Peace Prayer Society http://www.worldpeace.org/main.html
The World Prayers http://www.worldprayers.org
Life Purpose Center http://www.lifepurposecenter.com
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