Finding Your Purpose: 10 Ways to Figure Out What You Want in Life

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How can I know what I want in life? What is my purpose? These two are among the common questions people ask as they try to find the correct path for their life in order to feel fulfilled and happy.

You may wonder what you should do with your life at any point on your life’s journey. For example, you may question your purpose in life when deciding what to study in college, when choosing a career, or during difficult times such as after the loss of a job, failing at something, the death of a loved one, or going through a divorce, among other instances.

Although finding your purpose is important, it is not easy to figure out what you want in life. And unfortunately, many people go through life without ever discovering what their purpose is, making some of them feel lost during their entire existence here.

Not knowing your purpose in life means that you don’t have a reason for living or for your actions and have no idea what you hope to achieve at the end of it all.

Being purposeless can make your life boring, meaningless, and unsatisfying. Therefore, if you want to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life, continue reading this post for some tips on how to figure out what you want in life and, thus, find your purpose.

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How to Figure Out What You Want in Life

  1. Identify the things you don’t want in your life

Figuring out what you want in life will be a lot easier when you know what you don’t want. Thus, your first step in finding your purpose should be to list the things you don’t want in your life now and in the future

It could be things such as negative emotions, toxic relationships, toxic work environments, fame, poverty, having kids, or anything else that you feel doesn’t add value to your life but only makes it suck.

Knowing what you don’t want will bring you a step closer to finding out what you want in life.

  1. List your interests

If you would like to learn how to figure out what you want in life, you have to ask yourself questions such as, what makes you happy when doing it? What are you passionate about? What are you good at? Are these things you would like to do for the rest of your life?

Listing the things you love and are passionate about will help you find your purpose. You can then focus on these activities to get better or make a living out of them.

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  1. Set goals

Whenever you think about your future, what kind of life do you see yourself living? What do you hope to achieve in life? What impact do you want to have?

Asking yourself these questions and visualizing your ideal future will help you figure out what you want in life. So, if you are keen on finding your purpose in life, list your goals, both short-term and long-term ones.

Although some of your goals may seem unachievable due to your current circumstances, do not be afraid to dream big. To help you stay focused on your goals and manifest them, create a vision board and put it where you will see it every day.

Goals will give your life meaning by providing something for you to focus on and a reason to wake up and seize the day.

On your list, remember to include some goals that do not only benefit you but others as well.

  1. Find role models

Comparison is a double-edged sword; it can be a killer of dreams and joy or your source of motivation and inspiration to be better.

If you want to learn how to figure out what you want in life, you can choose to engage in upward comparison and use successful people as your role models. 

When trying to find your purpose in life, you should look for people who have already achieved similar dreams to yours. Their life and success can motivate you to turn your life around and strive to achieve your goals.

Wanting to emulate your role models by doing similar things will become your purpose in life.

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  1. Think about your greatest accomplishments

There are times you may not realize what you are good at until you pause and reflect on your achievements over the years.

For example, you probably were a great singer as a kid and even won awards for it, but you stopped doing it for some reason.

When trying to figure out what you want in life, you should list your greatest accomplishments and analyze how you felt when you achieved them. Did you feel a sense of pride? Were you happy?

When you do things that make you feel accomplished, you become more confident in your abilities, and your life becomes more meaningful and fulfilling.

If you haven’t done the activities that were your biggest achievements in a while, practice and get better at them. Try to replicate those positive emotions you felt.

  1. Try out different things and examine your feelings

You obviously can’t have experienced everything there is to experience in the world in order to know all the things you could be passionate about or interested in. Or perhaps, your current interests don’t feel important or meaningful enough to be what you want to do with your life.

The next step in finding your purpose in life is to get out and try more things to determine what adds meaning to your life. You could try each activity for a few weeks or months and write down your feelings in a journal while doing it.

Afterward, choose the things that challenge you and those which make you experience positive emotions while engaging in them.

When figuring out what you want in life, it is okay to take risks and make mistakes along the way. You can then learn from them and improve yourself. You don’t want to have regrets later in life wondering, what if…?

  1. Know your personal values

Your values guide your thoughts, words, actions, and decisions. They determine your priorities and how you interact with others.

Some good examples of personal values that influence how you live your life include honesty, integrity, authenticity, generosity, loyalty, humility, courage, and compassion, among others.

When trying to figure out what you want in life, it is important to know your personal values and beliefs. They will enable you to make the right choices about the kind of life you want to live, even when it seems difficult to do so.

Your personal values will also help you set clear boundaries with others about what you can compromise on, fight for, or not engage in.

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  1. Define what success means to you

Many people confuse becoming rich with having found your purpose. But the sad thing is that you can have a lot of money and other material possessions and still not know what you want in life.

Despite seemingly having everything, you could still feel unhappy and unfulfilled.

You have to realize that finding your purpose is not about material things. It is about doing things that make you happy and those that add meaning to your life.

So, have your own definition of success and stop letting material possessions dictate your happiness and fulfillment.

  1. Be authentic

You may be wondering, how does authenticity affect your life’s purpose? Well, you can’t find your purpose in life if you don’t even know who you are.

The things we do in our life are determined by our identity and the factors that affect it. Sadly, some people put on a façade and become inauthentic while trying to fit in or be accepted.

It could involve doing things that everyone else is doing or changing your dreams to meet others’ expectations of you.

Your authenticity plays a key role when you are trying to figure out what you want in life. By embracing your authentic self, you know who you are; you don’t worry about not fitting the mold, and you do what you want on your own terms. That is how being authentic helps you find your purpose in life.

READ ALSO: 10 Reasons Why You Worry about What Others Think So Much (and How to Stop)

  1. Read more

Reading can also help you find your purpose as you get to know another person’s inner thoughts, get inspired by those who found their purpose, and come up with new ideas that could help you figure out what you want to do with your life.

No matter the book genre you choose, reading opens up the world to you and changes the way you think and behave. In fact, many successful people testify that they figured out what they want in life after reading books and other inspirational materials.

They say that reading helped them understand themselves better and identify what matters most to them, and thus it enabled them to choose the right path in their life.

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How to Know When You Have Found Your Purpose in Life

Finding your life’s purpose takes as long as it takes; there is no time limit or age restriction. For this reason, many people often spend all their time trying to figure out what they want in life.

Unfortunately, for some, the chase for meaning and fulfillment may become a constant part of their existence that they may not even realize when they have finally found their life’s purpose or know what to do next.

Here are some signs you have found your purpose in life.

  1. You feel happy and fulfilled.
  2. You are doing things you love or using your inborn gifts.
  3. You can feel the positive impact of your actions on other people and the world.
  4. Things feel like they are finally clicking into place in your life.
  5. You look forward to each new day.
  6. You are content and have inner peace.
  7. Time passes quickly because you are no longer stuck in life.
  8. You feel inspired.
  9. Money is no longer your biggest motivator.
  10. You are no longer wondering what your purpose in life is because you know exactly why you are here and have no doubt about what you want in life.

After finding your purpose in life and becoming successful, read this article for some tips on What to Do Once You Achieve All Your Goals.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has a unique purpose only they can fulfill, and it would be a sad experience to go through life without ever discovering yours. Make your life more meaningful and fulfilling by using the above tips to find your purpose so you can figure out what you want in life.

However, you have to realize that what you want to do with your life can change due to factors such as age, experiences, and circumstances, among other things. It is, therefore, okay to adapt and make positive changes in your life when things no longer work for you.

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