If I had a yoga studio I'd want the above sign on the wall where you walked in the door. I'd want you to have the certainty that you were in the right place, and if you needed confirmation that sign would be it.
More broadly speaking, many of us are still looking for that sign or assurance that we're on the right track, and that things will be ok. We make choices about where to live and what to do for a job as best we can without having as much information as we'd like. We make choices on how to spend our time and our money based on what we think will make us happy. This article is to help you find more of that information about yourself so that you can feel that your decisions are better aligned with who you are.
One of the questions with purpose is 'do you find your purpose or do you make it?' It turns out it's a little of both. Some amount of deep-diving with journaling, quizzes an exercises will help remind you of what you already know about your preferences. But there's also an action component that's needed to test what you find from the writing and planning. Without action, you'll never quite learn which parts worked or why something didn't work as well in person as it seemed on paper. You need to test the ideas constantly and get closer to what brings you joy. Here's what has worked for me, and it's incredibly grounding to know yourself better in this way.
1. Your values. Your top 3 values have a lot to say about what matters to you. Make a cup of tea and cosy up with this one. It is such a clarifying step.
2. Your strengths. Then, take 15 minutes to learn what your top 3 character strengths are. These aren't necessarily the ones you're best at, but they're the strengths you most ENJOY using.
3. Your why. Write these 6 items down at the top of a page and answer, "What do these values/strengths say about you as a person?" Try to list 3 different statements. Pick a value, and answer, "Why does this value matter to you?"
4. Your money. Take 30-60 minutes to see is your spending consistent with what you value? If you have online banking, categorise all expenses from the past 30 days into "groceries, healthcare, clothes, etc". Many online banking sites have this feature built in or you can download the expenses to an Excel spreadsheet and categorise things that way. See if you can make a pie chart and note if you're happy with where the money is going. This is not about shaming yourself in anyway. It's about knowing where you stand and moving forward from there in line with what matters most to you. Maybe your spending reflects your love of dining out and nice clothes. That's helpful information.
5. Your time. If you have an iPhone: Settings> Screen Time> See All Activity. I just did this, and I spent 14 hours on my phone last week. There's a further breakdown on that page that tells me:
Social: 6h 10 m
Entertainment: 2h 4m
Creativity: 1h 54m
That's pretty humbling to read. I know I've been trying to increase my presence on Facebook and Instagram recently, and that has meant both taking more photos, editing, and posting them, but I think I'd like to be clearer about when and how I'm using those sites. If you've not yet seen The Social Dilemma on Netflix it's one of the best commentaries ever on this topic.
6. Your reflections.
What could you do with the $$ if you cooked at home more and ate out less?
Are you happy with how much time you spend on your phone? Is it related to your purpose?
What would you do if you wanted to spend the time on something else?
What would you like to do with that extra time to help you try things out related to purpose?
Do you need more connection?
Would a weekly walk with a friend help fill you up?
Do you want to spend time being a big brother or sister to someone?
Would you like to adopt a grandparent?
How about foster a kitten or dog?
Sometimes purpose comes from doing, and by getting out there and participating you'll find that the meaning and purpose follows. Try new things that you've never done before (within reason) and see if you discover something new about yourself. If you'd like more journaling prompts, try these 20 prompts for self-awareness. Good luck. This search requires honesty and courage. You're worth it.
What does mindfulness look like on a daily basis?
How can you infuse it in your day to enjoy yourself more? There's many articles here, and you can join hundreds who get these sent straight to their inbox (link in footer).