Updated: Sep 17
Seven Ways to Find Purpose and Slow Aging - Retired or Not
A sense of purpose will give you a reason for being and helps you stay healthy and happy as you grow older. Unfortunately, many people become depressed as they grow older because they feel they have no purpose or meaning. Often when a job ends or begins there is a loss of purpose and Self Image or Self Identity. Suicide rates and/or divorce rates often rise in these time of transition. This is the gray zone of transition described by William Bridges the author of TRANSITIONS. Many years ago when the Peace Corps was established, it took around six months for the Volunteers to sort through their transitions and find purpose in a foreign land.
Here are seven of the most effective strategies for finding purpose as you age:
Reflect on Your Life Experiences
To discover your purpose, look back at the events that have shaped you and your perspective. Consider what challenges or setbacks you have faced and the joys and triumphs you have experienced throughout your life. By reflecting on these experiences, you can gain valuable insight into what truly matters to you and what gives your life meaning and purpose. Richard Leider, author of The Power of Purpose, called these events "triggering events". The event was a wake up call that that made you stop and think. If you never are challenged, never out of the "comfort zone", it is hard to avoid aging because you won't have much resilience.
Know What You Like to Do
Another important step in finding your purpose is figuring out what you enjoy doing.
The word EN-Joy is filled with JOY. Do you ever have joy? It is a bit higher than happiness, but if you aren't often joyful, you can create happiness. (See last week for the website link to find Martin Seligman). By focusing on the tasks and pastimes that energize you, you can make more deliberate decisions about how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things once per week; this is a great way to discover new passions and interests.
Be Alone and Take Care of Yourself
To be truly fulfilled, taking care of yourself physically and mentally is crucial. This means making time for rest, relaxation, and self-care regularly. Making time is more proactive than taking time. First things first. Wall it off. You are worth it.!!!!
Engage with Others
Regardless of where you are in your chronological process, connecting with like-minded individuals can help you feel more connected to others and more confident in your own abilities. You can engage in person or online. Both have advantages, but being connected to others will help you feel more hopeful due to the shared purpose of the various groups you’re part of. One way to think about this is to split your groups into outdoor lovers - think hiking - and indoor groups like the symphony. Do some of both to see what happens to your sense of purpose.
Tap into Your Passions
Another powerful strategy for finding your purpose is to pursue things you feel passionate about. It doesn’t matter what it is. Following your heart and doing what inspires you can discover a sense of purpose and fulfillment in even the most mundane tasks. This was a problem for a family member until she found the local humane society. Dogs, cats, an injured bald eagle got her rolling again. It is worthy to note that her passion before that was slots. That's an addiction, not a passion. The difference is fulfillment of purpose.
Set Goals for Yourself
Setting goals for yourself is another effective way to find purpose and motivation as you grow older chronologically. It can slow aging dramatically when the goals are blended with purpose. Consider making short-term and long-term goals so that you have milestones to work toward, no matter how far away they seem. This can help you stay focused on your goals and avoid getting overwhelmed by day to day drivel.
What can you measure? This is a way to start on goal setting. If it can be measured, it can be improved. If you feel a little bit scared when you start measuring something you are probably on the right track with the rest of your goal setting. How do you feel about goals? If you resist this, ask WHY? Your trouble is a clue to purpose and how it is linked to goals.
And if you want a book and methodology to control purpose go here: https://www.12weekyearworkshop.com/12wyw-order-page
At Amazon you might look up author Richard Leider and his classic: The Power of Purpose
Seek Out Personal Growth Opportunities
To find purpose as you move through this time in life, seeking out opportunities for personal growth and development is also helpful. In addition, you can discover new meaning in even the most mundane aspects of life by staying open-minded and receptive to new ideas. Mundane stuff is enlivened by gratefulness, a key to finding purpose. But if you want a really wild challenge to shake things up you may need excitement not purpose. Just get un-bored. Then come back to purpose and meaning. Personal growth is, well, personal in nature. The old adage about this is: Whatever floats your boat.
With these strategies in mind, you can sometimes easily find purpose and continue growing, even thriving for many years. Don't be afraid to explore new ideas and follow your heart. By embracing who you are and living each day with intention, you can create a fulfilling and meaningful life. Fight off "the old ennui". Thrive. Joy IS there when Purpose is pursued.
Happy Days Ahead
Joe Grant, MBA
Certified Retirement Coach
Contact me for a Free 45 minute Consultation at https://yourvantagepoints.com