Are you looking for a deeper sense of purpose and direction in life?
Do you feel like something is missing or that your goals aren’t quite right?
If so, then it may be time to explore what your why is. Your why sets your boundaries, helps guide your decision-making, fuels your motivation and passion for life, and ultimately reveals to you who you truly are.
So, how do you find out what your why is? Read on for our five steps to discovering your why.
What Is Your Why?
Your why refers to the underlying motivation, purpose, and reasons behind your actions and decisions. It’s the driving force that fuels your passion and gives meaning to your life.
In essence, your why is your personal mission statement that keeps you motivated and focused on the things that truly matter to you.
Why Is It Important to Find Your Why?
Having a sense of purpose and direction is essential for achieving success and fulfillment in life. When you uncover your why, you gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your passions, and the things that give your life meaning and purpose.
Finding your why can also provide you with a greater sense of motivation and resilience. When you face challenges or setbacks, knowing your why can help you stay focused and determined to overcome them. Your why reminds you of the bigger picture and the impact you want to make in the world, which can help keep you going, even when the going gets tough.
In addition, your why gives you a framework to make ethical and value-based decisions. When you know what matters most to you, navigating situations that challenge your values and beliefs becomes easier. By staying aligned with your why, you can make choices consistent with your morals and principles, leading to greater self-confidence and a sense of integrity.
Discovering your why helps you gain clarity about your purpose in life and motivation. You understand what drives you and can use that knowledge to create a meaningful, fulfilling life that aligns with your deepest desires.
Having a strong sense of purpose, in turn, is linked to better health, well-being, and even longevity. Research shows that people who report having a higher sense of purpose in life tend to have a lower risk of developing chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and stroke, and are less likely to experience depression and anxiety.
Having a purpose in life is linked to happiness (as this recent study and many previous ones show), and we’ve included it as one of our elements of happiness! So, helping you find your purpose in life is important to us here at a little dose of happy.
Now that you understand why it’s important to find your why, let’s discuss our steps for finding it!
5 Steps To Find Your Why
Here are five steps to help you discover your why:
Step 1: Reflect On Your Passions And Interests
Take some time to reflect on your passions and interests.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What have I enjoyed doing since an early age?
- What hobbies or interests am I drawn towards in my free time?
- What brings me joy and fulfillment?
- What activities energize me?
- Are there any causes or issues that ignite a fire within me?
- What do I consider to be meaningful work?
Pay attention to your feelings as you think about these questions. Do you suddenly feel energized and excited? Do you feel a sense of clarity or purpose when thinking about certain things?
These are all good signs that you’re headed in the right direction!
If you’re unsure, experiment with different activities and causes to see which ones bring out the best in you. You’ll find you’re naturally drawn to some things more than others.
Step 2: Identify Your Core Values
Your core values are the principles or beliefs that guide your behavior, decisions, and actions.
Think about what you value most in life. What qualities do you prioritize and strive for daily?
To identify your deepest values, ask yourself:
- What matters to me most in life?
- When I make decisions, which principles or beliefs guide my choices?
- Which qualities do I find vital in myself and others?
- What are my pet peeves (i.e., things I can’t stand out of principle)?
Your answers will reveal what your values are.
Once identified, rank your values by importance, and indicate those that are non-negotiable. Making your values crystal clear will help you stay true to yourself and make decisions that align with who you are.
Step 3: Look For Patterns In Past Experiences
Analyze moments from past experiences where you felt particularly fulfilled or accomplished.
Note any common threads between those experiences, such as helping others achieve their goals or solving complex problems.
For example, you may have noticed that you found a lot of satisfaction when mentoring junior staff or helping people learn new skills in your job. Or you enjoyed volunteering for social causes more than anything else and felt energized whenever you were helping those in need.
Take note of any insights or revelations about yourself that come up.
Additionally, ponder how those patterns align with the passions and interests listed earlier and the core values established previously. This will help you further narrow down your why.
Step 4: Visualize Your Ideal Future
Visualization can be an incredibly powerful tool for understanding what truly matters to you and the direction you want your life to take.
Visualize yourself five or ten years from now, living a fulfilling life of purpose where your passions, interests, and core values are fully integrated. What does it look like? How do you feel?
Take time to get into the details. Think about your relationships, career, lifestyle, and environment. Who are you spending time with? What kind of work are you doing?
Also, imagine you or someone you love giving a speech about your life’s work. What would the speech entail? How does the speech make you feel? Rewrite the speech until you feel satisfied.
Having a vivid picture of your ideal future can help you identify your why and clarify the direction you want your life to go.
Step 5: Craft Your Personal Mission Statement
Craft a personal mission statement encapsulating your why by incorporating all the insights from the previous steps.
- What’s the common denominator?
- What do all my passions, interests, values, and future vision have in common?
- What is the deeper purpose behind everything?
- What is it that I really want?
- How would I describe my true identity?
Your mission statement should be concise and specific enough to guide future decisions while remaining flexible as you continue growing and evolving throughout life.
For example, your mission statement might be: “I’m dedicated to achieving professional success, financial security, and continuous personal growth, building meaningful connections, and making a positive impact on the world.”
Keep your mission statement visible in places where you will see it often (e.g., on your fridge or phone background). Referring to it regularly can help keep you focused on what truly matters to you.
Journaling For Success
If you want to improve your chances of finding your why, start journaling.
Journaling is one of the best tools for self-discovery. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process difficult emotions and uncover deep-seated beliefs and motivations that are sometimes hard to recognize in the moment.
An easy way to start journaling is to freely write about what happened during the day and how those experiences made you feel. Reflect on moments of success, failure, joy, and disappointment, and note any thoughts or insights.
As you get more comfortable with writing, you can start exploring questions about your why. What are the reasons behind your decisions and actions? What drives you to keep going, even in the face of failure or difficulty? Are you living life in alignment with your values and purpose?
If you start feeling stuck, take a step back and reflect on your passions, interests, values, and future vision.
Regular journaling will help you uncover deeper truths about yourself and increase your self-awareness. By writing things down, you’ll be able to more easily review and reflect on your thoughts and emotions and find new insights you may not have seen before. With time and practice, you’ll better understand your why.
Finding your why is a challenging task. It requires deep introspection, reflection, and self-awareness. It takes time and persistence, and your why will likely shift as you grow and evolve.
That said, the effort is worth it. By uncovering your why, you’ll learn what matters most to you. You’ll have a greater sense of motivation and resilience that will help guide you through all aspects of life. Most importantly, knowing your why leads to a more meaningful life where your passions, interests, and values are fully aligned.
It’s perfectly okay, normal even, to feel lost and confused. It’s all part of the journey to finding your why! You will eventually gain clarity if you keep your mind open to new perspectives and experiences.
So, challenge yourself to learn something new every day. Try out different hobbies, volunteer for causes that speak to you, and have conversations with people you meet. Doing so will help provide insights that will help you better understand yourself and ultimately uncover your why.
Good luck in your journey of self-discovery! You have the power to create a life that you love and find purpose and fulfillment in. Enjoy the process!
Our mission at a little dose of happy is to help you live a happier and more meaningful life.
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