Can you sum your life purpose in one phrase? According to Blue Zones, research suggests that you could be living up to seven good years longer, if you have a sense of purpose. Okinawans call it ikigai, and Costa Rica’s Nocoyans call it plan de vida. It’s the answer to the question “Why do I wake up in the morning?” It’s a new year. How can you start off with purpose and vision?
Where do you begin?
Start by doing an inventory of your gifts, passions, and values. Gifts are your talents — not just what you are good at, but what you love to do. Passions are the things you feel deeply curious about. Values includes the health of the environment you are in, not just physically, but in the relationships in which you engage. Use your gifts on things about which you feel passion or a deep curiosity. The starting point is spending your time doing things you care about, and from there, finding a larger sense of purpose in the world. Find ways to use your gifts more, through either existing outlets in your life (community involvement, volunteering) or through new outlets where you are needed. For many people, volunteering is a preferred outlet to deepen one’s purpose.
Monterey County resources
The Blue Zones Project® – Monterey County hosts free two-hour facilitated Power of Purpose Workshops. These workshops give participants the opportunity to discover or re-discover gifts and talents, learn how to navigate through life’s transitions, and improve well-being by living your purpose. Visit their events page to register and see what they have coming up.
In addition, Aspire Health Plan hosts monthly Community Connections classes that are free, educational, fun and open to our members and their friends. Last year, we gathered (socially distanced) to create vision boards — visual representations of what we want to be, do, or have in our lives. Things that give, or support, our sense of purpose. Visit our seminars page for upcoming events.
According to the Blue Zones, “a strong sense of purpose can really reduce stress in your life. You’ll have less worry and anxiety, be more clear about your goals, be less motivated by the positive opinions of others and you may not fret as much about decisions.” What a great way to start your year!