The key to a happy and healthy life? Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life! Sounds easy, right? Not so much in my experience.
It can be daunting to figure out what your purpose is and what you’re meant to be doing in your life. But don’t worry, I have a solution: journaling!
Here are 12 journal prompts to find your purpose and meaning in life. These will help you dig deep into who you are and figure out what matters to you. So find a comfortable spot, open your journal, and let’s get started!
- The importance of having purpose and meaning in life
- How journaling can help you find your purpose
- 12 journal prompts to find your purpose in life
- 1. My definition of happiness is…
- 2. I feel happiest when…
- 3. My favorite activities when I was a kid were…
- 4. My 5 best qualities are…
- 5. How can I serve others?
- 6. In 5 years, my life will look like…
- 7. What steps do I need to take to move closer to my ideal life?
- 8. If money wasn’t an issue, what would I do?
- 9. What topic (or topics) do I love to talk about for hours?
- 10. If I could write my own eulogy, what would I say?
- 11. What are my core values?
- 12. Who do I admire and why?
- How to get started with these journal prompts
There’s a lot of pressure today to “find our purpose”, to have a passion, and be successful. You have to know what you want to be when you grow up and have everything figured out by age 25. All of this can be overwhelming.
It’s easy to feel stuck, lost, and unsure of how to move forward. To feel like you were meant for something more but you don’t know what.
But why is knowing your purpose in life important?
The importance of having purpose and meaning in life
Having a strong sense of purpose helps is many areas of your life.
For example, it helps you:
- prioritize your life based on what’s important to you
- Have the motivation to keep going when things get tough
- Become more resilient as you grow
- Focus on short-term and long-term goals
Research has shown that people who feel their life has purpose and meaning live longer, healthier lives.
A study done in 2015 demonstrated that possessing a high sense of purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk for mortality and cardiovascular events.
Another study found that a greater sense of mission was associated with greater psychological well-being (including life satisfaction, positive affect, self-esteem, emotional processing, and emotional expression), greater use of preventive health care, more volunteer activities, and possibly fewer depressive symptoms.
What has also been shown is that where you find purpose and meaning in your life does not matter. What matters is that you feel your life has purpose. This can be through a hobby only you know about, it can be through raising your children, or the career you choose. Finding your purpose does not mean you have to rethink your whole life. Purpose can be found in the little things as well as major events.
How journaling can help you find your purpose
Journaling has been proven to help deal with depression and anxiety, boost self-confidence, and improve your overall wellbeing.
It’s a wonderful way to explore your desires, your wishes, who you are, and reconnect with yourself. It can help you find direction, clarify your thoughts and feelings, and help you process what’s going on.
The best part? It’s for your eyes only! You can be as raw, as honest, and as open as you’d like. You can even burn your journal once you’re done!
12 journal prompts to find your purpose in life
1. My definition of happiness is…
What does happiness mean to you? You can list examples, feelings, activities. Whatever makes sense to you. Don’t over analyze things, write whatever comes to mind. It can be a list, full sentences, or just ideas.
The next journal prompt will help you dive further.
2. I feel happiest when…
Fill in the blank with as many examples as you can think of. Don’t think too much about this, just write. Think about specific times where you felt happy. Where were you, who were you with, what were you doing? What influences your mood in a positive way? This can be as simple as drinking your morning coffee while reflecting on the day.
Try to be as specific as possible with as many details as you can recall about the situation.
3. My favorite activities when I was a kid were…
Do you remember when you were a kid and you would get lost in certain activities? How hours would fly by while you did this or that without you noticing? Think about those activities, how did they make you feel? What were they? Do you still do them? Try to reconnect with your child self.
4. My 5 best qualities are…
List the things that you feel make you special. What do people come to you for? What comes naturally to you? This will help you understand yourself better and you a clear idea of what your strengths are. Once you have a good understanding of your strengths and qualities, you’ll be able to use them to live your purpose!
In the next prompt, we’ll see how you can use these qualities to find meaning and purpose in your life.
5. How can I serve others?
Having a sense of purpose is strongly tied to the idea of serving others. Studies show that serving others results in a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Think about your qualities and your talents. How can you use them to help others? What opportunities exist around you that you could participate in? For example, if you’re good at small home repairs, maybe a neighbor needs help with something in their house? Or maybe you’re fluent in another language and you could tutor someone?
6. In 5 years, my life will look like…
Project yourself in the future. Visualize how your ideal life will look like in 5 years. Do you want to live somewhere specific? Is there a career you’d love to have? Be as creative as possible, let your imagination run wild. There are no rules here, you can do whatever you want!
The next prompt will dig deeper into this topic.
7. What steps do I need to take to move closer to my ideal life?
Once you’ve mapped out what your ideal life will look like in 5 years, think about the steps you need to take to make that happen. Are there classes you need to take to expand your knowledge on a subject? Maybe you can learn more about how to move to a different country? List the different ways you can make your ideal life become a reality.
8. If money wasn’t an issue, what would I do?
Money issues can sometimes hold us back from our true desires. However, it’s important to take a step back and remove financial considerations from the equation. List the activities, jobs, hobbies you’d love to do or have if money wasn’t an issue. Does that mean you have to quit your job and completely change direction? No! However, this exercise will give you more insight into what you truly enjoy doing. Maybe you can find ways to do these activities as a hobby!
9. What topic (or topics) do I love to talk about for hours?
We often talk about topics that interest us and that we feel passionate about. This is a great way to find what your passions are and see how you can include more of those in your life. Think back to long conversations you’ve had with friends and family and see if there are topics that come back on a regular basis.
10. If I could write my own eulogy, what would I say?
This may sound a bit weird but trust me, it’s a great exercise. If you were able to write your own eulogy, think about what you would like people to say about you. What did you bring to the world during your lifetime? What accomplishments have you achieved? What are you remembered for?
11. What are my core values?
Core values are a part of us and highlight what we stand for. We all have them but we rarely think about them. To make things easier, you can take a look at a list of core values and see which ones resonate with you.
Once you’ve jotted down a list of values, go back and describe an experience or a situation that reflects that value and how it’s important to you. This will help you narrow down your core values and focus on the truly important ones.
12. Who do I admire and why?
The people we admire tells us a lot about ourselves. Take a moment to reflect on who you admire in your life and why. This can be a family member, a mentor, someone famous, someone who died centuries ago, it doesn’t matter. What is it about this person that you admire? A specific talent? Their success? A personality trait? This will give you insight into what is important to you and what you would like to see in yourself.
How to get started with these journal prompts
If you’ve never journaled before, check out my post “How to start journaling: a beginner’s guide”.
Journaling can seem overwhelming at first, but trust me, it’s easier than you think and will be so beneficial to your overall mental health and wellbeing.
To get started, pick the prompts that resonate with you the most and start with those. Don’t feel like you have to go thought all of them in a row.
Commit to journaling every day for a week. Answer one prompt a day and spend as much time on it as you want. Once you’ve written your answers, don’t come back to them right away. Let a few weeks or months go by and answer them again (without reading your previous answers). Then, go back and compare the two. Do you notice any differences? Have you grown or changed during this time? It’s always interesting to see how our answers evolve over time.
It’s important to be honest in your answers. If this exercise is going to help you, you have to let your thoughts flow easily and don’t censure yourself. Don’t judge yourself, or think your answers are silly. There’s no such thing!
There you have it, 12 journal prompts to find your purpose in life. I hope they help you on your quest to finding your purpose. I’d love to hear which ones helped you the most! Let me know in the comments. Also, let me know if you use other prompts that have helped you!
Till next time,
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- 50 journal prompts for self-discovery
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