“How can I achieve any measure of success in life when I’ve not been able to figure out my life purpose? I am 22 years old. I am certainly no longer a child. I have graduated from college. Shouldn’t I have a purpose by now? I am feeling lost, and I don’t know what my next move should be.”
As a young adult, you have not experienced the multitude of lifecycles that older adults have lived through, so let yourself off the hook! Expectations that you must know your life purpose, or your “why” right now is unrealistic at any stage in life.
Your life purpose, what motivates you to wake up each day, might be your career choice, or it could be how you help other people. Your life purpose is individual and unique. Your life consists of a series of changes, and your purpose typically morphs as you experience major ups and downs throughout the journey. As your purpose evolves, it characteristically parallels with what your contribution to the world is—which reflects your “why.”
The process of change is natural. So, life purpose isn’t something you must pursue by a certain age. It can take a lifetime to nail it down…and then, you might still be seeking and pivoting.
Experience life. Frustration is a motivator.
Frustration is annoying, but frustration is a healthy indicator, a motivator, for personal growth. Frustration is often the first signal that your life is progressing.
Grateful and positive thoughts help you fight frustration at its core. Turn your frustration around to reinforcing thoughts, such as I have reached a new fork in my life journey, this is healthy! I desire to know and honor my life purpose through the choices that I make and the goals that I set.
Do not beat yourself up over your sense of frustration. Allow it to be a tool, a healthy reminder to experience life as it is—to not force yourself to follow unrealistic expectations.
“So, what is my next move?”
Simple steps to refocus.
Sometimes the smallest of steps can help us refocus and gain clarity in our lives.
Here are three steps you can take today to reset your focus:
Do not compare yourself to others.
Comparison to others is easy to do in today’s world of massive social media, yet it universally holds people back from clarity. You might notice people who are the same age as you are who appear to be filled with purpose and drive. You might try to model yourself after them, but the problem is you don’t know what their “real” struggles or circumstances in life are. They might hate their job, and their happy appearance may be a smokescreen. Be true to yourself, devoted to your own goals and motives to realize your own unique path in life.
Develop good habits and set small goals for yourself.
We commonly stop weaving structure into our lives when we are focused on unrealistic expectations. By developing habits, setting small goals, and maintaining consistency, you make defined promises to yourself and you ensure that you keep them, which helps you to create a sense of success in everyday life. This eliminates feelings of I’m doing nothing to move forward. Create habits around simple life goals that commit to taking care of you, such as, going to bed early, cutting back on television, limiting time with technology, or spending one evening a week with a supportive friend.
Live by your core values.
Core values are an integral part of honoring and finding your purpose in life. You can wipe away unrealistic expectations of yourself simply by living mindfully—making choices that are aligned with your core values. This helps you to lay a solid foundation and set an unconditional commitment in place to who you are, which will eventually steer you towards identifying your life purpose.
Do you know your core values?
Time and flexibility are key.
We are prone to pushing ourselves beyond measure, to the point we are blind to reality. It is crucial to give yourself time to grow and learn who you are.
Life purpose is not a “done deal.” Remember, as you accumulate life experiences, you may also find that your purpose unexpectedly changes paths. Flexibility helps you through this innate process.
We are here to help.
If you are having trouble sorting your life purpose out, know that you aren’t alone with your feelings. Sometimes we all need a little help. We love being a part of creating a better you!
The Family Guidance & Therapy Center is a place where loving-kindness reigns; where labels and diagnoses are simply bits of information on your journey towards greater health and happiness.
Our clinicians create treatment plans with your life values and goals and our expertise. We are working hard to make a difference in the lives of our clients and the way the world sees mental health treatment.
There are three easy ways to make an appointment with us, online, call 619-600-0683, or text 619-607-1230.