Finding Purpose


As the new year unfolds so do new resolutions. While these are helpful, I invite you to consider a new way to look at cultivating what you really want this year!

Let’s begin with a simple question. What gets you out of bed every day? I'm not referring to an alarm clock, the sound of a child crying or even a pup who needs to go outside. What I mean is what gives you motivation to happily get out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day? What drives you? What’s your purpose?

Resolution vs Purpose?

At this point, you may be wondering what's the difference between a resolution, a goal and purpose.  A resolution of walking outside each morning can definitely get you out of bed, but it's not the same as purpose.  A resolution and even a goal can be crossed off a to-do list once it’s complete.  They don't necessarily align with your purpose. A purpose is ongoing and is intrinsically embedded in you! I like to view it as more of an ongoing intention

Investigating Purpose

Determining what your purpose is has almost come naturally to some in recent months.  Over the last two years, we've all gone through challenging times filled with uncertainty of what comes next.  It’s given many people permission to slow down, look inward and investigate what they really want. While many have quit their jobs and pursued other endeavors, having a purpose doesn’t always have to be connected to a job. It simply has to be connected to you!

Purpose. The word was first used in the 14th century. It means to create meaning, a sense of direction or a path that guides. Research supports the value it has on living a life of significance.  Having a higher sense of purpose relates to greater life satisfaction. There’s also evidence showing that it improves longevity, quality of life and even resilience. We are better able to adapt, adjust and thrive. The opposite is true. If someone lacks a sense of purpose, they are less resilient, not as happy and may feel a bit lost.

What's Your Purpose?

Not sure what your purpose is? Consider this question. Do you have something you absolutely can’t do without (that is healthy and nurturing to you or others)?  Research shows that many people believe they have a purpose, but they wonder if it’s truly part of their motivation or just what they think they should do. If you think you might be part of this concern, ask yourself these two questions. Do you set goals or live your life in a manner you believe that society expects? Do you live your life doing what family or friends expect? Finding your purpose is looking at what internally motivates you, not others. It’s part of your values and beliefs.

If you’re questioning whether the purpose you have is real, consider a couple of things. Do you consistently get energy from it or do you feel drained?  You shouldn't feel drained from your purpose.

Here’s an example from my functional medicine health coach training. A young man loved piano and wanted to pursue a music profession in college. Instead, he majored in business, graduated and came home to help manage his family’s struggling restaurant business. He no longer played in a band and was drained of energy each and every night and felt unsupported. He knew he wanted to be involved in playing or being part of music but instead did what was expected. His purpose was there but was sitting idle, collecting dust in the closet.

Evolving Purpose

Perhaps you know what your purpose is or you’re trying to investigate. Consider the following questions. What...

  • lights you up (excites you)?
  • are you passionate about?
  • do you find yourself talking about with others?

While your purpose can be related to a job, it doesn’t have to be. Your purpose can change over time and that’s normal and healthy. For instance, if you have a child who is homeschooled, this may excite you to be part of your child’s learning, helping him or her gain knowledge. When they’re grown up, your purpose will naturally change unless you decide you want to teach others because it’s rewarding, part of your values and an intrinsic passion.

I have a friend who enjoyed helping people and did so through diabetes research in a lab decades ago that led to working directly with diabetic clients. She created a protocol that is now used throughout many health systems and teaches medical professionals how to work with patients. Her purpose has always been to help people. It started solo in a lab, branched out to individual patients she had access to and now has blossomed into helping the diabetes population she has not met but impacts.

While this example shows how this can work in a career, you can find purpose in everyday life such as helping an elderly neighbor get groceries, taking a friend to a doctor’s appointments, helping a family member allocate expenses so they have enough funds to be in assisted living. The list goes on and on. It can be walking dogs, volunteering at a soup kitchen or charity collection.

The Power of Purpose

Purpose is powerful. It’s what drives us and has allowed us to evolve as humans. This week or even today, I encourage you to set aside some time to discover you. Be free of distractions, pause, breathe with intention, look inward and truly listen. Enjoy this audio to get you started on your journey.  Discover what makes you tick and find what you truly want. There is always something even when you’re not sure.  Want to discover your purpose, join me for the 30-Day Purpose Driven Journaling program.  


About Author

Celeste Cooper

Wellness & Fitness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness and Fitness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT).

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