Bring Your Purpose to Life With Your Values

Mar 6, 2024 | Design Your Life | 0 comments

I’m going to guess that you want purpose and meaning in your life. But what does that really mean and how do you find your purpose? 

Purpose is not a static thing. It’s your intention to achieve a long-term goal or goals that are meaningful to you. Your goal might even help others, the environment or heal the world in some way. 

Purpose is what matters to you, what you value over your lifetime. It’s your values in action. Knowing and living your values leads to a feeling of resonance and a purposeful life.


Revisit Your Values

Our values aren’t always static. It’s true our values are part of our core and often stay similar over our lifetimes, but things can shift in a couple of ways: 

  • Values rise and fall in priority. Say you’ve identified 10 values that are important to you. In different seasons of your life, some of those will rise to the top. You may find you’re often focused on 3–5 at any given time. That means you spend more time and energy engaged with those top values.
  • How we live the value may change. I deeply value connection. Over the past couple of years, I made new friendships with people in my Stanford program. We’ve all gone our own ways, but we still connect with phone calls, email or texts, or infrequent get togethers. But the value of connection makes sure that I reach out often.
  • Here’s another example: When I was a kid in New York City, nature was often a sunset through a 15th floor window. These days, I often walk trails not far from my house. Nature has been a constant value, but I wove it into my life in different ways

These shifts and changes are one reason I like to revisit my values every year or even more frequently. Taking the time to get clear on my values makes it easier to put them into action and live with more purpose. And sometimes when I check in, I realize that I’ve been ignoring values that are meaningful. That allows me to ask why and put a little more energy around that value.

If you are not clear on your top values and what they mean to you, pause and use my tool 3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love (it’s free). Or you can look at a list of values in the Resources section of my website.

Put Values into Action

Once you know your values, put them into action. When you act on your values, you bring more energy, engagement, joy, and purpose into your life. 

That means making value-aligned choices and decisions that bring purpose into your day. You may have goals that will take time to reach, but you can put your values into action right now and regularly. Doing so can create momentum and a lift in your day.

  • Take a look at your calendar or your to-do list and find places where your values are already in action. For example, if I’m looking at connection as a value, I could highlight a hike with Chip, a walking date with a friend or a call with another friend who lives far away. 
  • Think of ways you can put the value into action in very small ways. For example, smiling and saying hello to people when I’m out walking is a small way of connecting. 

Sometimes we brush off the small ways of putting values into action. If you value creativity and long to spend all day in your art studio, a 10-minute creativity practice might feel a little frustrating. You can absolutely work to make time for the longer stretches of creativity if you want, but you can also weave more of the creative into your day by starting with 10 minutes in your journal or sketchbook, or taking a few photos of something that makes you feel awe or joy. It’s not an either/or situation. 

To go deeper with living your values every day, try The Everyday Experience. This self-paced, online course helps you design a life you love, one day at a time. 

Here’s to more purpose and joy in your life.

You could go for a walk or write in a journal, or just sit in a comfy chair and wonder. Picture your ideal day. 

Open yourself to believe anything is possible in this ideal day. Don’t get stuck in what you are supposed to want. Don’t limit yourself to what you could make happen. 

Think through the day, beginning to end. Where and how would you wake up? How would you spend the morning? The afternoon? The evening? Who would you be with? 

You might envision a day you’ve actually lived or a mashup of parts of days you’ve lived and loved. Maybe it has similarities to your current days — or maybe it’s in deep contrast to them. Maybe it is something vastly different from your daily life that you long for. Let yourself picture it. 

Really put yourself in your ideal day. Include the smells and the sounds, what you’d see and taste. How do you feel on this day? Relaxed? Exhilarated? Awed? Loved? Can you feel that day? 

What Is It You Really Want?

Maybe you look at your ideal day and see how, with a little planning and support, you could make it happen. Maybe that’s how you spend your next birthday or the next free Saturday. 

Quite likely, though, some or all of it may feel impossible. But before you give up, let’s look at what your ideal day has to show you about your desires and values. 

If your ideal day took place at Yosemite, maybe you crave more time in nature or time unplugged or more awe or adventure. 

If your ideal day was spent alone writing and sipping a latte in a cafe, maybe you’re looking for more sustained creative time or solitude, or simply to slow down. Maybe you realize the cafe was one you used to hang out at twenty years ago, and you want to re-engage some part of your younger self. 

Your ideal day is full of clues about what you want in your life. 

Know Your Values

When it comes down to it, your ideal day shows a lot about your values. What values do you recognize in your ideal life? 

Not sure? Check out this values list. Cross out values that don’t resonate. See if you can narrow it down to 5 that feel true to you and that you see in your ideal day. 

What does each value mean to you? We all understand concepts differently. For me, nature as a value might mean hiking every day or walking the beach, while for you it might mean time on the patio or in the yard, or volunteering to restore habitat near where you live.

Family for me might mean spending time with my husband and kids. For you, the most important thing might be showing up when a chosen group of people need you. You get to define your values. And understanding what you mean about a given value can help you live your values more deeply. 

Pick one value that resonates for you. Then ask yourself: 

  • How does this value already show up in my life? 
  • How could I live this value more? Can you bring more time or energy or even money to this value? 
  • What can I do today that aligns with this value? 

That last question is part of the way of weaving your ideal day into every day. When you weave in things that get at what you value and you really want, each day starts to feel more ideal. 

If you want to go deeper into creating a life you love every day, not an ideal life, but a real one that you love even when it’s messy, check out The Everyday Experience. Gain clarity on what truly lights you up and brings you joy — and get past “but I can’t do that” thinking. You’ll end up with space for the things that you really love and bring meaning to your days.

To YOUR Ideal Day!

3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love

Enter your details below and we'll send your free guide right over.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I’m Melanie!

I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.

I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.

Want to learn more?  Enter your info here to get my weekly blog post and journalling prompts sent right to your inbox.

Want to feel more engaged and energized? Get your copy of 3 Steps to a Meaningful Life You Love!