Medically reviewed by, Russell Braun RPH
Think about a time when you had that feeling of being in your are in your element. Feeling fulfilled and like you can take on the world, because you know exactly what your doing and why. When the difference you make in this world is clear. That is what having a core purpose is really all about.
Having a clearly defined core purpose is vital to your health. Most people may not think about purpose and their health but the research has shown they are linked. Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning reduces stress, which is a culprit in nearly every chronic disease.
Once you are diagnosed with a chronic disease you may feel like your life is divided in two phases:
- When you were healthy before the diagnosis (BD)
- Now that you are “sick” after diagnosis (AD)
If you don’t know your core purpose then you can easily find yourself changing your life plans. A new chronic disease may have you thinking you can’t do the things you thought you would. That can lead to depression and anxiety, which becomes a viscous downward spiral.
1. Why Is a Core Purpose Important?
A deeply held core purpose helps give you a sense of identity. It is vitally important because it can change the the following:
- The way you think
- Your decisions
- The actions you take
Your core purpose is a reminder of who you are. Look at the two examples below and think about how a purpose relates to each one.
Eats a lot of junk food and smokes. Figures “something” will get him some day. Doesn’t have energy to help around the house and it leads to frequent arguments. He usually goes to the local bar afterword to cool off.
Has never been taught about how to eat healthy, but works out sometimes. Puts his wife and kids needs above himself because they mean so much. Looks forward to being able to travel when kids are grown.
You can see that both of these examples have the potential for chronic disease. However, when that problem arises, which do you think will be more likely to turn things around?
This is why core purpose is so important, because it helps remind us who we truly are. That becomes a rallying point for beating a chronic disease. It is the thing that is going to get you out of bed every morning, excited for the day.
2. What Is Your Core Purpose In Life?
Many people may have never thought about what your core purpose in life is. Why do you exist? Is it to provide social media posts that other people can endlessly scroll through? My guess is, given some thought you want more than that.
In general some guidelines for a core purpose include:
1. It is big and something you aspire toward and may not ever be fully completed
- This is not a goal, it is bigger than that.
2. You should be in control of it.
- Core purpose can’t be dependent on someone else.
3. It should be broad enough to keep you inspired
- There needs to be a balance so it is also specific enough that your actions align with it.
Here are questions to ask when trying to figure out your core purpose:
- Why do you think you were put here on earth?
- What would be lost if you did not exist or were no longer around?
- Why are you important to the people around you?
- Do you think your purpose will still be valid in 50 years?
3. How Do I Find My Core Purpose?
To find your core purpose think about it in reverse order. Instead of thinking about what you want it to be, try envisioning what people will say when your gone.
What would people say at your funeral? While it may be hard to consider, envision your eulogy being read during your funeral. Will your chronic disease be the reason your life was cut short?
Based on your life up to present day, what do they say? Think about all the things your proud that you have accomplished. Those would surely be part of the eulogy, wouldn’t they?
What about all the things you wanted to accomplish but didn’t have time to get to? Did chronic disease keep you from reaching goals? Did it alter the path of your life and limit you in many ways?
Preventing that scenario is why having a core purpose for your health is vitally important.
The Future With a Well Defined Purpose
Now envision your eulogy being read far in the future. The disease is a minor part of your distant past and they focus on all the good things you have done with your life.
- Write out what you want people to say about you.
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- Detail what people, groups and organizations you had the biggest impact on.
- What obstacles did you overcome?
Compare the eulogy you wrote out for the future to your initial one focused on present day. How different are they? Can you see why having a purpose is important to ensuring that future comes true?
4. How Do You Write a Core Purpose Statement?
After you have written out the future eulogy, coming up with a core purpose is much simpler. You can scan that eulogy and find what your real values are. This list will be filled with family, friends adventures and education that fulfill you.
Your going to create a Core Purpose Statement (CPS) that will help you cut the constant barrage of present day distractions. What you will not see is the stress of day to day life. The little things you think must be done and are so utterly important in the present moment.
Start With Values
- Make a list of these core values from your future eulogy.
- Write out why each of these values is important.
- Go through the list again look at your first why response and ask why that is important again.
- Determine if your health is required to fulfill the core value and why.
|Core Values||Why is it important?||Why is that important?||Healthy required & why?|
What Makes You Unique?
Think about what you provide to others that nobody else can. For example a daughter needs here mother and there are few people in the world who could fulfill that role. Basically, how to you enhance the lives of others?
Combine Values and Who They Impact Into Your CPS
Using the sentence template below write out your personal CPS. Considering the values you outlined and how your uniqueness allows you to transfer those values to the world around you.
The Core Purpose Sentence Structure
“My purpose is to live with integrity and empathy, to be a positive force for my family.”
“I find purpose in having a positive mindset so that I can be happy and healthy and reduce the burden on my family of living with diabetes.”
“My purpose is to set a positive example of how to eat healthy for my kids so they do not wind up with diabetes like my father and I.”
You can combine a few sentences together by dropping the “My purpose” from sentence two and adding “In addition.” This will allow you to incorporate all of your values into a core purpose statement.
The most important thing about a core purpose statement is that it is meaningful. Specifically, that it is meaningful to you. When you finally write it out you will feel a strong sense of conviction that you have it right.
5. Tracking Progress Toward Your Core Purpose
Congratulations, creating a CPS puts you ahead of most people. You’re going to be amazed how thinking about and making sure your daily decisions align with that purpose will transform your life.
Print off and put that purpose in plain site where you see it every day. Put it on your bathroom mirror, at your desk and anywhere else you spend a good deal of time.
Remember to think about that purpose and let it help drive the decisions you make. Consistency is the key, as the famous quote says:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
thoughts become your words,
words become your actions,
actions become your habits,
habits become your values,
values become your destiny”-Gandhi
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Share Your Story
Do you know your core purpose? Chime in below with your comments and thoughts.