Your purpose in life can change: Here are four signs yours has

Is your purpose driving you forward or holding you back? Here’s how to tell if your purpose needs changing. 

As our journeys in life often involve unexpected detours and scenic routes, so might your purpose. Can your life's purpose do a complete 180? Absolutely. What lit your fire yesterday might not even register in your later life. And guess what? That's perfectly normal. The key is just to clock when you are evolving. A study has shown that whilst most of us insist we won’t change our minds, we are far more likely to than we think. Big life events like having kids or getting married or divorced are going to shift our priorities. Even studying a new subject, meeting a new friend or starting a job can catapult our lives in a different direction. If you’re 22 reading this, future 45-year-old you may hold different aspects of life important than you do now – so, for that reason, it’s good to keep a check up on whether you are still on the right path. You don’t want your old purpose to hold you back from growing in a new direction.  

The four signs your purpose is changing

1 - You feel stuck in a rut 

If you struggle to remember what day it is, and life just feels like a loop of to-dos that you’re not excited to tick off – you’re likely in a rut. We’ve all got chores we need to complete but having a purpose means having a drive to do something that makes you happy. If you wake up in the morning and there’s nothing you feel excited to do in your day, your purpose might have changed. When we are stuck doing the same thing every day, we aren’t building as many neuropathways, which keep our mind sharp – especially good as we age too. “Motion is lotion,” explains our purpose expert Ani Naqvi. “When we rest too much, we start to rust.” If you're stuck in a rut, you might need to switch some things up to discover what life’s joys are to you. Whether it’s spending time in new places or picking up a new hobby, try stepping out of your comfort zone.  

 

Read our article: How to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

 

2- You feel dissatisfied 

This is a clear signal that you’re spending too much time doing things that don’t fulfil you. The things that used to excite us, might stop doing that. When you set your heart on something and set the goals to achieve it, you can lose track of why you’re doing it in the first place. This is quite a common feeling when your career starts to overshadow your purpose. 

“I get a lot of clients that are over 40, that are quite senior executives,” explains Ani. “They've done all the things that society has told them to do. They've gone and got the degree. They've got the job, the house, the family, the cars. They've got the luxury holidays and they've maybe even got their own business. But they're not happy. They're not fulfilled, they're not satisfied. And that's because they've been chasing after an idea of success rather than what's truly making them happy. They've sacrificed, their time for money by working long hours. They've sacrificed joy for prestige, for getting promotions. So, it’s about remembering what's truly important and aligning body, mind and soul.” 

Whether it’s working late hours, spending more time in the gym or training in any kind of craft– if you feel like you're sacrificing your time and still not feeling satisfied with the result, it might be time to reassess your purpose. Keeping a joy journal is a great way to stay aligned with your true self.  

 

Try our guide here: Live a life with more purpose in just 1 week. 

 

3- You feel lost 

Ani describes feeling a sense of purpose like ‘following a north star’. Having a purpose will give you direction. If you’re feeling lost, like you don’t how you want to spend your time or you’re constantly putting other people’s wants and needs before your own – your purpose might be changing.  

This can often happen when we have people dependent on us e.g. having children or caring for someone in need. “It happens with parents all the time, because when people have children, their lives get totally consumed,” explains Ani. “Their primary thing is to keep that child alive and they can lose sight of who they are. Once the children become teenagers and they're about to be empty nesters, that's when they start to question: who am I? I've been a mum all this time or a dad all this time, but who am I now?” While you might not always live your purpose, it will always be there. If you’re feeling lost in this way, that’s when you need to start rediscovering what fires you up, reminding yourself what’s important to you and incorporate more of those things into your life.  

 

Read: No idea what you want from life, here’s how to find your purpose and start living it.  

 

4- You’re questioning everything 

You might have thought you knew what you were doing with your life, until something caused you to rethink everything. A lot of the time, this can happen after experiencing trauma. The resulting strong emotions can shift your perspective of what’s important.  

“A traumatic incident, whether it happens once, multiple times or repeated long-term exposure can have a huge impact on psychological and physical wellbeing,” explains Health Psychologist Dr. Ravi Gill, who specialises in trauma.  “Experiencing trauma can lead individuals to re-evaluate their lives and priorities, prompting a search for meaning and purpose to help cope with the traumatic distress and make sense of their experiences. This process is known as post-traumatic growth and often involves finding new strengths, values, and goals that can provide a sense of direction and fulfilment.”  

That’s why for some, like our purpose expert Ani, a traumatic experience can lead to a refocusing on what’s important – a new sense of purpose. "Psychologically, it can involve a shift in perspective, increased resilience, and a deeper understanding of one's own identity and values,” notes Gill. “This can lead to a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life as individuals navigate their recovery and incorporate their experiences into their sense of self.” 

If you feel like you fit into this category, watch our inspiring expert Ani Naqvi talk about how trauma shaped her future

 

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans is a copywriter with a strong appetite for thought-provoking stories, travel and anything covered in white chocolate. With a background working in the fast-paced television industry, she has learnt the importance of self-care and downtime and believes there’s no such thing as too many candles. She is passionate and committed to her lifelong search for the perfect meal and subscribes to the doctrine that ‘if you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love somebody else’ (Ru Paul).