5 Simple Ways to Find Meaning in Your Life

Reconnecting with Your Sense of Purpose is Possible

Life can be hard. And we each have our own individual challenges and struggles to contend with. Can you relate to this message we received recently?

“I’m writing because I just don’t see the point in trying to be hopeful and look forward to new experiences in life. It doesn’t seem to matter what I try or how hard I work, there’s always something disappointing or discouraging on the news, or something frustrating in my personal life. I wish I could feel more inspired, and more connected with my purpose, but I don’t know what to do differently to get to that point.”

You’re definitely not alone if you’re struggling to find a sense of meaning in your life. I get it. I know how frustrating it is to feel like there’s nothing new to look forward to, and nothing meaningful you can do to make a difference.

But I have found inspiration in some unexpected places. Here are some simple things you can try to feel more inspired to be hopeful, reconnect with your purpose, and find a sense of meaning in your life.

How to Find Meaning

1. Start with Creativity

Many of the musicians, painters, writers, photographers, and chefs we admire got to where they are today because they found beauty and excitement in their chosen art form and thought, “Hey, I could do that”. When in doubt about where to turn for inspiration, start by spending time exploring art forms you think are particularly beautiful or interesting, just to see what jumps out:

  • Do you like the sound of a favorite song? Maybe you can try learning that instrument.
  • Is there a beat or sound that always jumps out at you? You can try making your own on a sound mixing or DJ app.
  • Think about your favorite meals. What keeps you coming back to those restaurants, or watching those cooking shows? Is there a recipe you can try at home to build your cooking or baking skills?
  • Are you mesmerized by dance or ballet? Think of what it would be like to learn a dance routine, or even to try exercise programs with dance-like, rhythmic movements.
  • The next time you read your favorite book, think about why it’s your favorite. Can you place yourself in a similar story, or write something from your favorite character’s perspective?

2. Become a Problem Solver

Some of the most interesting turns our lives can take happen when we notice a problem and do what we can to solve it. For example:

  • If you love dogs, you could find a whole new sense of purpose by volunteering for an animal shelter or fostering a pet.
  • If you’ve ever experienced prejudice or discrimination, you might draw inspiration from the history of civil rights movements, and get to know a local organization who you identify and connect with.
  • If you’ve noticed there’s not a lot of green space in your neighborhood, it might be fun to explore the idea of planting a community garden.

There are lots of possibilities when it comes to finding inspiration to become a problem solver. If you’re not sure where to start, try thinking back on your life up to this point:

  • What are some problems or hang-ups you’ve had to overcome in your life? Did any of your growth inspire you to help others in tough situations?
  • Who made a difference for you? Is there someone in your life or your neighborhood who could use a similar helping hand right now?

3. Change Your Scenery

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I realize that the reason I no longer feel inspired is that I’m stuck in a rut. If it feels like you’ve been seeing and doing the same thing every day, you may need a change of scenery.

Sure, you may not be able to take a lavish trip around the world. But even small changes in our routine and our surroundings can make a surprising difference when it comes to feeling inspired. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Go for a drive. Getting in the car and hitting the road, even just for a ride around town or down some country roads, can be just the thing to shake off the blues. It’s also a great way to have some time alone with your thoughts, which can be a source of inspiration all its own.
  • Walk around your neighborhood. Start taking daily walks around your neighborhood. Is there anything you notice along the way that reminds you of the beauty of nature, of a fun memory with friends, or of something fun you and your family tried together? Maybe you can take some pictures on your walk, or sit on a bench and journal about what comes to mind for you during these times.
  • Try a new food. Trying a new dish or a new type of cuisine is a great way to shake up our routine and get ourselves inspired without having to travel far. Is there a type of international food near you you’ve always wanted to try? Maybe you could order takeout from that restaurant, then spend the evening watching a film or listening to music from that culture. You never know, you may find a favorite food, and a whole new set of interests.

4. Think About What Makes You Unique

Have you ever thought about what makes you unique? There’s only one you, after all. And taking time to think about what makes you unique can be a great way to feel more hopeful and inspired about ways you can bring your unique gifts and talents out in your own day-to-day life, and use them to uplift the people around you:

  • What are you good at? What comes naturally to you? This could be a hobby, a skill, an artistic talent, or a personal strength.
    • How can you find joy in that gift or talent? What are some ways you can share that joy with the people in your life?

If you’ve got musical or singing chops, maybe you can share a video of your songs with friends. If you’re a talented writer, maybe you can send someone you care about a poem or a story. If you have a knack for making others feel better, you can send a few letters and cards every month to people in your life. Any of these steps can open up a new connection, can inspire you to try new things, or can help you form a sense of community around your interests

Thinking about what makes me unique is also helpful when I’m thinking about how my spiritual beliefs are connected to my sense of meaning.

Are you open to thinking about why you were created and put on this earth? If so, how does it make you feel to know that God gave you gifts, talents and skills all your own for you to develop and use to bring a sense of meaning to yourself and others.

5. Ask for Ideas

Sometimes getting an outside perspective is really helpful in our quest to feel more purposeful and inspired. Who do you look up to? Ask them what they do to lift their spirits, get out of a funk, and look at things in a new way.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything, we are here for you. A mentor can give you a whole new way of looking at your challenges, your routine, or your skills and talents, to help you feel more purposeful.

Talk to a Hope Coach today about finding meaning and unexpected inspiration to see what new ideas you can come up with together. We're here for you, and we are excited to learn about you and your unique talents.

Knowing how to feel better can be hard during tough times, but it can help to practice gratitude. Here are 5 ways to practice gratitude and feel better. 

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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