This morning, I listened to a podcast by ‘Hidden Brain’ about living a purposeful life. This educational episode really got me thinking about my own life, my purpose and the way in which I value meaning in life. My goal has always been to live purposefully; I feel my best when I feel like I am consciously contributing to my self-development and adding value to the lives of people around me. Purpose plays a big role in this and should definitely not be underestimated.
Having a sense of direction, when it comes to the path you want to follow in life, is not something that is simple. Finding what inspires, motivates and excites you can be difficult to discover. Apart from that, this ‘purpose’ should ideally also be able to provide you economically. Especially when you are facing crossroads in life, and expected to make certain choices, you can easily be overwhelmed by what is supposed to be ‘the right thing to do’; often meaning choosing the most beneficial choice financially or in terms of status. People are regularly led by these external influences, which is in stark contrast with the essence of your purpose; something that is meant to find its core within the person, unbiased from other influences.
I also struggle to create a clear vision of what my purpose could look like. As for now, I am just approaching life step by step, whilst working on myself. Since I began my ‘new life’ in Amsterdam, I have started new habits that will hopefully lead to self-development, which in turn would ideally lead to discovering and realizing my purpose. Here is what a perfect day in my life would look like, when it comes to getting a head-start on my journey to a purposeful life.
First things first, on my ideal day, I wake up around 7:30 AM. Firstly, I put in my contacts so that I can make sense of the world around me ;). I then make my bed, open all my windows and my balcony door, take a shower, get dressed and do my make up. I like to start my day in active-wear; clothes that you can move easily in, but that also look stylish. I make myself some hot lemon water, to detoxify my body, and then start to prepare breakfast. Either oats with rice milk, cinnamon and nuts; yoghurt with fruits and honey; an omelet with herbs; bagels with peanut butter; or healthy, dairy-free pancakes. I put on Spotify’s ‘Coffee Table Jazz’ playlist to create the ambiance of a luxurious hotel. I make myself some coffee or tea and just enjoy my food. Lately I have been trying to not be on my phone, watch TV or do anything else that could disrupt my full attention from eating. Consciously being aware of what you put in your body is something I find more and more important. You taste everything with more care and you notice signals from your body (read: I am full!) more quickly, which prevents over-eating. This extra bit of attention is something that I try to incorporate into every aspect of my day; overall, I try to live more mindfully and really be present with whatever I am doing.
After breakfast, I usually like to get in some exercise. I put on an informative (often psychological) podcast such as ‘Hidden Brain’ or ‘The Happiness Lab’ whilst I do some yoga or whilst I go for a hike in the park. I find it important to move my body and get fresh air, each and every day. In Amsterdam, I basically walk or bike everywhere; so that is already great way to combine the two.
Once I finished my morning exercise, it is time to get even more inspired by other’s creations, or to create myself. This morning, I for example worked on some song lyrics; a project me and my boyfriend started. I also wrote this blog that you are currently reading. Being creative and seeing results in the forms of ‘end products’ such as a finished blogpost or a completed song lyrically, is something that makes me feel productive and motivates me.
Furthermore, reading is something I try to do each day, whether that is in between breakfast and lunch, in the late afternoon with a cup of green tea, or right before I go to bed (something I try to do every evening; it is a great way to disconnect from everything and get more relaxed). I am currently reading a psychological book (can you tell that I am an upcoming Psychology student 😉 ) about first impressions; extremely interesting! I am planning on finishing this book today, and starting the literary classic ‘The Alchemist’ tonight. I like to read a more informative and then a more fictional book at the same time; it takes off the pressure of all of the dense information and keeps the reading lighter!
On days that I don’t have to go to school or work, I still try to get out of the apartment at least once a day; it is important for me to get out there, be around new people and explore the city that is still new for me. I often run some errands in the heart of Amsterdam in the afternoon and from September onwards, school and work will start again as well. I can’t wait to meet new people and commence these new adventures that will obviously contribute to self-development in their own ways.
Something that is closely linked to what I described above, is getting out of my comfort zone. This is something so cliché, but something so crucial. Every day I try to do something that scares me a little bit. Living by myself, there are quite a lot of things that need to be dealt with. Some of these things really make me nervous, though that is a good thing! Making appointments, going on job interviews, approaching new people and many more things seem scary at first, but overcoming these minor obstacles really improve your self-confidence.
Organizing, cleaning and doing other typical ‘housewife-like’ activities also make me feel like I have everything together, which is a feeling I quite enjoy and contributes to my sense of daily productivity! Being able to take care of myself and organize most things alone was something I thought would be a challenge, but so far it has been amazing! Cooking is also something that falls into this category and that I find very important. I try to eat as varied and healthy as possible and reduce my food waste. Cooking for one person, this asks for quite some planning; but that’s fine too; another way to use my creativity!
I try to have as many social activities as well; such as a coffee-date with a neighbor, some quality time with my boyfriend or family, or contact with fellow students in Amsterdam, or just meeting new people in general. I am a real ambivert (someone who has both introverted as well as extraverted qualities), so in contrast to the large chunk of time I spend with myself, I love to be around others as well.
I usually end my day with an evening walk through the city, a nice self-care routine, a large mug of tea and a good book/show. I try to not go to bed too late, so that I can wake up the next day, feeling energized, refreshed and ready to have another hopefully purposeful day.
I hope you found this (rather long… oops!) blog interesting! I would love to hear what habits you try to incorporate into your life to create more meaning and eventually purpose, and also; are you conscious of this process? Or is it something that doesn’t really seem to affect your behavior and choices? I would love to hear your answers on these questions; feel free to type them in the comment section below!
I hope you have a great and meaningful day!