Purpose and Optimal Wellbeing
“Our analysis found that participants’ sense of purpose was positively associated with their reports of both vigorous and moderate activity, vegetable intake, flossing, and sleep quality,” Patrick Hill said, referencing his recent studied published in the Journal of Health Psychology.
In the Habits of Health, we often talk about ideas like organizing your life around what matters most or living a purpose-driven life. The challenge that many people face with these ideas is that they feel much less concrete than other aspects of health. Lifting weights or eating healthier foods are tangible actions. We do and see the choices we are making, but what gym membership do you need to get purpose? What aisle in the grocery story stocks purpose?
Purpose is different for every individual, and it might be multilayered. Many of our clients in OPTAVIA first come to the community because they want to lose weight. They don’t like how they look and feel, and they want a change.
Once they meet our coaches, they learn that the rewards for optimal wellbeing are far deeper than they initially realized. Yes, they can lose weight, but losing weight means the opportunity to potentially live a longer, more active life. And that means more time to create memories with the people you love.
In addition to their families, many of our health coaches find purpose in helping others and enhancing their communities. Much of this purpose comes from their work as health coaches, but they also often volunteer or stay actively involved in causes close to their hearts.
For you, your family is likely a strong place to start with purpose, and that purpose can come into play any time you have to choose between a Habit of Health or a Habit of Disease.
Do you remember Stop. Challenge. Choose. and the process behind it? The part where you pause to challenge yourself, the moment where you step back and take into consideration what choice will bring you closer to what matters most to you—that’s one place where purpose can make a big difference. That candy bar might be tempting, but if eating that candy means less time to spend with your daughter (because it takes you farther down the path of obesity), which choice are you more likely to make?
The broader implications of finding your purpose, such as the direction you take your career and perhaps even where you live, are big questions to tackle. Your overall wellbeing will benefit from you starting to think about them, but you don’t need to have all of the answers overnight. For now, identify what matters most to you in your life and talk to your health coach about how you can incorporate that insight into your health journey.