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Purpose vs. Lifestyle: Which One Is Better?

Two green smoothies side by side

Life is hard these days. Inflation has affected millions of households, worsening the already tough modern life. Yet, simultaneously, the opportunities seem endless. We are flooded with various new lifestyle trends, more roles in the work market, new academic fields, and the AI revolution, which shook everything we knew about jobs and marketing.

This is where a strong sense of purpose comes into play. It can help you move on with solid ground and improve your life despite the challenges and the changes. Having a purpose is also a way to outperform your competitors, earn more, impact others, and bring meaning to life.

Nevertheless, more than a strong sense of purpose is needed in most cases. A healthy lifestyle is also critical to keep your sanity under these circumstances. Whether it’s a workout program, smoothie diet (affiliate link), community activities, or practicing yoga or meditation, balancing your work with fun and relaxing activities is as important as working hard. It reduces the stress level and protects your soul.

Well, all good, but what to focus on? You might say. What is better – pursuing a purpose or lifestyle?

In today’s overwhelming reality, having a purpose and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is equally important. It’s all about balancing your ambitions to impact with nurturing yourself according to your needs.

In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the role of purpose and lifestyle in our lives, the common ground and the differences between them, and how to find what is suitable for your life now.

Disclaimer : The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and it is not a substitue for professional advice. The article may contain affiliate links. See the full disclaimer for more details.

What is purpose?

A sense of purpose is what gives your life meaning. It’s why you get up in the morning and keep moving forwards. When you have a strong sense of purpose, you’re more likely to overcome challenges and be fulfilled by your work.

There are many ways to find purpose in life. It could be through your career, meaningful relationships, fun hobbies, or volunteering in your community.

Having a sense of purpose makes you more likely to make choices that align with your values. It’s the feeling that you own and take responsibility for your life.

I wasn’t aware of that mindset until I reinvented myself as a content creator and spread my word. It’s not that there is no new stress and challenges that come from purpose-driven life, but they are worth it as long you live healthily and relax sometimes.

Why you should have a purpose

A public speaker in the dark while the camera flashlight turns on

Honestly, you can live without purpose. Many do so and maintain a steady mediocre life. That’s all fine. However, finding your purpose is your go-to if you want to get meaning from what you do and impact others.

There are numerous advantages to having a strong sense of purpose. For example, having a purpose has been shown to increase happiness, health, and resilience compared to those seeking pleasure1. In addition, some studies indicate that those who pursue purpose tend to live longer2. Finally, a strong sense of purpose can help you succeed in life.

Additionally, bearing a sense of purpose gives you something to strive for. This can help you stay motivated even when things get tough. For example, finding my purpose as a content creator on this blog gave me proportion and even helped me heal some of my chronic pains and symptoms.

A sense of purpose can motivate you to achieve your goals and feel like you are making a difference in your company, community, or society. For example, I became proud when I got my readers’ first feedback on my content. It felt like I finally got a direction that fit my strengths, needs, and values. All that has boosted my confidence and satisfaction with my work, motivating me to provide more helpful content.

What is lifestyle?

Your lifestyle is the way you live your life. It includes your habits, your day-to-day choices, and your values.

There are many ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Some people choose to eat a healthy diet, while others exercise regularly. Some people spend time in nature, while others prefer to connect with their community or travel the world.

Lifestyle is the way you live your life. Protecting animals and being vegan can be a value you hold. Or reduce the stress and pace the schedule more slowly. Maybe it’s the will to be more organized and stay modest with the bare minimum, aka minimalism.

Your lifestyle is a free choice but is also affected by your culture and education. For example, if you grew up in a hardworking family, you might also be motivated to work hard.

On the other hand, if your family is used to cooking healthy food, maybe you’ll follow the trend. Overall, though, lifestyle is highly influenced by new tech and new lifestyles we see on social media – for example, the hype to travel the world while working.

It’s interesting to note that what some lifestyles used to be rare now become widespread. The most obvious example of that is the digital nomad lifestyle.

Becoming a digital nomad has become more popular after the pandemic gradually ended. Nowadays, numerous people search for alternatives to the highly demanding corporate work routine and become digital nomads. They dare to leave their corporate 9-5 job to start their freelance business and travel the world.

Why is lifestyle important in modern life?

A man cycling in the field

Lifestyle is important in modern life because it can significantly impact our health, happiness, and overall well-being. Our lifestyle choices can affect our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. For example, eating a healthy diet 3, regular exercise 4), and getting enough sleep 5 are all important for maintaining good physical and mental health. Spending time with loved ones 6, pursuing hobbies, and engaging in activities we enjoy 7 can also help improve our overall well-being.

In addition to our physical and mental health, our lifestyle choices can also affect our relationships, careers, and financial situation. For example, maintaining healthy relationships and performing well at work can be difficult if you are constantly stressed and exhausted. On the other hand, if you take care of yourself physically and mentally, you are more likely to have the energy and focus to succeed.

In today’s fast-paced world, making healthy lifestyle choices is more important than ever. We can reduce stress and improve our overall well-being by caring for ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.

That becomes more critical when we try to pursue our dreams. Purpose-driven life brings new stressors and challenges as we spend more time in the forefront. That brings me to the next point.

How are purpose and lifestyle related?

Purpose and lifestyle are closely related. A sense of purpose gives our lives meaning, while our lifestyle affects our overall well-being. When we have a strong sense of purpose, we tend to live a healthy lifestyle, 8 and we’re more likely to be healthy, happy and fulfilled 9.

Both a sense of purpose and a healthy lifestyle help cope with challenges. However, while a strong sense of purpose may help us get a proportion on the challenges, the lifestyle provides a healthy system to protect us from overthinking our problems – for example, stress management and relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga, running group sessions, etc.

Also, both our lifestyle and purpose have a significant impact on our productivity level. When we live a healthy lifestyle 10 and have a purpose at work 11, we’re more likely to beat procrastination and be consistent at work.

To sum these points up, when we have a strong sense of purpose and live a healthy lifestyle, we’re more likely to function properly, and be happy, and fulfilled. So, focusing on purpose and lifestyle is essential if you want to improve your life.

The differences between purpose and lifestyle

Now let’s get into the exciting part. How do purpose and lifestyle differ from each other?

The answer to that question can help you determine which aspect is better for you now.

Well, while purpose and lifestyle can help improve quality of life, they do it differently. Here are five key differences between purpose and lifestyle:

1. Becoming the future self vs. living in the moment

An illustration of a cat seeing himself as a lion in the mirror

While purpose is more about your long-term goals, lifestyle is more about your day-to-day routines.

When you know your purpose, you do things concerning your future self. You have a vision of what is essential and less critical to obtain your goals. You have a plan. For example, when I decided to spread my experiences with purpose on this blog, I doubled down on writing content consistently and organized my free time accordingly.

On the other hand, lifestyle is how you live right now. That means enjoying the little things at home or doing something good and healthy. Whether it is a morning routine, going to the gym, meditating, reading books, meeting friends often, or adhering to a healthy diet.

Your purpose is the crossover to your desired future self, while your lifestyle is how you live now, nurturing yourself as you are.

This leads me to the next aspect.

2. Helping others vs. nurturing yourself

The purpose is more about helping others, while lifestyle is more about helping yourself.

Having a purpose is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how to harness those to make a difference and succeed. First, you must solve your audience’s problems to succeed in business. For that, you need to provide actionable value to the problem, ideally after you solve it yourself.

As an employee, you need to impact others positively and efficiently to get promoted and earn more. Success and impact usually come together in professional life.

Lifestyle, on the other hand, is nurturing yourself. It usually involves having fun and bringing stillness to your day. It can be a typical evening routine like chilling on the sofa after a long day at work and watching Netflix or going with the spouse to a quality restaurant for dinner once a week.

Lifestyle could be liberating too, such as traveling the world on your vacations or becoming a digital nomad who works remotely from exotic places.

Purpose usually refers to assisting others, while lifestyle is helping yourself. Both are important to become fulfilled and happier.

3. Why vs. how

This is a crucial distinction showcasing that purpose and lifestyle are sometimes tied to the same activity but play different roles.

For instance, if one needs to stay fit to become more confident and impactful, he’ll probably go to the gym x times a week. So, his fitness lifestyle is how he gets confidence, impacts others, and maintains a meaningful life, aka his purpose.

Now let’s take someone who believes in minimalism. She dedicates her energies to this lifestyle and encourages others in her town to live more minimalistic to improve their lives and the world around them. Maybe she even opened a Facebook group to spread minimalism even more, which eventually became her purpose.

So, in many cases, purpose and lifestyle become one thing instead of balancing each other, as previously shown. In such cases, the sense of purpose is either the reason behind or the result of the lifestyle.

4. Expertise vs. freestyle

A lab microscop used by two hands with light blue gloves

To pursue your purpose, you need expertise in your field. You can gain that through education, professional courses for relevant skills, qualities, work experience, or understanding of the niche’s audience (if you are a content creator).

You can’t be impactful without these things. The so-called “talent” also plays a role here. You bet on having the talent to do everything better than the rest in that niche or job to outperform your competitors. Some of that comes naturally, and some you develop over time and hard work.

Choosing a lifestyle is an entirely different story. You can start a diet, run in the evenings, or live as a nomad, without the expertise requirement. It’s freestyle.

That’s not to say you don’t need to learn and practice the new lifestyle. Sure. It’s best to be diligent and consistent to get the benefits of the lifestyle, but expertise is less necessary here. However, with purpose, it’s a must, as it revolves around impacting other people’s lives.

5. Feedback-based vs. Independent

Purpose is co-developed internally – by your ambitions and passions, and externally – by the feedback of your audience, employer, clients, community, and so on. When you start marching on a path, you get criticized and praised and get changing results. For example, you’ll see more traffic to your site or fewer subscribers to your channel. Those things help to tune your path and specify a better niche or customize the content style to impact better.

When you choose a lifestyle, you don’t rely on that feedback. You are relatively free to keep going with this lifestyle or change it. The feedback you get is from yourself. You might adjust or change this lifestyle if you don’t enjoy it as expected.

You might think, wait a minute, my fitness trainer advises me constantly to adjust my training program. That’s indeed true. However, you are still the captain of that ship. In most cases, you decide how to stir the way you live.

Even when life events shake everything, we can choose how to live our lives from that point.

The key difference here is that success is evaluated differently. You decide how many times you meditate each week and how long each session will be. If you meditate less, no probleme – it doesn’t affect others. Only you are the one who maybe gets fewer benefits from that lifestyle.

In other words, you can choose your lifestyle regardless of talents, skills, and all those critical components for your purpose.

Find your balance between purpose-driven life and a healthy lifestyle

Purpose and lifestyle are both critical to life. There is no doubt about that. Knowing your purpose can empower your resilience and support self-fulfillment. Lifestyle helps you to chill in your free time, release stress, and appreciate what you have. The lifestyle is the way you balance your purpose-driven life.

Although purpose and lifestyle differ in many ways, they are also closely related. For example, when we have a strong sense of purpose, we’re more likely to make choices that align with our values and live a healthy lifestyle. And when we live a healthy lifestyle, we’re more likely to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled, which can help us to live with a greater sense of purpose.

You can perceive purpose and lifestyle as two aspects that complement each other. Each has value in your life and can help you achieve your goals. The key is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and have a sense of purpose to grow while preserving sanity.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether purpose or lifestyle is more important. So instead, ask yourself what matters to you now in your life. Is it pivoting at your job and daring to live your dreams, or putting things together and having a steady, healthy routine?

Journal about it, meditate on that.

Ultimately, the best way to find a balance between purpose and lifestyle is to experiment and see what works for you and consult with your friends, family members, and, if necessary, even professionals. There is no right or wrong answer, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Finding a balance between purpose and lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, effort, and self-reflection. But if you are willing to work, you can find a way to live a meaningful and enjoyable life.

Hope you found this article helpful. Check these step-by-step guides to find your purpose and lifestyle.

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  9. See footnote number 1[]
  10. BND, Want to Get More Done at Work? Eat Better[]
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