Living WITH purpose or living ON purpose?

“Those with meaning in life are happier and healthier than those without it.”

(Dr Dilip Jeste, University of California, San Diego)

An increasing number of studies in various scientific fields point out that there is a close relationship between the presence of meaning in life and a higher level of physical and mental wellbeing

That’s nothing new, of course. Most of us probably share the view that searching for and finding a purpose in life can have significant positive effects on our health and wellbeing.

Living with purpose – What does this actually mean?

Do you know your purpose? Do you have a vision for your life?

If these questions feel a bit overwhelming, or confusing, or uncomfortable – relax!

Our thoughts about life’s purpose don’t have to be complicated.

We can decide that it’s not necessary to dive deep into philosophical or spiritual or scientific discussions.

The definition of ‘purpose’ could be as clear, simple, and practical as this one:

The purpose of life is living on purpose.

In this understanding, living our purpose means deliberately assigning a meaning to our life and to who we are and what we (want to) do while we are here on this planet.

Living on purpose means living intentionally.

It’s deliberately thinking, feeling, and doing what we want to think, feel, and do – so it’s the opposite of living on default or autopilot.

It requires us to know and honour what matters to us – what we most value in our life, what we feel passionate about, and what we think and appreciate about ourselves.

Living on purpose provides us with clarity, guidance and direction. It takes away confusion or frustration, instead it gives us something to work towards.

Living on purpose also creates inspiration and motivation – so we get the energy and passion we need to move forward.

How can you find out how living with/on purpose could look like for you?

The following exercises intend to help you develop your very personal and individual idea of purpose, so that you can apply in your life to give it direction and meaning.

You can go through all the excises or just choose one or two.

EXERCISE 1 – Ask your future self

Most of us have an idea of our life’s purpose inside of us – whether we’re consciously aware of it or not.

Getting some input from our future self can help us become more aware of what purpose means to us.

Lean back and imagine your future self celebrating her 90th birthdaycompletely happy and proudly looking back over her life.

Take a piece of paper and a pen, and allow yourself some quiet time to think about the story of your life from her – your future self’s – point of view.

You can start by letting your future self answer questions like these:

  1. How do you describe yourself? What story do you tell about yourself?
  2. What do you think and feel about yourself?
  3. What do you especially like about your life? About yourself?
  4. What is it about you that the people at your birthday party truly value?
  5. What have you achieved in your life? Which challenges have you overcome? What are you particularly proud of?
  6. What added meaning to your life and gives you a sense of fulfillment?
  7. What did you enjoy most in your life?
  8. If you consider the most important areas in your life – how do you think and feel about them, now looking back at them at this point in life? Have a closer look at:
  • your relationships (partner, family members, friends, colleagues, …),
  • your work/career,
  • your health and fitness,
  • your home,
  • your finances,
  • your leisure and community activities,
  • your …

EXERCISE 2 – Create a vision for your future

It is very important to ensure that our short term and long term goals fit into the bigger perspective of our life.

This exercise helps you understand the bigger picture of your life. As soon as you have a clearer idea – a vision – of your life, you’ll find it much easier to articulate and prioritise your short and long term goals and to develop action plans.  

Where do you ultimately want to get to in your life?

Imagine there were no obstacles and you had a magic wand and could create whatever you wanted.

What do you want to be doing / how do you want to be living / who do you want to be

  • at the end of your life
  • 20 years from now
  • 10 years from now
  • 5 years from now
  • 1 year from now

EXERCISE 3 – Create a 3-month vision board

This simple exercise helps you identify what meaningful short-term changes your want to make in your life across different life-areas.

Allow yourself 30 to 60 minutes to consider the following questions to help you create your personal vision for the next 3 months.

Write your answers in the present tense, and be as specific as you can.

A) How do you want your life to be different in 3 months time?

Write below which changes (if any) you wish to make in the important areas of your life within the next 3 months:

  • your relationships (partner, family members, friends, colleagues, …),
  • your work/career,
  • your health and fitness,
  • your home,
  • your finances,
  • your leisure and community activities,
  • your …

B) What is the most important change/goal your want to realise over the next 3 months?

C) If you have achieved this important change – how will your ‘ideal day’ look like in 3 months from now? What will be different compared to today? What are you thinking and feeling, what are you doing (or not doing), etc.

EXERCISE 4 – 3 little powerful questions

If you prefer to focus on just a few questions that can help you get a clearer idea of the priorities in your life you could consider these:

  • What are you currently excited about in your life?
  • What does it mean to you to have a full and rich life?
  • How could you have more fun and joy in your life?

You will probably not arrive at a final definition of your personal idea of living on purpose just by doing some little exercises.

But anything that’s helping us finding our priorities in life will make it easier to move forward in a meaningful and intentional way.

In one of the next articles we will discuss why we need to understand and honour our personal values if we want to live on purpose. 

Exercise 1 (see above) suggests to imagine your future self and what she would be answering if you asked her about the purpose of/in your life. 

The free guide (pdf-file) ‘Talk to your future self’ explains the idea of our future self and how she can help us living our life successfully in more detail. 

Click on the image to download the free guide to your future self.

How to talk to your future self

Decluttering our home AND our mind makes starting something new easier

The benefits of a clutterfree life:

Letting go of the things and the thoughts that no longer serve us sets us free to move on with more order and space in our home and mind.

A clutterfree start is a better and easier start.

The beginning of a new phase in our life can be a great opportunity to give ourselves a general fresh start – creating more space, freedom and lightness in all areas of our life.

The start of a new year represents such a new beginning.

Other examples of new opportunities for a fresh start are:

  • Ending a relationship, or starting a new relationship
  • Renovating the house
  • Moving to a new place
  • Having a baby
  • Starting a new job
  • Entering retirement
  • Becoming an empty nester

These and other new beginnings become easier if we don’t burden them with the stuff of the past. We don’t want to take along what might hold us back in the new stage of our life.

It can be a relief to deliberately decide what no longer serves us and let it go before we move on.

So how can we organise and manage the decluttering of our life successfully?

How can we clear up our home AND our mind?

The three main steps of any decluttering project

are always the same –whether we declutter and organise our home or our mind:


We take everything out, we sort and categorise it. What are the things – what are the thoughts and the feelings – that serve us, and what are the ones that burden/hurt us?


We honour our values, needs, and goals by deliberately letting go of the things – and the thoughts/feelings – we no longer need/love/want to use.


We reorganise the things – and the thoughts/feelings – we want to keep in a way that serves us, and we move on with clarity, space, and lightness.

More detailed information and examples of decluttering projects can be found here:


Small-steps decluttering – The benefits of 20 minutes sessions – And how to organise them – CLICK TO READ

The ‘Small-steps-approach’ helps us to get started with decluttering – An example decluttering project. – CLICK TO READ


We are the owners of our mind – and the mental clutter – CLICK TO READ

How to declutter and organise our thoughts – CLICK TO READ

Enjoy the clutterfree start – whether it’s the beginning of a new year or of a new phase in your life.

The ‘Feeling-Better Self-Coaching Program’ offers 3 easy-to-do exercises over the course of 12 days to clear up your mind and your home.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the ‘Feeling-Better Program’.

You are the storyteller of your own life

“How we see ourselves is the most important factor in what we will do and the results we will get in our lives.” (Brooke Castillo, The Life Coach School)

How to declutter your thoughts about you

The stories we tell ourselves determine how we show up in life and how we show up in life determines the results we get.

If we want to make changes in our life, we have change the stories/thoughts in our mind.

First, we have to become aware of the stories we tell about ourselves. And then we re-write those parts that we no longer like.

We clean up the thoughts we think about ourselves. We declutter any self-limiting thoughts and replace them with new thoughts.

Supported by our new thoughts about ourselves we can start to feel differently and act differently, more in accordance with who and how we want to be. 

What thoughts do you think about yourself?

Our thoughts often are so ‘normal’ and common that we don’t realise we have them. We have to learn to pay close attention to what’s going on in our mind.

Ask yourself – and write it down! – :

  • What do I think about myself? About my personality?
  • What do I think about my abilities? About my weaknesses?
  • What do I think about my accomplishments? About my failures?
  • What do I think about myself compared to others?
  • What do I think about my life?
  • What do I think about important parts of my life (my relationships, my finances, my work, my home, etc.)?
  • What do I think about my past?
  • What do I think about my future?
  • What else do you think is important to think about?

What is your story?

If your life was a book, what would the title be? What would the titles of the chapters be?

Use the questions listed above as a guideline and start to write down your story. Don’t overthink it, just start writing. Trust yourself and don’t hold yourself back, tell yourself all your thoughts about yourself and your life.

What do you like about your story? What don’t you like?

Write it down. Think about it.

What is your new story?

Now start to write the story you want to tell about youThere are no limits to who you want to be.

You can but you don’t have to consider your past achievements or your abilities. And if you decide to include any past failures or mistakes, or missed opportunities or painful experiences, you want to use them as examples of the many learning and growing experiences in your life.

Useful questions to ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to be?
  • How do I want to define myself?
  • How do I want to think about myself?
  • How do I want to feel about myself?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What do I want my story to be? What are the titles of my new story and its chapters?
  • What else do you want to ask yourself – and answer?

For many of us, putting ourselves in the centre of our attention and care feels a bit weird.

Thinking about ourselves and uncovering the stories we have been telling ourselves (and others) about our life and about ourselves are activities we are not used to and we have not been trained to do.

So it’s important that you don’t try to rush through the process. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like noticing, observing, evaluating your thoughts about yourself. Take your time, be patient and passionate with yourself, take care of yourself.

Always remember: The stories you tell about yourself, the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself – they are all choices. You can but you don’t have to keep them.

You are the storyteller. You can edit and change the story of your life and you can exchange the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself – at any time.

“You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not.” (Isabel Allende)

How do you feel as the storyteller of your life?

Do you wish you had some support while you are uncovering the self-limiting parts of your old story and creating the new more powerful story of your life?

Talking about our stories helps changing them.

Schedule your free coaching session now

How to get unstuck at 50plus – LIVING AND ENJOYING LIFE ON PURPOSE


It’s not difficult to get a bit stuck when we turn 50 or older. Maybe it’s even quite ‘normal’ to feel somehow frustrated at this time of our life?

Whatever our personal challenges are, many of us find it increasingly difficult to feel excited about our current and future life.

Deep down we know that there must be more out there for us but we feel unsure where to find the meaningfulness we yearn for in our life.

And realising that most probably more than half of our time on this planet has gone by doesn’t help to lighten the mood.

So how can we get unstuck and excited about ourselves and our life again?

We make a courageous decision – the decision to start living on purpose again.

We decide to take our life back in our hands and to get clear on who we want to be and how we want to live our life, now and in future.

The great thing is that we have all we need to get started making changes now:

We own the most important change-management tool in the world – the human mind.

Our mind – the thoughts we are thinking – determines how our life looks like and how we feel about ourselves:

Our thoughts create our feelings – which fuel our actions – which create the results in our life.

If we learn how to let go of limiting thoughts and feelings, we start creating space in our mind and we can move on with new and more powerful thoughts, feelings, and actions.


Living on purpose means thinking, feeling and acting on purpose.

It’s a skill that’s particularly useful at 50plus because it helps us shift our focus:

Instead of sticking to the past we turn around and start moving into an exciting future again.

Mind-decluttering is very similar to home-decluttering

The mind-decluttering steps of my clearly structured Living on Purpose Program are actually very similar to the steps we take when we declutter our physical belongings.

Imagine you decide to declutter your wardrobe.

  • You first take everything out so that you get a clear idea of all the clothes you currently have.
  • You then make some tough decisions about the stuff that doesn’t serve you (any longer). You get rid of everything you no longer need or want to have in your wardrobe.
  • And then you have gained new space to reorganise everything so that your clothes are easily accessible and usable. Now you can enjoy your wardrobe and what’s in there again.

The Living on Purpose Program follows the same 3 steps:

The Living on Purpose at 50plus Program

The major goal of the Living on Purpose Program is to help you let go of limiting thoughts and feelings so that you can move on with you life, with purpose and passion.

The second goal is to help you enjoy the mind-decluttering process and create positive results as quickly and easily as possible.

We achieve these goals with the help of a comprehensive ‘mind-decluttering tool box’ of various cognitive behavioural concepts and exercises.

During our one-on-one coaching sessions you learn to understand yourself and your thoughts, feelings, and actions better. Additional homework-exercises help you to practice your mind-decluttering skills in your daily life.

You get better and better at understanding how your mind works and how you can use this powerful tool to solve problems, make changes and achieve goals. 

The benefits of the Living on Purpose Program

At the end of the program, you will have a clutterfree mind and a clear idea of

  • who you are,
  • how you want to show up in your life and
  • how you can get from where you are now to where you want to be.

You will feel good about yourself and your life – and you will be very good at living on purpose!

Are you curious now to learn more about my mind-decluttering coaching approach and how it can help you create the life you want?

Let’s talk:

Schedule your free coaching session now