Do you set goals in your life? If you do, you’re on your way to a longer and healthier life starting now.
A study at Carleton University in California shows how merely picking a goal, almost no matter what you choose, is a health-booster.
- Setting goals can improve your memory.
- Having goals helps you live longer and young people who set goals will be healthier later in life.
- Even if you get cancer, simply listing and then adjusting your goals is beneficial.
Researcher Patrick Hill says, “Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose. So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur.”
Hill and colleague Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester Medical Center used data from 6,000 people in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study to analyze how having a purpose in life changed longevity. They examined people’s reported purposes in life and factored in other characteristics of their personalities.
The study shows that having a purpose in your life is good for your health at any age.
“To show that purpose predicts longer lives for younger and older adults alike is pretty interesting, and underscores the power of the construct,” Hill says.