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Ikigai in new beginnings

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Are you ready to welcome a fresh start with purpose? Do you want to set goals that sync with your values and strengths? Do you wonder if reaching these goals will bring fulfillment and joy?

Using your ikigai can guide your determinations for success and enjoyment. Ikigai is the Japanese concept for living a life of purpose and worth – simply put, a reason for living. It involves four components comprised of:

            – your passions

            – your skills

            – your vocation or career

            – your mission in life

Overlapping are elements that play a role in these components:

            – what you love to do

            – what you are good at

            – what the world needs

            – what you can do and be compensated for

When the four components are fulfilled by the elements that support it, ikigai can flow smoothly leading to experiences that cultivate enduring happiness. It not only benefits you, but also others in the world.

And bringing it into a new beginning can be just the thing needed to set meaningful goals.


Before setting goals, take time to reflect on the past as well as your current values and goals.

Ask yourself such questions as:

            – What did I accomplish recently? / What do I want to accomplish going forward?

            – How did it make me feel? / What do I want to feel?

            – Who did I help? / Who do I want to help?

            – What’s important to me?

            – How can I assist others and make a difference in the world?

            – What skills do I have?

            – What brings me joy?

Contemplating what purpose you’ve been serving and adjusting it to meet your future goals can support determinations that fit you.


Setting the same goals as you always have may not be useful because aging, experiences, and environment can all affect ikigai (it morphs throughout life). In addition, setting goals just because someone else is doesn’t benefit you at all.

This is why it’s important to tailor your goals to what works for you.

Prioritizing actions that bring meaning to your life as an individual can help you succeed. For some, this may be cleaning up their diet. For others, it may mean connecting to their community through volunteerism. 

Customize your goals in this period of starting fresh to fulfill your personal sense of ikigai.


Ikigai is only a philosophical concept until action creates experiences that demonstrates it.

Activate your ikigai by:

            – being proactive rather than reactive in changes you want to make

            – tracking your progress (what is working, what isn’t)

            – setting small goals that, over time, can make a big difference

            – modifying goals when needed

            – staying accountable to yourself and to others

Following through with what you set out to accomplish may be more achievable when thoughtful goals align with your passion, skills, values, and the needs of humanity.

Although any time of year is good for developing your ikigai, a new beginning can provide a scheduled pause for making space to think about it.