This Simple Change in Attitude Can Increase Your Lifespan and Your Income

Dacy Knight
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Daniel Zuchnik/Getty

Instead of committing to a laundry list of resolutions or beating yourself up over impossibly lofty goals, there's one simple change you can make for the New Year to greatly impact your personal and professional life. Two recent studies, highlighted by New York Magazine's Science of Us, have found that living with purpose can be the key to increasing your income and your lifespan.

Both studies were conducted by Patrick Hill at Carleton University in Canada and Nicholas Turiano at West Virginia University and used a national, longitudinal survey called Midlife in the United States. The first study, published in 2014—14 years after the initial survey when 9% of the study's 6,000 participants had passed—found that (after controlling for variables like wellbeing, age, and retirement), participants who agreed with the survey statement "Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them," and disagreed with "I live life one day at a time and don't really think about the future," were more likely to outlive their peers with less purpose. The second study, published in 2016, found that purpose was not only a big predictor for lifespan but also for success. One standard deviation in purpose score translated into a difference of $4,461 in income and $20,857 in net worth over during the study's decade duration.

The takeaway is quite simple. When you've set your mind to live with purpose, you become your own agent of what happens to you and how you handle it. You're more resilient, more careful with planning, and more likely to be a go-getter both in and out of the office. The financial success can be attributed to the drive of purposeful people to pursue their long-term goals and the longevity could be all-encompassing—considering increased financial stability, increased enjoyment of life, and increased attention and care for health.

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