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Do you have a life goal? When we are younger, challenges abound. Earning money, developing a career, getting married, having kids, or even inheriting a fortune and go about spending it. But one day retirement comes, and people are baffled upon losing the backbone to organizing their routine: their job. Especially at this moment, one must have a purpose in life. Researchers say that this allows for anyone live well, happy and for additional years.

This conclusion was drawn by a long study, carried out for 14 years, by from Carleton University, in Canada. During that period, 6 thousand people were monitored all over America. “Finding a path in life and setting broad goals can help to live more”, said assistant professor Patrick Hill, one of the researchers. “And the sooner it is found, the better.”

The research started with questions about whether life had a purpose or not and if attitudes were positive or negative, regarding relationships and emotions. At the end of the 14 years, 9% of the group had passed away – most of which were those that in the beginning reported lack of purpose and positive emotions, in addition to the presence of negative relationships. On the other hand, adults that confirmed having a purpose were alive in a higher rate.

5 tips to living longer:

  1. For those who are about to retire: fill your days with different activities instead of contemplating the void (or television).

  2. Do volunteer work, for example, or take-up a long-term project, even craftsmanship helps increases longevity.

  3. The nature of life purpose doesn’t matter. What really counts is simply feeling and experiencing a reason to be alive.

  4. Having a goal leads people to adopt a healthier lifestyle to fulfill their ambitions.

  5. The younger people are when setting these goals, the sooner they will start having a healthier life style and the longer they will live. In other words: start now, for there is no time to lose.

The study was originally published in the Psychological Science journal. Read more here.