21 Days of Purpose: A Free eCourse for Uncovering Happiness

You have a purpose in being here…
… and part of that is remembering that
you are part of something much larger than yourself.

Science and thousands of years of human experience are showing us a feeling of connection to something greater than ourselves gives us a heightened sense of well-being and resiliency. In short, it’s a natural antidepressant.

I want to invite you to an experiment based on practices in my new book, Uncovering Happiness, that can help you nurture this positive shift in your brain and positively impact the world around you.

Over the next 21 days you’ll be guided through something very simple and profound; discovering a prosocial purpose and turning your purpose into a verb.

The structure for this is loose; there is nothing strict or rigid about this program. The intention of the following 21 days is to deepen your connection to purpose and compassion in your own life and get some support in the process.

Each day you’ll receive a writing to reflect on to light up the compassionate brain. You’ll then be reminded of these three key questions from Uncovering Happiness to help keep you focused and on track:

  1. What pro-social purpose are you involved in?
  2. What action can I take today that is in line with this purpose?
  3. What is this action in service of that is greater than myself?

I recommend weaving in some of the attitudes of play from Uncovering Happiness in order not to get overly serious about the whole endeavor, see it more from a learning lens and make it a playful endeavor.

A very wise woman once told me,
If something is valuable, give it away.

That may sound strange, but I understand what she means. As we give away what is valuable, we inevitably get back something invaluable.

If you’re wondering what that is, take a leap to commit to 21 Days of Purpose and discover it for yourself.

Sign up today by entering your name and email below!

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21 Days of Purpose

Commit to 21 Days of Purpose Now!

Over the next 21 days, get inspired and start to live a life filled with purpose and compassion, an essential ingredient to uncovering happiness.

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You can try this experiment on your own, or it can be fun to do with friends. Let others know what you’re up to and see the ripple effects of a group doing 21 Days of Purpose together. Share it:

We are asking people to reflect on their experiences here to let us know how it’s going. Feel free to post about the purpose your engaging, or write about it on your own blog. Comments here are welcome from anyone.


  1. Lorna Reid
    March 21, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Day 2

    So, yesterday I did all the things I set out to do. Also, I was inspired to buy some happy yellow tulips for someone I dont really know but who told me she was struggling. It felt good to offer compassion and hope in the form of a bunch of flowers, and the lady was surprised and delighted to receive them. Win – win I say.

    My focus for today: connection, compassion, encouragement and healing.

    My actions for today: taking my husband on a restorative nature walk; suggesting a helpful course to my friend; a bit more writing; connecting with my mum; sharing the days happenings in a joint gratitude journal with my cousin.

    Action in service of: healing, hope, connection and peace.

    An interesting start to this journey. Thanks again for the opportunity.

    • Donna
      March 23, 2015 at 7:53 am

      I love this and just wrote it in my journal to remember: Take action in service of healing, hope, connection and peace. What a powerful mantra. Thanks for sharing….

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 23, 2015 at 9:14 am

      The tulips sound like a kind gesture of compassion and sunshine to someone who really needed the lift. It feels so good to be able to brighten someone’s day with an unexpected kindness. It is really powerful to set intentions for the day, like yours of connection, compassion, encouragement and healing.

  2. Lorna Reid
    March 20, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Day 1

    Pro social purpose focus: connection, compassion, encouragement and healing.

    Actions for today: offering compassionate presence to a friend who is recovering from cancer surgery. Visiting my father in law who had emergency surgery yesterday. Cooking dinner for my family. Writing a section of my thesis to shine light on a hidden injustice.

    Action in service of: healing trauma, promoting hope and being an agent of change in a small pocket of the world.

    Wow. What interesting questions to consider. And inspiring to see the day’s work in these terms.

    Thank you, Dr E.G. Your questions have generated a renewed sense of vision and purpose in my heart and mind today.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 20, 2015 at 7:08 am

      Wonderful Lorna and thank you for engaging these. Do this each day, continue to check in here and let us know what you’re noticing.

  3. March 19, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Day 11. This 21 day adventure in listening has been an amazing, yet subtle, experience for me. I find myself not only listening better to other people, I have become more aware of the moods and fears that arise within me. I find that I’m even listening to the things I say in my head, and taking the time to consider whether or not they are true, rather than just taking them as gospel, and getting all down on myself. I really like this.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 19, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      Amazing…I love this.

    • Vicki
      March 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Dear Angela,

      I always enjoy your comments and look forward to reading them. Your commitment to listening inspires me.

  4. Elisha Goldstein
    March 18, 2015 at 9:59 am

    This may gross out a few people so be warned…

    But this 21 days of purpose has impacted me in many ways large and small. One small way is when I take my dog out for a walk. When I see a little dog poop on the grass that hasn’t been picked up, I’m inclined to pick it up as a gift to the neighborhood.

    I know in my heart this is a good deed, a purposeful deed and it feels good.



    • LLH
      March 19, 2015 at 7:22 am

      Dr. Goldstein,
      Hello and thank you for your 21 Days of Purpose: A Free eCourse. I am very much looking forward to participating and experiencing positive change in my life and those around me. I have purchased the book and just barely started reading. (mother of three young boys :)) I am supposed to be on day 4 but I have not completed day 1. I am stuck on my pro-social purpose. While after visiting the charity website and finding many possibilites I am afraid that taking on a formal volunteer experience at this moment might add to the anxiety I have been feeling due to time management. Is it effective enough to have a general pro-social purpose such as coming to each moment that I am presented with and my goal is to be helpful towards others in any given situation ?
      Thank you for your advice.
      P.S. I have not ever posted . I apologize if this was not the correct forum.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Hi LLH,

      The simple answer is…Absolutely! See my check-in above. What we’re trying to do here is prime our minds toward compassionate, purposeful actions on a daily basis. This could be as simple as smiling at people you greet, to picking up small pieces of trash on the street, to thinking of someone who is struggling daily and wishing them well or making contact with them.

      It could also be getting involved with an organization, but what matters is that the value gets turned into a daily verb in some way or another.

      Continue to check in and let us know how it’s going.

  5. March 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Day 9. I had a very vivid dream last night that my sister-in-law was furious with me. Although we have remained cordial in big family gatherings, we no longer celebrate our birthdays together over lunch or chat on the phone regularly. The last time we had lunch together was in 2003, just before the Iraq war started. We both left the restaurant mad at each other that day. (Me: How could you be for this war when there is no way you’d let your sons fight in it?”) )Today, I emailed her and asked her if she would like to have lunch with me again. She may decline, but it felt good to reach out to her.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      So glad you have felt inspired to reach out to her, wishing you all the best is renewing your connection with her.



  6. Vicki
    March 17, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Last evening I was doing a loving kindness meditation. I had been thrown off by a health scare and loving-kindness seemed appropriate and necessary. Out of the blue, the thought arose that I had a purpose. This thought literally lifted me up. What a wonderful support. I felt an immediate expansion. I haven’t had much experience with the idea of purpose, I was living more in the guilt spoken of earlier, that I felt I HAD to make something of my life. I never knew exactly what this meant, and thought I participated in a lot of political action, no matter what I did, it was never enough or quite fulfilling. This way of looking at purpose fits. It makes sense. It creates connection. It is radical for me.

    And now, day 8. The contemplation touches my heart.

  7. March 16, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Day 8. My son has always eagerly anticipated the Thanksgiving meal. His favorite part of the meal is the dressing. Years ago, for whatever reason, I was rushing around trying to get everything done, and the dressing was not right; it was too moist and came out of the turkey with a soupy texture. After everyone left, Jesse (about eight years old at the time) quietly approached me and asked what happened to the dressing. I explained that I hadn’t been paying enough attention and added too much liquid to it. His response was, “The next time you make dressing, pay more attention.” Every time I make dressing since that occasion, I DO pay more attention because I know how important this dish is to my son.

    What does it mean to me to live as if it mattered? It means paying more attention to everything I do. Even the little things that don’t seem to matter much. Maybe they don’t mean much to me, but to someone else, they may matter a great deal. Being present. Showing up. So simple, yet so hard to do.

  8. Nicole
    March 15, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Thank you for these free 21 days of purpose. These are mine :
    I want to be in contact with the love inside me and spread it around me.
    I want to show appreciation to others and tell them I love them
    I want to send the energy of love to my family, friends and the world.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Beautiful, what would the world be like if there was more of this. Imagine.

  9. Sandra R.
    March 15, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I gave $1 to a homeless man today, who said it was his birthday. I came back later and gave him $10. He said “Is today your birtthday?” I said, “No, it was yesterday.” And yesterday really was my birthday.

  10. Barbara R
    March 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Just completed my journal entry for Day 7…turning values into verbs.
    1. I value self-care…I exercise, meditate and eat whole foods daily. I hike weekly with our hiking group. (I started focusing on self-care just over a year ago…I had never heard of it before…have lost 25 pounds and my emotions are more stable…people notice!)
    2. I value a strong family…I take time to talk and be with my husband, kids and grandkids….daily with husband and daughter, weekly with daughter in law and grandkids. I text or email my kids and husband inspiring articles about health, wellness and strong relationships. We vacation together twice a year.
    3. I value self-respect…I set boundaries by either saying “no” or “yes” and mean what I say. I give myself permission to change my mind and start anew if I need to. I accepted an invitation to be on the Bridge of our Yacht Club as Fleet Captain, where I will be the 3rd woman Commodore in its 54 year history 4 years from now as I continue up the Bridge. I have had constant thoughts of “I’m not good enough”…”I can’t do this”…and with meditation I calm myself down and sit with those thoughts, and now I finally can talk back to those thoughts very kindly and say, “why not me?’…”I’m as good as anyone else who has held this position and if I hit a roadblock, people will help me if I ask for help.” (I loved Day 4’s quotes by Emerson and Williamson…they rang true for me.)
    4. I value self-improvement…I read books such as “Uncovering Happiness” and “The Body Keeps The Score” to move beyond the past, to stay in the present and to create a beautiful future. I belong to a book club where we read and discuss a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction books monthly. I journal daily.

    Thanks for this wonderful process! It’s really helping me to focus and affirm my progress of turning values into verbs!

    • Elisha Goldstein
      March 16, 2015 at 8:45 am

      I often wish there was a “Like” button here :).

    • Donna
      March 17, 2015 at 7:59 am

      I love this phasing: turning values into verbs. It really helps to give direction to our actions.

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