Can I just be honest? I think this topic is a crazy thing because I feel pretty confident when I say that literally, EVERYONE has felt this way at one time or another.
And yet, we don’t talk about it or we pretend like everything is fine when we’re in the middle of it.
I call bullcrap.
What to do, when you don’t know what to do with your life anymore is something that should be more openly spoken about. Especially by those of us who have already gone through it and successfully gotten ourselves out of it.
But instead, society as a whole makes us feel like we’re supposed to have all the answers by our sophomore year of high school and definitely by senior year.
I’m way past that now and I still can’t decide what flavor ice cream I want most some nights. Why on earth did anyone expect me to know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life?
Okay, so in all honesty, my parents were actually pretty great about this and didn’t push me to have it all figured out. However, I felt the pressure from outside forces and I know I’m not the only one…
“What are you going to do about college? What will you major in? Who are you going to marry? How many kids do you want?”…
It’s in the small talk of our daily conversations that we tend to find ourselves lost.
So here I am, nearly a decade later, with a college degree, married to a man I adore, and choosing to wait a little longer on the babies.
I’m super happy with the decisions I’ve made that have gotten me here, but I still wasn’t without those “I don’t know what to do with my life” moments.
It hit me pretty hard once or twice but here I am on the other side of it and really truly enjoying my life again.
After all my time living in the “lost moments” of life, I know what to do to get myself out of them which is what I’m sharing with you in this post.
So if you’ve ever been through a lost in life moment, are in one now, or feel one coming, then I hope you find this post helpful!
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What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do in Life Anymore
The Three Steps to Knowing What to Do With Life
There are three basic steps to get yourself out of the “I don’t know what to do with myself” dilemma.
Step 1 – Identify Your Cause
Knowing the cause will help you figure out which step to take next. How can you solve a problem effectively when you don’t even know what it is?
That is why this is such an important step.
Step 2 – Apply A Corresponding Solution
Figuring out what is causing you to feel like you don’t know what to do in life anymore might be the hardest part of this whole thing. Once you know what your problem is, it is so simple to know what to do to turn it around.
Step 3 – Find Resources to Help You
On top of the resources I’ve listed with each solution below, be sure to go out there and find resources of your own.
There are so many incredibly amazing people creating amazing content that will help you in life. I couldn’t even begin to put them all together in one post but you know you best.
Go find the ones that make you smile, that make you say “THIS. I NEED THIS!” It’s out there somewhere.
Places to find these things:
- Podcasts (A couple of my fave’s: Goal Digger, Rise)
- Youtube Videos (Try some Ted Talks if you don’t know where else to start)
- Pinterest (You can follow me here!)
Life is like a road and we get lost on it sometimes. At a minimum, all we need to get back on track is a general direction. That’s what this blog post is meant to be for you.
I really hope you’ll find that here today!
The Scenarios of Why You Don’t Know What to Do Anymore
Often times, in life, we fail to crack open the seed of what has grown. We’re scared of what we’ll find and so we just don’t go there.
But that’s also why we struggle to move on again: to grow.
So, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself “why” you are feeling like you don’t know what to do in life anymore.
It’s not hard and it doesn’t have to be scary. Here are 7 of the most common reasons I’ve come across and some suggested solutions and resources.
1) Transition Periods
First up, is the situation of transition periods in life. It’s those moments when we’re going from one phase of life to another.
These can be things like when our roles or responsibilities have changed. Such as going from single to married, carefree to parent, or employee to employer.
These can also be moments when a shift has taken place. Like a new home, a different job, or state of being.
Sometimes transitions are forced on us by life circumstances and sometimes we choose them. However, keep in mind that getting to choose them, doesn’t change the dynamics of adjusting to them.
In the transition periods, there are usually a lot of questions you don’t always know the answer to that leave you feeling the most lost.
Transition Period Solution
Processing through a transition period can take time but diving into them in an introspective way can really help with this.
Try to find someone who has already gone through the same transition that you are and see if they are will to talk with you about it. Sometimes, just knowing that we aren’t alone in our situation can make a world of difference.
I also highly suggest having a thought journal for this! A place where you can braindump those thoughts that are swarming around in your head.
I recently created a thought journal for myself and it has helped me work through things I never even knew were an issue in my life.
Part of my process is to just start writing thoughts as they come. You’ll be shocked where it can lead you and the things that you will come to realize that can bring healing from doing this.
You can also answer questions that help dig into your feelings about the transition. Such as:
- What do things in the future look like in comparison to the past?
- Can I define what is acceptable to myself and others in this new stage of life?
- What do I actually want this new stage to look like?
- How does it fit with who I am at the core? – My personality, morals, and beliefs?
- How does it fit with how I function as a person day to day? – Family life, home life, routines, and schedules, etc.
Need help finding a good journal? I tend to be super picky about my journals but I LOOOOOVE Fringe Studio Journals. They are always the perfect size, I can find them in spirals or bound, and they have the perfect sized lines. They also come in the cutest covers. Here’s an example I found on Amazon but honestly, I always get mine for a few bucks at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx.
I also want to say that if you’re feeling lost in a transition period, that it is OKAY that you feel this way! It is perfectly normal to feel at a bit of a loss when things are changing.
Don’t beat yourself up for it. Instead, take it in stride, one day at a time as you power through to better things!
2) Our Dreams Grow or Change
Other times what we want in life has changed. Which is perfectly fine and can even be good.
The feeling of being lost happens because we struggle to figure out how to go from point a to point b on our own.
But this is perfectly normal as well. Just because you know what you want, doesn’t mean you know how to do it. That’s just part of learning.
Your Dream Has Grown or Changed Solution
If you’re falling into this cause, I just want to say congrats! This is amazing! Having a dream and goal feels so good.
But, something we don’t always realize is that there isn’t just one answer to what you’re supposed to do with life. Life isn’t really that short. I mean living 80+ years is a good amount of time. Do you really want to do the exact same thing every single day for roughly 40 of those years? If so, that’s great! But don’t feel distressed if you don’t fall into that category.
We change and grow as we age and so do our dreams and desires. It’s totally normal to feel a little lost when you wake up one morning and realize that what used to motivate you and get you out of bed in the morning, doesn’t anymore.
My advice for processing through this is to really define your new dream and map out your goals in regards to accomplishing your dream.
There are some really great resources and printable worksheets to help you with this in our free library. I would encourage you to grab your access here and download anything and everything you want to get you started!
3) Being Overwhelmed
This is another big reason we get that “don’t know what to do in life” feeling.
We’re bombarded with so much every day that we don’t know what we actually want.
So many things are forcing themselves right up in our faces that we don’t have the room to see what we want or need. It leaves us feeling overwhelmed.
We start to function on autopilot just to survive and get lost on the way.
You’re Overwhelmed Solution
If you’re feeling like life is overwhelming and out of control, start to simplify areas of your life that have the biggest impact.
As you simplify life, many of the things that bombard you on a daily basis will start to fall away. This will allow you to narrow down your focus and really help with figuring out what you want in life again.
An easy way to do this is to start with and solely focus on your top priority.
If you need help with starting this process, check out my post: How to Get Your Life in Order When Things Feel Out of Control
4) Too Many Options
Similar to overwhelm, we are faced with so many different options these days, it can be difficult to pick.
A study, done with a food selection, was published in 2000, by Psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper. It was found that the more choices someone has, the harder it is for them to choose. In fact, most people elect to not choose at all and instead completely leave. (Source)
So imagine then, how this would apply to all the options we have in life. We prefer not to choose any because we’d rather go without than risk choosing the wrong one.
The idea that we will make the wrong choice can be a very paralyzing fear for some.
Too Many Options Solution
Did you know that there is an art to good decision making? In fact, making the best decisions is a skill that you can learn to improve on.
This is especially important to know if you let the fear of making the wrong decisions hold you back.
Find a resource or book on the topic that you need to make decisions about. Learn about what other people did and what the outcomes were. From the lessons that other people learned, you can educate yourself and prepare yourself to make better decisions.
Also check out this post: How to Overcome the Fear Keeping You From Accomplishing Your Goals
5) You Don’t Know Who You Are Anymore
We get so distracted by everything going on around us as we work to maintain our day-to-day. It’s easy to lose sight of what we want, what we love, and ultimately who we are.
It’s not uncommon for us to wake up one day and find that you are left staring at yourself in the mirror looking at the reflection of a stranger.
In the same way that we grow apart from friends and family when we don’t spend enough time with them, we can grow apart from ourselves.
Run around long enough, spend little enough time with yourself, and pretty soon, you won’t even be able to play the “how well do you know them?” trivia game with yourself.
You Don’t Know Who You Are Anymore Solution
So how do you get to know yourself better? By playing the “how well do you know yourself” trivia game…
Okay, not really, but kind of.
Grab a pen and notebook. You can also check out the free “Finding You” downloads in the resource library.
Take some time to ask yourself questions. Easy questions, obvious questions, hard questions.
6) You’ve Lost Confidence
In yourself, your dream, and your life vision.
A loss of confidence usually comes from a point of mindset.
Generally speaking, this comes about for a few reasons:
The only reason we should ever analyze other people’s lives is to see our own potential. You have no idea what it took for that person to get where they are and what private struggles they’ve had. I 100% guarantee that no matter how easy they appear to have it, they’ve had to hustle to get to where they are.
Never beat yourself up for not being where someone else already is. Just look at where they are as a place that you can hustle for too.
Stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to your best you. Decide what you know your best you is. Once you know that, you know that you can live up to it. If we were meant to live up to other people’s best version of themselves, we would have all been born the same. But we weren’t so the only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself.
I used to be close to someone who had this mindset that it was them against the whole world. As if everyone and everything was out to get them. So anytime things weren’t going well, they would find an outside factor to blame for why they were doing so terrible in life.
Often in these types of moments, they would felt like it took everything out of them to “fight” against whatever was attacking.
At some point, they had a real awakening one day. The average person has so much on their own plate, they don’t have the time or energy to come after others. People aren’t just out to get you for no reason. The universe isn’t our adversary.
We are our own worst critic.
Sometimes we look at the universe from the wrong side and we’re the ones holding ourselves back.
Victim Mentality Solution
Change your mentality on what you can accomplish despite outside factors. YOU create your future.
Go after what you want. Don’t blame your failure on other people.
Outside Negative Influence Mindsets
This sounds opposite of what I said about victim mentality but, in actuality, it goes hand in hand with it.
We all have those negative people in our lives. They are our Eeyore’s. They speak negativity into our lives, they tell us we can’t do something, they make us feel terrible about ourselves and circumstances.
What happens is, if you have a victim mentality, then even though it makes you feel terrible to listen to them, a part of you likes it.
The victim mentality part of you feeds off of hearing them agree with your inner critic.
In fact, listening to your Eeyore usually feels safe. It is these people that never fulfilled their own dreams in life. They’re usually well-meaning people who don’t want you to get hurt, so they encourage you to settle.
It feels safe, and perhaps it is, but it can also be a very degrading thing to do to yourself.
Negative Influence Solution
Change what you are allowing to influence you. Whatever you choose to listen to in life, that is what you will produce in life.
Find voices that say what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
This could be a mastermind group, a mentor, or even a blogger or influencer that truly produces positivity.
Outlook On Failure Mindset
There tend to be two mindsets on failure. They live on opposite spectrums of the pole and generate make or break circumstances.
On one end, you have the failure is not an option, you get one shot at making something of yourself, if you can’t get it to work, you’re a failure outlook.
On the other end, you have the failure is just the next step to success, get back up again if you fall down, the only thing that makes you a failure is giving up outlook.
I find such an irony of these two outlooks.
The one that is meant to force you to succeed is the one that causes so many people to fail and to feel like failures. The idea that if you don’t make something work, you’re no good is a very heavy weight to carry and work under. It literally paralyzes us from changing when we realize something isn’t working. Instead of seeing it as a lesson learned about how not to go about something, we see ourselves as failures.
However, the outlook that gives us grace, the one that allows room for mistakes and encourages us to figure out what doesn’t work so we can find the thing that does, is often the mindset that leads to the most success. It gives room for improvement.
You’ve heard the saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
And yet, this is exactly what we do to ourselves when something isn’t working and then we feel like failures. It’s time to change our mindset.
Failure Mindset Solution
Change your mindset on failure. You are not a failure, you are just figuring out what not to do. Do it long enough and eventually, you’ll figure out what to do instead.
I recently heard Jenna Kutcher say “there are no successes/failures, only experiments.” I truly pray you can take this to heart in your daily life.
Most people beat themselves up and start to self-doubt their worth in moments like this. Instead, use this time to develop yourself and improve your life.
Shoot for something no matter how small.
Remember, “if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar
7) Mindset of Settling
This one is pretty simple. We settle for the comfortable things that are known rather than shooting for more and risking potentially missing.
We fear the potential of having to live at a level lower than what we are now.
Therefore, settling for what is known feels like the safer option. We convince ourselves that it may not be everything we want, but at least we got it this good…
Just remember this, the possibilities in life are too countless and too good to settle for mediocrity.
I wanted to find an inspirational quote about mediocrity but when I did a search, there were so many amazing ones, I couldn’t choose just one. So here is my top five:
“The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.” – William Arthur Ward
“The difference between mediocrity and excellence is often a matter of effort.” – Diana Waring
“The Height of mediocrity is still low.” – Vanna Bonta
“Mediocrity doesn’t just happen. It’s chosen over time through small choices day by day.” – Todd Henry
There are so many more. SO many good ones. All with the same basic point. Don’t settle.
The only solution for this one is to get out there, stir up your dreams, and go after them.
If mediocrity can be chosen a little at a time day by day, so can greatness. You don’t have to throw every second of every day into it, you just need to do a little more.
If you really want some help in this area, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend reading The Big Leap.
I can’t even say enough good things about this book. It will teach you to bust through your upper limit in life, conquer your hidden fear, and take life to the next level.
Things to Keep in Mind
As you go through the process of figuring things out again, I would really like to leave you with a few things to keep in mind…
Check Your Pride
This can be a bit of a painful process. Being in the “don’t know what to do in life anymore” stage is hard but having to be open to the fact that we need help or we might not be our best selves, can be even more difficult.
It’s important to check ourselves and make sure that our pride isn’t getting in the way of our growth. Work to cut the cold hard pride out of your life that is a barrier to your increase.
Ask others for help and be open to constructive criticism. Stop being defensive at everything that is said and question the validity of statements instead to see if there is room for growth. If it turns out to be wrong, then dismiss it.
Life isn’t perfect and neither are you
Remember to give yourself grace in all of this. You aren’t perfect, the people around you aren’t perfect, and life isn’t perfect.
Not every day will go according to plan and some days we just need to let it go and then pick up again tomorrow.
You don’t need to have it all figured out by 18
I talked about this a bit in the beginning, but just remember, you don’t need to have life totally figured out. Don’t allow societal pressure to make you feel like you have to have an answer for everything. You don’t.
As nature would have it, we tend to figure more out as we go along. Which leads into my next point…
Enjoy where you are at in life
I used to spend all my time looking forward to the next stage of life I knew was coming. I stayed as busy as I could day to day just waiting for days to pass me by until I got where I thought I wanted to go.
Then I’d arrive at that place, and start all over again.
I can’t help but wonder how many good moments I missed out on trying to get to what I perceived to be better.
Don’t make this mistake, this moment is the youngest you’ll ever be again so enjoy the little things in your now.
Invest in Yourself/Personal development
If you get nothing else from this whole post, then at least focus on this.
The best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to invest in yourself. To be more precise, invest time, effort, and even money if need be into your personal development.
When you become your best for yourself, you’re also able to give your best to others. It becomes a domino effect and you suddenly are investing more in your relationships, your family, and your friends.
It doesn’t have to be overly complicated either. Pick one area of life to focus on improving while you’re figuring out what to do.
Just do one thing that makes you feel good every day. It doesn’t even have to cost money. You can read personal development books from the library, take walks, have a hot bath, do your nails, etc. Just one thing every day to make you a little happier, a little more confident.
Even if it takes you a little time to figure out what your next step in life is, at least be happy in life and enjoy the day to day until you get there.
If you’re really lost, start reading books. It’s really difficult to get inspiration for ourselves from ourselves. This is why it’s so important to inspire others, reach out, and hear what others have to say.
Do you feel like you’ve ever been at a loss for what to do when you don’t know what to do in life anymore? Tell me below how you got out of it or what you’re planning to do about it now!