Have you ever been minding your own business in life, doing your best to make things work (even though everything feels a mess) when suddenly you have a “holy crap” moment…
and you find yourself realizing, you don’t know what to do in life anymore? Or even what to do about not knowing what to do?
Heavy, I know.
I’ve been there and let’s just say it’s about as fun as those nightmares where you show up late to the test you need to take to graduate and then have to remind yourself you graduated years ago once you wake up (am I the only one this still happens to?).
Here’s the thing, 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. The stigma behind needing to always know your next step is something I’m breaking here.
So get your comfy pants on and grab your multi bevs cause we’re doing away with the shame of not having it all together right now…
That’s right, we’re going to talk about it openly and then we’re going to figure out your next step.
What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do in Life Anymore
I can’t help but look back now and think how crazy it is that we’re expected to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives by sophomore year of high school… or at least definitely by senior year.
I’m way past that now and I still can’t decide what movie I want to watch some nights. Why on earth did anyone expect me to know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life?
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 and it comes down to a pretty simple method.
There are five basic steps I use to get out of the “I don’t know what to do with myself” dilemma.
5 Steps to Figuring Out What to Do
1) Be at peace
It’s really easy to beat ourselves up for the decisions we’ve made or things that have happened that got us here. Which makes it hard to move forward with decisions if we fear they’re going to eventually be the wrong ones.
Life is all about learning and that’s really what making choices is about. Whether those choices led us to good or hard moments, they were something learned. So give yourself permission to be at peace with past things. It is what it is and the only way to move forward is by realizing you did the best you knew at the time.
Recognize the lessons learned from them and be at peace with it because moving forward and running away from are two very different things. We move forward from things we are at peace with and run from things that haunt us.
So bring yourself to peace with where you are and then do the work to move forward which brings us to step two…
2) Clear Your Mind
I’ve found that usually when you’re searching for what to do when you don’t know what to do in life anymore that there’s a lot of jumbled stuff going on in a person’s mind. It can feel like there’s 100 tabs open on the browser of your mind or like there’s so many things in your brain that you can’t think clearly.
When this happens, I always suggest clearing your mind before doing anything else. My favorite way to do this is with a brain dump. It enables you to get everything in your mind out and onto paper. Sometimes when I do this, I find there’s things going on in my mind that I didn’t even realize were there. Those things often hold the answer I’ve been looking for too.
I also like to use this opportunity to do a crosspoint exercise where you make three lists: what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing, and what needs you see. Then figure out where there is some overlap between the three and see if you can find some clarity on what direction to move in.
3) Clarity On Each Area of Life
Next, I take time to figure out what I want each area of my life to look like. I talk about the areas of life to set goals in this post.
I get super clear on what my ideal future would be for each of the areas based on what I want in my life. The important part here is really leaning into what my personal goals are and not allowing comparisonitis to decide for me.
4) Figure Out Where to Start
I hear a lot that knowing what to do or more specifically where to start is a big struggle. So my suggestion is to look at the eight areas of life and figure out which one you could start with that will have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
5) Just Start (Small)
You know that moment when you decide to go all in on something and you do and then it lasts for all of two days??
It’s because most of the time, we try to implement major changes in an all or nothing manner but frankly our habits and life changes don’t usually work that way. Think about all the habits you have now – Did they happen in the blink of an eye? Or over time?
To think we’ll change everything overnight on a regular basis is unlikely and it puts lots of pressure on us. Which is where most people give up.
So I choose one area of life to work on. I just start on it and I start small. My goal is to improve it by 1% a day.
Sound simple enough? Too simple, maybe? I get it, I think we often believe that because our problem feels complicated that the solution is going to be complicated but the reality is that most solutions to our problems in life are simple.
As simple as figuring out what YOU actually want in life, what you need to get there, and then doing it one step at a time.
I hope you are ready to start on a path of knowing what to do in your life again because you officially have all the steps I use to help myself know what to do when I don’t know what to do! It really is that simple!
Feeling like you know what to do but are scared to actually do it now?
Check out my How to Overcome the Fear Keeping You From Accomplishing Your Goals blog post now!
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What a beautiful piece of art… I really needed to hear a lot of this. Maybe I will be able to apply it and get better a bit at a time:)
Hi Sherrie Grace,
I’m so happy that this helped you! You’ve got this!