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Everybody wants to feel happy and fulfilled with their life. There’s no question about that.
We all want money and to have a good, fulfilling job or business. We want to be respected and admired and have happy, loving relationships. Because that’s what feels good.
It’s easy to want that. But some of us can feel stuck, undecided or confused about how exactly to get there or what that all exactly looks like to us. Even in the process, we may think we know then suddenly we’re not so sure anymore.
There are so many articles and videos and people out there telling you that to get your life together that you need to set goals, learn how to be more productive, become more disciplined, get the right mindset, have the right habits, be around the right people, go after your dreams and goals, etc. The list goes on. It’s mostly all about the ‘how’ or the ‘why,’ but little to none of that can be applied if you don’t know the exact ‘what.’
This article can help you with that and get you unstuck. Whether you just need a little boost in the right direction or you’re feeling helpless, hopeless, and completely stuck and unsure of what to do.
Before we get into that, it’s important to know this:
- It’s okay to not know what you want
- It’s okay to question if what you think you want is what you really want
- It’s okay to make a switch in your life and change directions
In fact, Mel Robbins credits all the career changes she’s had for who she is and all the success she has today.
So not only is all of that okay, it’s completely normal. It’s not a bad thing, just like change is not a bad thing. Most people don’t stick to the very first thing they “want to do when they grow up.”
You are not lost or broken. You are just finding your way. And sometimes we need these moments are feeling stuck to allow us to do some self-discovery and help us appreciate when we have direction in our lives. It can often be a blessing in disguise.
The following ideas can help you with tackling these feelings and mindset of confusion, misdirection, and lack of clarity and ambiguity.
You don’t need to have a passion
In an article about bad advice, I discuss why “follow your passion” can be bad advice. One of the reasons is that you may be passionate about things you’ve never tried before. I didn’t discover one of my passions until I watched a video about it and decided to try it out. You may have no idea what you’re passionate about until you discover it.
Ideas and passions don’t just happen to you. You have to find them.
Instead of complaining and worrying about not knowing what you’re going to do, set in your mind that you will discover what you want to do. Make it your purpose to find whatever it is you are looking for. Instead of just wishing and waiting for something to just magically come to you, make it intentional and deliberate.
To find your purpose, you must first live with purpose.
Here are some ideas and exercises you can try out when you are trying to get unstuck and figure out what you want to do with your life.
Being in tune to your needs and wants and your abilities and ideas and then valuing those things and doing them. Most often people who claim they don’t know what to do have plenty of ideas but just don’t value their ideas or don’t believe in themselves enough. Know that you are capable. You can learn how to do anything which brings us to our next point.
Recommended reading: The 3 Main Fundamentals for Personal Growth
Learn and try new things
You need to have awareness and an open mind to look for and find new learning opportunities. When we are babies, we take everything in, and that’s why we learn so much so fast because our brains are open and curious to learn and take in as much as we can.
Now, here are some ideas and exercises that can help you figure out what to do with your life
The 20 Minutes to Change Your Life Technique Exercise
This is an exercise you can try out to help give you some ideas when you’re feeling stuck in your life.
1. Make sure you have no distractions including your phone, the TV, the computer. Turn off and put all that away. Go to a quiet place and lock the door or make sure you won’t be disturbed.
2. Sit down with a blank piece of paper or an empty page in a notebook or journal and a pen in front of you
3. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
4. You’re going to write down 100 ways to change your life. Ready, set, go.
The list can include the following:
- Things you want to do
- Skills you want to master
- Subjects you want to learn about
- Ideas you want to cultivate
- Things you want to create
- Passion projects
- Careers or jobs you want to try
- Experiences you want to have
- People you want to meet
- Degrees you want to acquire
- Classes you want to take
- Books you want to read
- Places you want to travel to
- Goals that you want to accomplish
- Things that would make you happy
5. Don’t worry about being realistic. Write down whatever you can think of, whatever you want, whatever comes up. Write quickly and don’t stop writing until the timer goes off. Don’t stop to think. Keep writing, even if it doesn’t make sense.
Doing this unlocks your inner creativity and release ideas that you may have never thought of or have been locked away for a while.
6. Once the timer goes off, leave the list alone for a day. Don’t even look at it or make adjustments to it.
7. The next day, sit down and take a look at the list you wrote. Is there anything that interests you or surprises you? Anything you can get started on right away?
The point of this exercise is not to give a giant list of endless to-dos or a bucket list. It’s to open up your mind to new ideas to get unstuck and make some changes in your life. To pursue something new that can result in a new-found passion, a new skill, or a new career or just general overall life improvement and richness.
Ideal Day Exercise
Another exercise you can try out is the ideal day exercise.
What you do is think about what the ideal perfect day would be for you. This would include when you wake up and everything you do from waking up until going to sleep.
Make sure to include as much detail as you can. The more detail you put in, the more clarity you will have.
Also, make sure it’s about what you want your ideal day to look like not what you think it should or what others want it to look like. It’s all about YOUR ideal day. Make sure you’re honest with yourself about what you want.
Feel free to make different versions of your ideal day. You could have an ideal weekday and an ideal weekend day or one for every day of the week. You can have different ideal days for different seasons. And you can have an ideal day for different phases of your life.
You can always switch up and make changes to your ideal day. You don’t have to just stick to one. Creating different versions of your ideal day can also give you ideas for things you can do when you wake up earlier, go to bed later, what to do when you have more time, and what to do when you have less time.
Doing this can help you realize what you want out of your life, what you want to do in your daily life, and can help you prioritize the things that matter to you.
Once you have come up with your preferred choice of your ideal day or your most current and applicable one to you today, you can start setting goals and going after them with actionable steps to make your ideal day into reality.
You don’t have to wait until you’re who you want to be or until you’re ready or at a certain point in your life to start being and becoming who you want to be.
You can also go on to make a vision board for yourself.
When it comes to strictly jobs, careers, and businesses, the following exercise can help you figure out what you want and get unstuck in your professional life.
This is about contribution. What can you contribute? What do you have to give? How would you like to help people or animals or the planet? What value do you have to give? How do you already help others?
What are your skills? What are you good at? What do you know about? What are you even somewhat of an expert on? What do people say about you? What do you people go to you for?
The reason why skills are important is because frankly, passion is not enough. Your skills can become your passion, yes, and your passions can become your skills, but the skills you have now can be applied to what you are doing now or what you want to be doing. It’s important to take that into consideration.
What do you enjoy doing? What makes you happy? What do you live for? What interests you?
It doesn’t have to be anything you’re necessarily good at, because you can become good at it. You also don’t necessarily have to be super passionate about because passion can grow. It can be something you’re interested in or have always wanted to try too.
What do you value? What are your priorities? What is important to you? This is an important factor to consider. Try to rank these things in order of most important and valuable to you and least important.
Here are examples you can consider:
- Your time
- Ability to travel
- Help others or contribution to the world
- Financial independence
- Working whenever you want
- Your relationships
- Ability to connect and interact with others
- The kind of people you work with
- Growth, education, and advancement
- Recognition and achievement
- Creativity and idea creation
- Interesting work
- Company culture
- Working alone or working with others
- Staying in one location
- A relaxed line of work
- Stress level
What is there available for you? Maybe it’s a business card you have a colleague. Maybe you have a job opening from a friend of a friend. Or maybe you have a blog that you can turn into an online business. Maybe you have things that you can sell. Maybe it’s going back to school. There are often opportunities sitting around you. You just have to look for them and perhaps give them a chance.
Cost and risk/reward ratio
You can also ask yourself what you are willing to risk. What are you willing to struggle for? Look at your opportunity costs as well as risk/reward ratio.
Once you have looked at these and hopefully written them down, you can start to narrow down or look into what is most important to you, what you are most interested in, and what is the most reasonable for you (this means to take into account your skills and what others say about you.)
Find out ways you can combine your passions and skills.
Growing up, these were all the things I ever wanted to be:
- Psychologist or therapist
- Author and writer
- Business owner / businesswoman / entrepreneur
- Hedge fund manager and stock trader/investor
- Fitness trainer/teacher
- Motivational speaker
I was also interested in marketing, criminal studies, law, philosophy, history, accounting, and artistic creation.
In some way, I combine all of these things into what I do and want to do with my life now and in the future. Separated these things had very little to do with one another, but unknowingly and unintentionally, I combined bits of each into my life and income.
When doing these exercises, it may also be helpful to involve:
- Word Maps
This way it can be helpful to connect interests and find new interests and ideas from those interests.
The following are ideas to consider when it comes to your time, activities, and hobbies.
Take out things that don’t produce joy
It’s not just important to seek things out, makes sure you’re also taking things out of your life that no longer serve you and spring cleaning out your mind and emotional space and your time.
Some of us will stick to goals just because we made them one day even though we’re not really passionate about them anymore. Clearing out the ‘junk’ in your life can help bring in more clarity, peace, and direction. Like they say, out with the old and in with the new.
Start saying yes
If you’re someone who experiences anxiety or fear from trying out new things, meeting new people, and going new places, try saying yes more. We will often make excuses or let our fears talk us out it. Saying yes more can help us overcome our fears, push our comfort zones, and discover new and exciting opportunities to learn, have fun, and grow personally, financially, or professionally.
Start saying no
On the other hand, if you experience FOMO or you’re always saying yes to thing you don’t necessarily enjoy or want to do or you’re doing things just to please others even if it sucks your soul, start saying no to things that no longer serve you and do little to benefit you or bring you joy. Saying no doesn’t always necessarily mean saying no to other people.
Saying no can include saying no to yourself on spending 50 minutes reading about random celebrity articles. Doing things like this serve little value to you and don’t give you much joy in the long run.
I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, so I understand both sides.
Either way, it’s important to be intentional with your time and not just leave it to whatever or what other people want or what your fears want. Make sure you’re opening up to new things, ideas, and opportunities as well as cultivating both new and old relationships, but also make sure you’re being intentional about it.
Focus on what brings you the most joy and growth.
Follow your energy
Ask yourself and pay attention to how the activities you do make you feel.
Does it energize you or drain you? Does time fly by or are you constantly checking the clock every 10 minutes? Is it something you could see yourself doing for years?
Before jumping into anything new, make sure to take a look and analyze how you feel about your current hobbies, studies, and jobs.
Explore new interest, hobbies, and projects
Today we have the resources to easily google something, watch a video, or grab a book to learn practically anything.
Take advantage of that. Don’t let a lack of passion or skill stop you. The thing about interest and desire is that those things are learned. You may not love or even like something that much at first, but you can learn to love it and even get good at it.
Make sure you’re not just getting ideas of things to do though, you’re actually acting on them. If you’ve wanted to try out martial arts for a while, go ahead and sign up for just one class.
Even if it’s not career-related, you’d be surprised what can turn from a hobby into a job or what ideas and growth you can get from it. Growth and education in one area can and should be applied to other areas and subjects.
Other Things You Can Do to Help Get You Unstuck
1. Go for walks and spend more time in nature
2. Spend time with people you love
5. Give Yourself Free Time (Schedule It)
6. Give more
7. Be more authentic and listen to your inner voice
Many of us are concerned about what is “right” or what we should want. Or we’re plagued with guilt with what others want for us. Once we clear out those things, it’s easier for us to discover what we truly want for ourselves. Or we dismiss certain things we think of because of thinking they may be silly and whatnot.
8. Organize and declutter your space
9. Start journaling
10. Read more books on new and different topics
Feel free to try out different methods to help you get unstuck and figure out what you want in your life. Just remember to at least do something and try. Sometimes it’s the little things we try and the little steps we take that end up becoming the start of a new journey, adventure, or discovery.