A common phrase often heard nowadays is – “I don’t know what to do with my life!’ While teenagers say it with indifference, adults say it frustratingly shaking their heads and feeling like a failure.
At college we are promised a golden future but what happens after leaving college? Maybe you get a job you entirely hate or keep switching jobs, feeling miserable and staying broke.
And then you realize you are not where you should be. You start questioning your abilities and ponder on how your friends made it and you didn’t. It’s like a missing piece of a puzzle. Something you couldn’t grasp the others could.
If you are at this point of realization, do not worry. Whether you are 16 or 60, we have answers for you. Keep reading this article to know how exactly you can unstuck your life in just a month.
10 Things to Keep in Mind When You Don’t Know What To Do
So, are you feeling frustrated that you don’t know what to do with your life? Do you sense time is slipping by and you have no control over it?
First thing we would suggest is to pause. Then take a deep breath and keep reading.
1. It’s okay to not know all the answers
This is an age where everyone seems to be all-knowing! It’s almost accepted that you need to have all the answers. You don’t know? How is it even possible? Google your question, hire a coach, read some self-help books and just get the answer!
Hope it was that easy for everyone.
The best way to deal with this uncertainty is to accept that you don’t know all the answers and that’s alright.
Stop biting your nails, or blaming your parents, or God, or the Government, or yourself. Just breathe and make a commitment to yourself that you will take life as it comes. And you will make the most out of the opportunities presented to you.
Instead of looking for answers start looking for opportunities in life.
2. You must learn to be happy right now
Life is not a linear path; it has its ups and downs. Learn how to appreciate life and enjoy every moment. Be happy for no reason or all the reasons you have now.
Don’t wait for something great to happen to enjoy. Give yourself permission to be happy right now.
When you start loving life it loves you back and opens doors you would not have imagined before.
3. Stop comparing
A comparison with others never gets you anywhere. Instead, it robs you of your happiness. Besides that, you have no idea what the other person is actually going through in his life.
On social media, we get to see flawless lives of others. But that’s not the entire picture, isn’t it?
Always remember people don their best images on social media. So, stop comparing immediately. If you have to disconnect from social media, do it. Or limit the time you spend on it.
Most importantly, make a decision now to not compare yourself with anyone. Not even your best friend or your sibling or the ‘perfect’ person you know.
4. Start practicing gratitude
Even if you are totally clueless about your life, start showing gratitude to the people and things you have now. This will take you from a place of lack of a place of possibilities.
By practicing gratitude you will receive unexpected help and more reasons to stay grateful in life.
5. You must stop pleasing others
Are you a people pleaser? Is it your natural tendency to do things to please your family, friends, teachers, neighbors, and a whole bunch of people?
Stop doing that immediately. If you really want to make it big, you have to stop thinking about how to please others and focus on things that please yourself.
For instance, your parents might want you to become a doctor and bring honor to the family. But you have no interest in studying medicine. What you love is music. Then the obvious thing to do is to choose a career in music and not try becoming a doctor.
Pay attention to your inner nudges and follow the path. Ultimately, this is your life and you must start living it for yourself. Don’t feel guilty about wanting to live life in your own terms.
Become your own version and not what someone else expects you to be.
6. You and only you know what’s best for you
So, you think you do not know what to do with your life. We understand. But we also know that you have an idea of what’s best for you.
No, you don’t have to know the entire path. But don’t you really have a hint of what’s best for you? Like really?
We always know what we want. But fear or shame or guilt or a sense of unworthiness deter us from our desires.
Create a list of stuff that makes you happy. It could be anything from cycling to baking to tidying up your rooms to painting to traveling to helping others. Seriously, it could be anything.
Now that you have made your list, start doing those. Don’t expect any miracle to happen out of the blue. Just do it! You will enjoy doing things you earlier considered as your hobbies. Do more of what gives you joy.
Maybe you always loved writing. You may have taken writing classes at high school. Now is the time to start writing again! This could be said about gardening or playing basketball or cooking or clay modeling or anything else under the sun.
Then do some planning on how you can monetize your passion. Maybe you can give cooking classes, start a virtual store, create a course, write a book, become a YouTuber, a Yoga trainer, or dancer, or give laughter therapy. Honestly, you can always earn from doing things you love. ALWAYS!
Open your mind to possibilities. Remember, you are the best person to find those possibilities.
7. You have to take risks
Now, this is a major lesson unfortunately not taught at school. You have to take risks in life. If you want to achieve something you have to take a chance.
You must be willing to do things that make you feel uncomfortable, things that scare you off. All successful people are risk-takers. You too should be willing to take risks. But risk-taking is not being stupid and taking action without any idea of the outcome.
On the other hand, risks include thinking on the possibilities, doing the research, asking for opinions, making a plan, and then diving into action.
Be open to taking risks. And this does not have to be huge. It could be learning a new skill, mingling with more successful people than you, reaching out for help, or changing some of your habits. You have to give up the worry and start doing things out of your comfort zone.
8. Be open to new ideas
It’s okay to not know what you want to do but it’s not okay to stay close-minded. Be open to learning. Allow yourself to be coachable.
Keep your mind open to new ideas. Read a lot, listen to good content, and start implementing some of your newly proclaimed knowledge. You never know your life can change in a week or a month or by next year!
9. Money should not be your motivation
Young people often make this mistake of choosing a career because of the extrinsic rewards available for the job. They are attracted to the money, power, prestige, etc. But this can never lead you to a successful career.
Do not allow money to be your motivation. Choose a career out of your passion or interest. The money will come to you but as a byproduct of your achievements. Choose a career out of a greater reason than just money or status.
10. You can create a better life for yourself
No matter at what point you are right now, you can always make a decision to change your life. It’s absolutely possible to create a better life for yourself.
Believe in yourself. Also, make plans for your future life and start taking action however small. Ultimately, you will reach there. Determination and consistent action always lead to success.
What to Do When You Don’t Know What You Want?
So, now you already know what things to keep in mind even when you are unsure of your life. Here, we will give you a roadmap. You will get to know what steps you can actually take now to move from this space of uncertainty towards a bright future.
Here are 20 simple steps.
1. Do more of what you love
We have mentioned this in the previous section as well. But surely this cannot be overstated. When you do things you love to do, no one and nothing can come between you and your success.
Do less of what you do not enjoy and more of what brings you joy. Make a list of things that give you happiness and start doing those in life. Simple!
2. Surround yourself with positivity
You can never achieve much if you are always surrounded by people who are demotivating, lethargic, and continuously pull you down. Limit your interaction with negative people and start surrounding yourself with positivity.
Hang around with people who are energetic and successful. Create an enriching environment for yourself. Read books, listen to podcasts, join online forums for success and personal growth. Instead of watching mindless TV programs, watch educational and inspiring ones.
You can consciously choose the good and avoid the bad for yourself.
3. Help others
Life is not just about you. We are anxious about our problems and struggles. But if you reflect carefully you are just one life on this planet!
Try to think beyond yourself. Think beyond your problems and circumstances. Participate in a greater cause. Help people as much.
You can participate in a noble cause through service, offering monetary help, or both. When you get involved in a bigger cause you start feeling good about yourself. Any selfless act of service is always great. What can be more fulfilling than it?
By serving others you will be doing an immensely important task. There is no greater success in life than leaving this world better than you found it!
Just think about this. If you have not done anything worthwhile till now, by showing kindness and serving humanity, you would immediately reach a higher level in your life.
4. Ask for help
If you do not ask how would people know you are stuck? If you feel helpless and confused, start asking people for advice. Ask people who are successful. You can ask a friend, a relative, a co-worker, a contact on LinkedIn – just ask some people if you need suggestions.
We hesitate to share our problems because we are scared of being judged or misunderstood or maybe just out of embarrassment. But if you want to change your life situation fast, start asking people.
Not everyone will want to guide you and not all guidance would be feasible for you. But when you ask a lot of people you are bound to get some good advice to help you out.
Ask if they have the job you are searching for or what certifications you need for the job. Talk about your business ideas and see what they have to say. Ask what they would have done in your situation, or simply share your problem and request a solution. Some guidance is free and some are paid but that should not stop you from asking.
5. Read biographies and success stories
Success comes easily when you absorb success. Read biographies of men and women who made an impact on the world. The more you read about success, the more you will be inspired to do great things.
6. Spend some time alone
To think of it, we are never alone. Thanks to the internet and the electronic gadgets we are continuously taking in unnecessary information of people who do not even matter to us. We are feeding on other people’s thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, and what not!
You can receive self-guidance if you allow yourself some aloneness. Turn off the gadgets and go for a walk. Sit quietly and think. Reflect on your life. Meditate.
If you make it a daily practice, you will be amazed to receive answers to your questions. All good ideas come when you are alone. You will get to know about your life path when you start spending time with yourself.
7. Maintain a journal
Now that you have made a habit of spending time alone and doing self-reflection, start writing in a journal. You don’t need to have great writing skills for that! Just jot down ideas as they come.
It’s for your personal use so you can make it plain or artsy as you wish. The goal is to record your thoughts.
8. Take inspired action
The ideas you are jotting in the journal are all inspired thoughts. Sit with your journal, time to time, and take an idea and start acting on that. For instance, you have recorded an idea of starting a blog. Research on how to start a blog and then just start!
Inspired actions are always effective ways to stay on the right track.
9. Try new things
Now that you are taking inspired actions, be willing to try new things. In the previous example, we mentioned Blog. But it could be anything! It’s okay to feel scared at this point. Just don’t let fear paralyze you.
In his book, The Luck Factor, Richard Wiseman mentioned that the luckiest people are those who maximize their chance opportunities by building a strong network. They just happen to “hear” about opportunities. You too can grab a lot of opportunities by networking.
11. Apply the Law of attraction
Start applying the law of attraction to draw good people, resources and situations in your life!
12. Stay positive
Mindset determines success. If you want to have a better life, start thinking positive empowering thoughts.
Thoughts truly become things, so in the quest of making a better life start cultivating a positive mindset.
13. Set goals
Without a destination, you are lost. Even if you are not sure about what to do, still we would advise you to make short term goals for yourself. Goals give direction and motivation to our brains. It can be as simple as completing a course, starting a new hobby, learning yoga, etc.
14. Keep hustling
Now that you have some goals, it’s time to take action. No, you don’t have to take massive actions. Just take small baby steps. So, if learning yoga is your goal, your action step would be to enroll in a yoga class.
Take simple, easy steps towards your intentions. Stay busy and productive. Keep hustling until you reach where you belong.
15. Stay financially secure
Even if you have not found your passion, it’s always wise to do something that pays your bills. You don’t have to do a job you hate for that! Just do something that’s not annoying and also runs your home.
For instance, if you love kids you can be a teacher or a tutor. Maybe that’s not something you want to do in the long run but till the time you figure out your ideal career you can as well do this!
16. Educate yourself
There’s no better way of learning than self educating. Be open to learning.
Do not rely wholly on your college degree. Take online classes, watch YouTube videos, Google, read. Just keep learning.
17. Manage your time
Start using your time effectively. Make To-Do lists, set boundaries, and learn how to manage your time well. This way, you will remain more productive and as a result, feel more satisfied with yourself.
18. Hire a mentor
If you are living a life full of struggles or you do not have a lot of determination, seek help from an expert. Hire a mentor who would sit with you and guide you through each step.
19. Enjoy life
Life has its complexities but you have only one chance of it! So, appreciate what you have and enjoy every moment. Stop taking things so seriously and unwind.
20. Let go
Now that you are taking action towards your situation, don’t attach yourself with the outcome. What we mean by this is to take actions as much as possible and then detach yourself from the results.
It’s about belief in yourself and faith in your abilities while removing any desperate, clingy feeling.
You will get to know your life purpose, till that time just stay relaxed.
If you are not sure what to do with your life, start taking some action! Momentum is always better than sitting and waiting for things to happen.
Life is not the same for everyone. It’s okay if you are not clear about your life purpose. We have given you some guidance to unstuck your life. It’s absolutely possible to change your life if you are committed to taking action!
Ishita is a published author, poet and freelance writer. Being an avid reader from early childhood, she has always loved books more than anything else in the world! At the start of her career, she has worked in the corporate as well as the academic sector being a double master's degree holder - M.Sc and MBA. But now she is a fulltime writer. She believes words have immense power and writers can make a huge impact in the world! She wants to bring positivity into the lives of the readers through her association with TheMindFool.