What To Do When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
Raise your hand if you woke up today knowing exactly what your calling is, with no doubt in your mind about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Okay, hands down. Now raise your hand if that’s not you. Same.
To be completely honest I have no idea what I’m doing. When it comes to a “plan” mine goes as far as, “I want to own 3 dogs.” I’m not even kidding. That’s my plan. Aside from that fur- ocious dream, I’ve pretty much got nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve almost finished my degree, I’m working at the internship of my dreams, I have an incredible support group in my family, and my friends absolutely rock. It’s not like I’ve got a boring life with nothing going for me. But that’s just it. Everything is okay.
And I’m realizing more and more each day that okay isn’t for me. I crave adventure. I need challenge. I thrive on exceeding, on growing, on beating stagnation. The idea of living an okay life, with a job I can tolerate most days and really like some days, owning a home that will take years to pay off but is almost everything I envisioned, and flowing through the motions… blech. No thank you.
Sound like you? Glad we’re in this together. So, now what? Well, I’m not some self-help guru who has all of your answers and by the end of this blog will leave you millions of dollars richer, living a dream life on your own private island driving a Bugatti. Although if you know a guru like that – please send him my way.
Here’s what I can do. I can give you some tools and practices that have helped clear my head and set me on a path toward something more. Do with them what you please. Mold them to fit your own life. Take some and leave others. Whatever works best for you. What I can promise is that if you ask yourself the right questions, dedicate the necessary time to figuring yourself out and making a plan, then tackle that plan with every last atom of energy you’ve got – you’re going to wake up one day jealous of your own life. Let’s get started.
Step One: Figure out what’s stopping you. I know this sounds silly but really ask yourself, “Why aren’t I already living the life I want to live?” Are you afraid of what others would think? Scared of failing? Don’t have the time, the money, the resources? Don’t believe you’re actually deserving and capable of your dream? Whatever it is, write it down. Now tear it up. You have within you the power to do and be whoever you want. Get out a new sheet of paper and write yourself a little pick-me-up for when those self-doubting thoughts float in. Maybe it’s, “I am capable and deserving of my dream life” or “I will succeed.” Don’t tear this one up – read it every day until you firmly believe it.
Step Two: Learn to love yourself and put yourself first. This one is tough. Especially with social media and such an inter-connected world. It can feel like everyone and their uncle is watching and criticizing your every move. You know what? WHO CARES? This is your life and you literally get ONE. Ask yourself this, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” If the answer is, “Because I love it,” “Because it makes me happy,” “Because I have fun doing it.” Then do it. If the answer is, “Because my parents want me to,” “Because it’s expected of me,” or “Because everyone else is,” it’s time to reassess. Start making decisions that make you genuinely happy. Make a list of the top 10 things you love about life and put a true effort into doing one of those things daily, weekly, or monthly. You spend countless hours keeping your friends, family, and boss happy. Pencil some you time in.
And about loving yourself – this one takes time. Like any other relationship you have to work on it every day. Maybe for you this means writing yourself little confidence sticky notes and placing them around your house. Maybe you need to wake up 10 minutes early and write in a gratitude journal all of the reasons you love yourself, your mind, your ability, and your body. Maybe you need to have a serious sit-down with yourself, face to mirror, and apologize for all of the awful things you’ve ever said and thought about yourself, then promise to be better. Whatever it is you’ve got to do, do it.
Step Three: Decide what you want. And be specific. Don’t just say, “I want a good job,” “I want to live on a beach,” or “I want to be rich.” That’s great, I also want all of that BUT you aren’t going to get there unless you dig deep and figure out the details. For me this looks something like: I want to live in a city where I am within driving distance of at least 1 national park, I am able to hike on a weekly basis, I own 3 dogs, am active in weight lifting, work for a company that aligns with my values: in a writing or communications position, and truly love who I am. It’s going to be much easier to attain something clear cut and precise, than something as broad as, “I want to be happy.”
Step Four: Start. I know what you’re thinking. “Really, that’s it? Just start?” Yes. Now that you’ve gotten rid of your roadblocks and decided you’re worth the time and effort it’ll take to build your dream life, it’s time to rev the engine. Make some moves. This will look different for everybody. Some of you might need to make a physical move across the country to a state that fits your lifestyle, has more to offer you, or overall just makes you a happier person. Some of you might need to call up someone in your desired field and say, “Hey, how can I get to where you are?” Some of you might just need to find and foster a new hobby or pick back up an old one. Maybe you need new friends, to leave a job that’s weighing you down, or to take a big long break. Start where you’re at and take little steps each day to reach your goals (the ones you just described in step three).
My advice is to write all of this down. Keep a journal where you walk through your thoughts, record your progress, write down ideas, and essentially put your brain on paper. The fact that you’re even taking the time to make your life better means you have the ability to actually do so. Pat yourself on the back for that one! Lots of people can’t say the same.
Remember to take regular breaks and appreciate how far you’ve come. Also remember to live in the now. You can’t go back and change yesterday and you can’t make tomorrow come any faster. All you have is this one little moment, make it count.
Best of luck,
*If you haven’t read Kaili’s interview on my site make sure to go back and do so!* Fitness and Life Inspo with Kaili Meyer