Last Updated on February 10, 2021 by Camilla Gill
So you’ve arrived at this website, with your arms flapping around in a panic, frantically typing in ‘I don’t know what to do with my life’?
And even if you haven’t typed that into Google, I would bet you any money that at least once, you’ve sat and wondered how to know what to do with your life.
Either way, this article is for YOU.
We’re going to achieve two things over the next few minutes of reading.
- Being OK with the ‘I don’t know what to do with my life’ feeling.
- How to figure out what to do with your life.
Ready for enlightment through the help of a random article on the internet? Great, let’s go.
How To Know What To Do With Your Life
Maybe it’s a quarter life crisis, or maybe it’s just that you genuinely could be making more out of your life. I mean, who really spent their youth day dreaming of adulthood spent at a tiny desk talking to Karen from accounts about where you would like to spend your 2 weeks off the same grind.
You might have already spent so long making sure you ticked your achievement boxes, yeah you’ve been moving along, but not in a direction that’s making you happy.
It’s about time you take the time to check in and use some of these tips to get back to being you.
Quit trying to force a life you don’t want
With regards to my first job fresh out of college, I can attest to the fact that the only people getting an ounce of joy from the experience were my friends. They would listen as I would regale stories of ongoing misery over bottles and bottles of wine.
None of us questioned how much the job sucked, we just assumed these were, unfortunately, the struggles you had to endure.
Eventually, after my dad picked me up from the train station and I broke down, opening up about how much I hated my job, he said the one word that I needed to hear “Quit”.
It’s what I had needed to hear. It’s something we all need to be reminded from time to time.
It’s OK to quit and change direction in life.
Don’t try to work your guts out to get somewhere that you don’t even want to be.
We are all told to see things out until the end, but when it comes to your life, you need to know to stop if you are making yourself miserable for no end goal.
Check the work you are putting in is right for where, if you want to be the backing dancer to Beyonce, then yes you need to expect grueling training. And if you want to start up your own business, expect the ups and downs of the process.
But don’t go through the pain for something you don’t want to gain.
Related: 50 Alternatives To The 9-5 Grind
Stop Overthinking Every Life Choice
Hello Overthinking, how are you? Come in, help yourself to my sanity.
Would it be a blog if I didn’t talk about overthinking?
Probably not as we all do it. And of course, it’s not very helpful advice if I just tell you to stop stressing over not knowing what to do with your life.
Of course, you could just try to do a breathing exercise. But that’s just postponing the process.
How about having a glass of wine? Well that may be delicious…. But what if it’s 8.30am on a Monday, it’s 100% not socially acceptable to drink on a journey to work.
I’m going to share with you the homework my therapist gave me. Feel free to send over your work for grading – though everyone gets an automatic A+ for effort.
So, everytime you feel your head fill with dread or sadness or any thought related to ‘I don’t know what I want to do with my life’.
You aren’t going to avoid it. You are going to sit with it and feel it. You are going to try and notice where it came from.
Then – as worn out as it sounds – you can harness your thoughts and you will use your pent up angst to be your driving force for change.
Let’s start resolving it instead of repeating it.
When you feel yourself slipping into yet another episode of existential dread, start writing them down, draw them, pinterest them, go running or walking with them.
Instead of them leading you, you can start leading them.
Imagine yourself like Mulan, identify and face your problems, change your life path and defeat the Huns. Pet dragon is optional, though I’m sorry but putting ‘Let’s get down to business’ on your Spotify playlist is non negotiable.
Related Reading: How To Be Comfortable With Yourself
Keep life choices simple
Stop trying to over complicate life.
(Quick rant, I have a strong dislike towards restaurants that have too many options on a menu.)
Sushi is great, but how great is it going to be from a place that also says their tacos are a must try, and that I can’t leave without trying one of the 50 flavours of gelato. With all of that being washed down with a beautiful belgian beer.
Apply this theory to your life when you’re trying to figure out which direction to take.
Having too many options and possibilities just limits your judgement, you start considering things you would never have considered (for valid reasons).
You choose options that aren’t great fits, get fomo on important life decisions and every move you make is second, third and even fourth guessed.
We have become so used to having so many choices that it’s made these choices a constant dilemma.
Think about your decisions in life as the equivalent as the – ‘have I chosen the right entree in a restaurant?’, we lose sight of what we like, of what is good for us, and our souls.
So I strongly advise you to go for the small menu, in a tiny place, doing what it does to the highest standard – because it’s going to beat the chain, with it’s a-z of world cuisine all under one roof.
And as for yourself and your life choices, cut down your options, don’t try and choose from hundreds and thousands, choose 5 or 6 options you know and understand, and go from there.
As your options become relevant to you the decisions are smarter, better informed and maybe easier to make.
Don’t Dream Big, Dream You
Have you sat round a table with a group of people and as you listened to their dreams worried that your dreams just didn’t match up.
I’ll tell you a secret, I used to tell people I didn’t like flying as I had gotten so sick of people asking me why I didn’t travel more.
The reality is, I just didn’t have the same goal of backpacking in my early twenties.
I had my own different goals but I feared they just didn’t stand comparison.
I hated listening to the person who had found themselves in Machu Picchu smoking weed as the sun rose, and then was lucky to find themself once again standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. And also seemingly at Uluru rock, and then apparently began to really understand themselves in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
The guilt was building that I was somehow dreaming wrong.
Now I know, no it’s not possible to dream wrong.
If you’re struggling to know what to do with your life, definitely don’t listen to other dreams and try and make them your own just because they seem like the things you should be aspiring to achieve.
You are not a human dream catcher – though you have my full hearted permission to wear as many feathers and beads as you want, as I personally think the boho look is long overdue a revival.
Stay focused on your dreams.
What do you want?
What dream makes your life worth living and working for?
Whether it’s having 20 cats or is it eating visiting every ice cream factory on the East Coast.
You do you hunnay and don’t get distracted by other people’s Instagram feeds.
365 Random Acts of Kindness
So what if you have no idea what to do with life or yourself? There’s something you can do to help give your life a sense of purpose right now….think back to the last kind gesture you did, however small and insignificant you think it was.
How did it make you feel?
Now it’s time to get that feeling more often.
When I was younger my sister had a book called 365 Random Acts of Kindness, about small gestures of kindness that you would do for strangers. I thought the book was a little crazy, but was fascinated.
As I’ve grown up I’ve realised how amazing a concept it is. When something good beyond our control happens to us, it not just makes us happy in that moment, but also think of how many people you tell, your family, co-workers, friends, even strangers.
A failsafe goal in life is to leave that trail of fairy dust behind you.
It’s so well known that helping others is proven to make us both happier and healthier, but we forget it in the seemingly contradictory rush and monotony of day to day life.
So dish out the loveliness like hot chocolate in the middle of winter, be generous and offer it to everyone for maximum effect.
It’s going to pay off in lots of ways, on your happiness, the people you meet and the impression you leave on people. You never know where it could take you.
Related: The Dream Job Myth
Stay true to yourself
Ultimately there is no life purpose and you might never know what to do with your life, it’s lucky we are all standing here.
But keep swinging away, it’s worth it. Make the most of your time in the game.
Remember every mountain has a north face, it’s difficult to climb. But it’s an important part of your life journey, and I promise you, you will be better for having traversed it.
Hard work is a part of every role, the important thing you need to think in life, what type of hard work am I willing to put up with for my overall happiness.
What haven’t you minded in the past, and then what do you look at your friends doing and think, okay I could definitely never do that.