Are you doing what you really want to do with your life? If not, why not? Sometimes that hardest part is figuring out exactly what you want. We can get so caught up in doing what others want for us, or in taking care of all of the things that need to get done each day, that we lose track of what we want and where we're going.
If you don't have a specific goal, the day will come when you'll look back on your life and think, "What the heck happened?? That went by so fast!" Those thoughts are often followed by thoughts of regret, of all of the things we wanted to do, but never did. Please don't let that happen to you.
Here are some activities you can do to help you figure out what you want.
1) Are you doing what you want?
Don't blithely skip this question! If your first response is to say, "Sure, I'm happy with my life. Things are just fine," I'm going to ask you to stop for a minute. Take a few deep breaths. Ask this question again, and notice what comes up for you.
Do you feel at peace? Happy? Excited? In that case, the answer is probably a true, YES! I am doing what I want. Fantastic! I'm happy for you. You can stop reading now. 🙂
Do you feel uneasy? Is you answers a "Yes, but...?" or a "Sort of." If there is any hesitancy in your answer, it's time to make some changes. Keep reading!
2) How to figure out what you want
Here are some exercises to guide you in determining what it is you really want to do with your life, or even what that next big goal is that you want to accomplish.
Create three lists
We all have innate gifts and abilities. The trick is to uncovering them and allowing ourselves to develop them. This can be hampered by well-meaning parents or other family members who often discourage children from pursuing the things that make them happy in favor of things that will provide financial security. These well-meaning but misguided efforts often result in us making a living doing something we're not really thrilled about, just to pay the bills. Along the way to living the life of your dreams, you will likely have to get rid of the false belief that "you can't earn a living doing __________" (fill in the blank with whatever area you love but were told to abandon).
Make 3 lists:
- the things that make you happy
- the things you're good at
- your strengths (those you know, and those others tell you about)
Take a look at where these three things intersect. See if there is an underlying theme. Are you happy when you're baking cakes, and you're also good at it, and you have a strength for seeing other people's visions come to life in fondant? Perhaps you could become a professional cake decorator for a particular niche.
Meditate, ponder, and journal
This is similar to the first idea, but here you'll focus on listening to your heart and to the quiet whisperings within, instead of being logical about things.
Find a quiet place and sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes, and spend a few minutes just breathing slowly and deeply. Allow yourself to relax. Ask yourself: What are my gifts and talents? What am I here on earth to do at this time?
Sit and wait. You may need to repeat the questions a few times to keep yourself focused. Note any thoughts or feelings that come up for you, or even images that come to mind. After 10 minutes or more, sit down with your journal and write everything that came up for you. Write the questions at the top of the page first, and then write your answers.
This works best if you're willing and open, and ready to allow things to come to you that you might not have considered before, or that seem totally crazy if you were to consider them. Don't eliminate anything! You might be surprised at what comes up.
Have a partner ask you what you want
A third exercise is to work with a partner, focused on one question. Sit across from your partner. He should have a notebook and pen handy. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. When you're ready, your partner asks simply, "What do you want?" Answer with whatever comes to mind. You can give one answer, or ten, or however many come up. Have him ask the question repeatedly until you get to 50 answers, or try to get to 100.
Some of the things on your list will be things you'd like now, and some may help lead you along the path to deciding what you really want to pursue in life. Again, look for a theme, just like you did with the three lists exercise above.
One last bit of wisdom - deciding what you truly want to do with your life, what makes you happy and what you're here to do, takes time. It's a process, just like everything else in life. An answer might come to you in a week, or it might take months. Keep at it, and revisit these questions and exercises regularly until you hit on what your true goal and purpose is.
Deciding what you want
- Acknowledge if you're not happy doing what you're currently doing. Give yourself permission to want something different.
- Take time to think, meditate, write, and work with a partner to figure out your talents, gifts, abilities, and desires.
- Give yourself time to realize the answer. This is a process that might take a few months, or longer.
What do you really want to do with your life?