How To Figure Out What You Want In Life + Journal Prompts
So, you don’t know what you want to do with your life. You are not alone! Making a decision on a life path is no easy feat. Many people change their minds over and over again. Isn’t it crazy that society expects 17 year old kids to just know what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Why do we do this?
Also just as bad is when those 17 year olds grow up into adults, have committed themselves to a path (maybe school, a job, a family, etc), and STILL feel lost and confused and like they have messed everything up because they DONT KNOW what to do with their life!
So, what do you do if you find yourself in that situation? Do you just suck it up and continue living a life that doesn’t *feel* right or do you make some changes? How do you even know what those changes would be in you don’t know what you want? It’s a slippery slope of questions that can become super overwhelming. There is no simple solution BUT the best plan of action is to get clarity on what you want in life.
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What to do when you feel lost
First of all, feeling lost does not mean you are a failure or that you are “behind” in life. When I got my first job after college I felt so lost. I realized that the degree I committed 4 years to and thought was my passion wasn’t transferring into the career world. I loved school and I was naïve and didn’t know that the stuff I was learning and loving in school would not the same stuff I did in a job (psychology degree problems).
Feeling lost can be seen as a negative thing but I urge you to see it as an opportunity. Something else I realized when I felt lost was that lost and stuck are not the same. You are never stuck. You have the opportunity to explore new paths. Feeling lost can be scary but it can be a great motivator to find something new!
So, when you feel lost remember a few things:
- Acknowledge the feelings but don’t beat yourself up
- You are not a failure
- Not everyone has it all figured out
- Feeling lost is an opportunity to explore new life paths
- Pay attention to things that make you feel happy and fulfilled
Moving past the pressure of having it all figured out
Back to the conversation about knowing your entire life path when you are a teenager… like WHY? When I was a teenager I had lots of ideas. I was never really settled on one path which is what led me to the psychology degree. Some of my friends seemed to have it all figured out though (fyi: they really didn’t lol).
It was hard to figure everything out as a teenager. I had never had a job so I didn’t know what to expect in the “real world” making it difficult to pick a career path. It was like a big guessing game just hoping that I would pick the right thing.
Something less talked about though is figuring it out as an adult. What if you thought you had it all figured out but now things have changed? How do you come to terms with not knowing what you really want in life?
The answer is simple: no one really knows exactly what they want all the time. People are forever changing. What you want today will probably change. If you can accept that you are an evolving being that is always growing, things will be so much easier.
It’s important to know your DIRECTION but you don’t need to know it all.
Having multiple passions is okay
I like to refer to myself as muti-passionate. This term just means that you have multiple passions instead of one. This is a very normal idea and to be honest, I’m sure most people are multi-passionate.
However, when I came across this term it made me feel seen. I love so many things and I find it basically impossible to pick one. I don’t want to do just one thing with my life… can you relate to that?
If this is relatable at all you need to read Everything Is Figureoutable! Not only is this about being multi-passionate but it’s also about creating a mindset where everything can be figured out (including your life).
Moral of the story – not having one set path is okay! You can have multiple passions and still be successful. There is nothing wrong with not feeling totally fulfilled doing one thing in life!
Related: One Book That Changed My Life
5 steps for gaining clarity of what you want
Before we get to the journal prompts let’s just chat about some steps you may want to take to gain some clarity about your situation and what you want most.
01. Acknowledge that you are not happy where you are in life (and understand that it’s okay)
Just like any change you need to first acknowledge that you are not happy and need a change. If you keep lying to yourself then nothing will ever happen. It may seem like an obvious step but honestly, so many people make SO many excuses as to why they aren’t happy before they just admit their current life path is just not for them.
02. Brainstorm reasons you think you are feeling lost and not happy
Try to get to the root of why you aren’t happy. Is it your current job? Is it the way you are living your life every day? Does it have something to do with your environment or the people you surround yourself with? Is it rooted in mental health? Just brainstorm some reasons you feel lost and unhappy in life.
03. Determine if you are creating any roadblocks for yourself to move forward
The reality is, we create a lot of our own barriers. It comes from fear. Making a change or making a big decision is scary so we create reasons we cannot do them. Often times we self-sabotage! Maybe you need more money before you can switch careers but you NEVER save money. Or maybe you really want to go back to school but you keep taking on more and more responsibilities making it impossible to have time for school.
04. Figure out what makes you happy in life
Keep it simple and just write a list of everything that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. It may be career focused, life focused, or just a little bit of everything. Nothing is too small for the list! Coffee shops, wearing cozy clothing, reading books, etc. Add it all to the list!
05. Try on different futures and focus on how you FEEL
The fun part about figuring out what you want in life is imagining all the futures. Play pretend for a minute and think of your life with different jobs, different lifestyles, in a different city, with different friends, in a different relationship… whatever it is. If any of these new futures makes you feel a certain way, make note of that!
Journals you may find helpful:
- Present, Not Perfect: A Journal for Slowing Down, Letting Go, and Loving Who You Are
- The Happiness Workbook for Women
- Start Where You Are Journal
10 journal prompts for deciding what you want in life
Look, figuring out what you want in life and then creating a path to get there is no easy task. However, to be able to create a life you love and want to live you NEED to know what you want. So, you can use these 10 journal prompts to start sorting out what you want and making the big decisions moving forward!
This can be used for lots of different things but for the purpose of discovering what you want in life lets make sure this is more exploratory and less realistic. Let your thoughts flow here.
What to do: split your paper into 5 sections and number them 1-5. Each number is going to be a year. So, 5 is 5 years from now, 4 is 4 years from now, and so on. You are going to write in each section what you want in your life in each year. It doesn’t need to be super specific but try to write a few things in each section.
Example: 5 years from now I want to have enough money to purchase my first home, I want to feel secure in my job, and have time to travel. You can start with the big picture things and work your way down to discover what would help you create that life!
02. What do you get really excited about?
List out what gets you excited. It could be bigger things like vacations or events but it could also be smaller things like finishing a project or going to the beach. Write them all out and then try to write WHY you get excited about that thing.
This is helpful because you can pin point themes. If you get excited about certain things because you are learning something new or because you are traveling then that can maybe point you in the right direction for finding out what you want most.
03. What values do you find most important?
Many people don’t even know what their values are so this is a great activity. It can be hard to narrow them down and don’t worry if you struggle with it. Why this is helpful: If you find out that authenticity is a huge value for you then that may cross out certain jobs or lifestyles.
04. What place(s) make you feel most at peace?
Do you find the most peace at home? Or at a coffee shop? Or maybe on an airplane? Figuring out actual places that make you feel relaxed and happy can help you figure out what you want your life to look like.
05. What are your favorite hobbies or hobbies you’d like to try?
Sometimes people can turn their hobbies into super successful jobs. For some people that is the dream (myself included)! If not, is there some kind of skill you can take from your fav hobby into the rest of your life?
06. What do you look forward to the most in the future?
This can be anything! Maybe you really want a family or make lots of money or move to Italy… whatever it is write it down. This is probably the most telling question as to what you want in life. Even if its not even close to possible right now it shows where your heart is.
07. Do you feel like you have a purpose?
Life can feel so boring and unfulfilling when you don’t feel like you have a purpose. It seems so easy for some… doctors, nurses, teachers, etc. They all seem to have an obvious purpose. For others, its not so obvious. BUT, what do you feel is your purpose? Is it to help others, share your knowledge, make people laugh?
We all have some type of purpose and it doesn’t necessarily have to be something huge like saving the world. So do some brainstorming and write out a few ideas.
08. What do you love most about yourself?
Write out allll the things you love about yourself. Big or small!
How this relates: I personally love the fact that I am kind. So, I know that whatever I do in life, I want to be able to be kind, caring, and helpful to people. I work in social services currently which is mostly great but I struggle with situations where I cant really be kind or viewed as kind. Blogging and content creating on the other hand lets me be in control and I can constantly practice kindness the way I want to.
09. How do you want to be remembered in 50 years?
What do you want your legacy to be? You don’t need to be specific like naming a certain achievement but instead write about what people will think of you or how you will make people feel. Is there a certain path that could lead you there?
10. Who do you look up to/ who motivates you?
Are there certain people you look up to? Or maybe people you want to be like? Who are they and why do you feel that way?
Related: How To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone (+ 15 Journal Prompts)
Related: How To Find Happiness Using These Insightful Journal Prompts
At the end of the day it really comes down to how you feel in your heart. There are a lot of logical paths to take and there is nothing wrong with going down the path that makes sense to your brain. But sometimes that path leaves your heart feeling unhappy and just not aligned. So, do what feel right in your heart and allow yourself to do it for YOU ❤
Are you currently trying to find your path?
I love how you say “You are never stuck” that is so true. I have to constantly remind myself that when I make a mistake its okay and that is normal. Great journal prompts.
It feels like you are sometimes but it’s so important to have that mindset!
I really needed to hear this! I’ve been feeling this way lately and trying to figure out what end goal is. I also really love these journal prompts 🙂 This was really helpful, thank you!
I’m so happy to hear this was helpful, Meghan ❤
Such an honest and truthful post. It takes making steps outside your comfort zones at times in figuring out what is the right path. It’s important to understand your path may take a variety of turns along the way in life. Never stop moving forward and never stop growing. Learn from your mistakes and never quit. Great post. ☺️
Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)
This is so true! Your path can go in so many different directions and that’s okay!
Really great post! These tips are going to help so much with my personal journey.
Ahhh that makes me so happy!
I love your article on how to figure out what you want in life and I especially love your journal prompts. As a mental health professional, a lot of my clients in their 20s are trying to navigate what they want professionally and personally. The best suggestion I have is to stop comparing themselves with others since we’re all on our own unique journey. I love Deanna’s journal prompts and also suggest you checking out my post https://pantearahimian.com/how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-others-7-ways-that-work/
One of my favorite posts so far! Love the tips you give, especially the part about it being okay not to have a plan. I look forward to reading more articles!
So happy to hear that ❤️